Lazy me ( Beware! A really long rant)

Well lazy me has not been sewing. Of course I can make excuses that I am busy with studying my Intensive Japanese preparatory class (weekly mini tests and mock exams monthly)  and hopefully pass JLPT level 1, the highest level of the Japanese proficiency, but really who am I kidding? Sometimes I look at hila’s blog who I have been following and I feel ashamed, like mega shame. I mean she churns out all these little pretty outfits on a regular basis and for me I have a ton of half finished stuff… 

I guess it’s why I keep spending on sewing courses, not only I can improve my sewing skills, but attending a class helps me to be more disciplined. And the Singapore Government is really nice to us citizens, they gave us $500 to upgrade ourselves and I can take sewing courses with it! 🙂 but now my plate is quite full with the intensive class, all the way till 1st week of December where I can take my exam. Yesterday, I was just thinking if only I can go to Bunka for 2 weeks – 1 month course, that has always been a dream of mine, to learn the Japanese way of pattern making. 

Well I know I really need to force myself to carve out 1 hour on a weekday night, stop surfing the FB & Instagram for once and just focus on doing something Fashion related. I think even drafting and cutting paper patterns is good. Or even hand sewing and improve my couture sewing techniques.

Ok, I am signing up for a crafternoon at Meetup to just have time out to do my sewing. Sigh, I still draw and design regularly, but sewing has always been my Achilles heel. Except for the fashion design competition the last time which really force me to sew a lot in one week. Other than that, I am just sucked back to work and the daily grind. Having said that, recently I really want to give myself a pat on the back. What happened is that I did super well in last quarter. Overachieved 200%, then came the spanner in the works, the finance dept just refused to pay me for my overachievement… I was like wut?!!! But yet I am calm now and not even angry. In fact, I even told my boss earlier In the sales kickoff, “forget it, let’s just focus on this FY. Let’s not piss the finance lady off, else she makes things difficult for us this FY. ” my boss was like no no no, I need to fight for you, at least 120%… but I heard from my colleagues that it’s really challenging apparently they been doing this for long time, the company is just not inclined to pay people above 120% due to the commission multiplier. Oh well, I am actually amazed how zen I am about this. I guess it’s a sign of maturity. If you read my first few posts, you will know I used to be the type to go bang table and demand my comms etc, but now I am like really chill, not even a hint of anger. Well I guess that is the reality of corporate world.

Presents from my 2 bosses from today’s kickoff event, it’s enough to make me feel blessed. I am easily content nowadays. Note: I won the Kindle bid at really attractive price

I gave myself a 10 year plan. In 10 years time, I hope to save enough to start my bespoke atelier, and from now till then, I will focus on improving my fashion skills, especially my sewing skills, adopt the craftsmen mentality and improve.

Only then I can achieve.

Somehow master sifu quote from Kungfu panda really stuck with me, and it’s my personal motto for now

Sew often, pray often

Sayonara Minnasan, mata ne! (It’s means goodbye folks, till next time)


If you are considering a career switch, you may want to read this..

Well I haven’t blog for a long while, as I am very happy and fulfilled in my current job. Nope, I’m not in fashion unlike what my blog started out to be, but I am doing what I enjoyed doing best, which is sales.

Today, while walking home, I was reflecting on what made me passionate about doing in life. And it made me realize that it really was like what I wrote in the past, from reading the book, “So good that others can’t ignore you” that the author has this radical theory of not following your passion and dream, but rather being so good at a certain thing, that it becomes your passion. As you can tell from my blog title, this blog was originally intended to be about my career switch to fashion which lasted a gloriously short period of 6 months in studies and internship and another 5 months in an actual job in the industry. 

A short stint, yet a long journey in terms of self- discovery. At the grand age of 32, I embarked on a some-would-say-courageous while others-will-say-incredibly-silly decision of exchanging my successful career to follow my long time dream and passion. i.e. Fashion. 

Did it work out? Yes and No.

Yes, as in, I live life with no regrets and no what ifs, which I spoke about in my earlier posts. I thoroughly enjoyed studying Fashion, sewing, attending Fashion shows and those 3 months were the happiest period in my life. 

I didn’t go for this show, I will love to! but it’s from my favorite designer

But No, I realized I somehow am not cut out to be in the retail industry. Which is tough since if you want to make it big as a designer in the industry, you have to be involved in retail somehow. Even the couture houses have a pret a porter range, whereas I am more inclined to small bespoke boutique-ish kind of business. 

And No, as my financial commitments are high and I realized I didn’t want to sacrifice my state of lifestyle to follow my passion. I tried, but the salary made me an unhappy person. And even though working in an established renowned company meant my staff discount for high end brands is 40% off, but I couldn’t even afford a brand new Balenciaga classic motorcycle bag that was on staff sale at USD500. (I could, but I see no point in blowing almost 50% of my salary to buy my want rather than my need at that point in time) My colleagues thought I was crazy, and I constantly felt I couldn’t fit in. Of course, that is a very small flavor of what the fashion industry can be like in Singapore.

Ironically, 2 years later I can afford my dream bag, where I no longer felt I had to justify shelling out almost 50% of my salary

Fast forward to 4 years later, where I have been back in my previous industry for almost 3 years, enjoying my career and smashing my sales targets once more. Being an older self at 36, I have to cautioned myself not to get burn out. (because retrospectively, I was burned out back then in 2013, which pushed me to yearn for a break doing something I loved and that disillusioned me left the corporate rat race and embarked on following my fashion dream)

I hope by reading this blog thus far, you won’t get disillusioned and start doubting yourself. Is it wrong to pursue your dreams? No! no! No! I am not saying it’s wrong. YOLO, please do get out there and live life with no regrets. But what I am saying is, before jumping in with 2 feet and 2 eyes shut, please do set a list of contingencies.

1) Set aside at least 6 months to 1 year of salary. I set aside almost 8 mths to a year worth of my salary before I did my career switch

2) Research the industry that you wish to switch to, try to network and talk to as much people as you can. –> well I feel I didn’t do this enough. I did research and speak with some people, and read accounts of people who career switched successfully, but either I lacked that grit or maybe financials to see myself through. 

3) Assess if it’s burn out/disillusionment/disgruntlement with your career/superior/company or really a genuine desire to go follow your dream. –> on hindsight, I could have taken a 3-6 months break, travel, rest and see if I really need to switch to a new industry rather than doing something drastic and final

4) Try out the industry. –> You may have this insatiable desire for fashion, you want to be the next fashionista. There is a reason why they always say fashion is hard work, because it truly is. Before jumping in, intern at as many places as possible. (Sadly in Singapore, age is a discriminating factor, and I do get turned down and ignored at several places even with the offer to intern for free) but don’t give up and somehow you will still be able to find some place, I am sure.

5) Start small–> take on small jobs to help your friends/relatives or random colleagues to alter/sew/make something for them. (They usually won’t reject since it’s free) then actively sought feedback and try to improve. From there you can move on to other free lancing jobs. One common thread I learnt from successful career switchers is that they already have an existing side business before they went in to take it full time. In this way, the transition is less shocking and easier to handle. At least you are not going in with zero income, but with some existing contacts and business which make it less daunting.

6) Have an exit plan- I gave myself a time frame that if by a certain deadline, I have not achieved a certain target I will go back to my previous industry. Some may say it’s not good to set this, you should tell yourself to never look back and go ahead as if you have no roads left (This was actual advice from my previous supervisor) however I am a pragmatic person, if something is not working out or your gut feel tells you otherwise, please trust your gut feel.

I hope above points will help you, since it’s from my own experience. But if all else fails, just follow your heart, you won’t go wrong. My career took a hit because of my career switch, when I return back to my industry. however, within 2 years I am back to my previous pay scale and perhaps even more. Of course there are some drawbacks (life is not always a fairy tale) Just look at my peers who have reached higher career levels compared to me, had I stayed in the same industry. But it’s a choice I made, so live with it. Thus, if you have enough to get by, your career can afford to wait a little while, while you go pursue that dream of yours.

If you never try, you never know.

A cute poster I snapped in Bangkok, I think it’s by Jeremyville. If you know the illustrator, pls let me know and I can credit it properly

And one parting shot. My journal that I picked up during my down period, and the quote which really speaks to me.

Blessings to all who read this long post especially during this Easter season! ^^

End of a journey?

I quit my job at the fashion company. I think it got to a point where I was struggling with my finances. Trying to get by with a couple hundred every month, where the bulk of my salary is going to my insurance premiums was challenging. I think what set me really thinking about calling it quits was that I was hardly saving for my upcoming wedding and renovation fees. My flat will be ready in 2017 which is 2 years time and I need to save at least 40K-50K for the renovation. Even though the other half will contribute maybe half or more but I can’t expect him to pay for everything.
At the rate where I am saving $100 a month in the fashion job, I will only get $2400 at the end of 2 years. Even factoring possible increment and bonus, the amount may get to at most $5K which is only a fraction of what I am hoping to save.

Moreover, I realize my passion is still in designing and sewing clothes, creating actual pieces. Yet it is a paradox, because after working for 5 months, I realized I am not into retail at all. I actually like bespoke services, creating one-off designs. Thus even though I am good at my merchandising job (based on my appraisal), it just became another numbers job for me. And if it’s just a numbers job, I might as well go back to my previous industry where I get to work with numbers albeit at a much higher pay. At around the same time where I was thinking about my career direction, my ex-colleague approached me with an opening in my previous company. It came at a good timing. Thus in the end, I decided to quit.

You may be thinking why not apply with companies offering bespoke services and continue with my career switch? Well there are not many shops offering bespoke services in Singapore, mainly bridal studios. I did apply and I didn’t receive much response. Also, I felt that I couldn’t afford to give the career switch another try with so much hanging on the line for me at this point.

However, I am really glad that I went ahead with my career switch although it didn’t work out in the end. I think the below picture sums up my sentiments .


And I am really happy that I managed to study fashion design for once, which has always been my lifelong dream. I am still going to continue with my love for sewing and creating beautiful clothes. I did think about ending this blog previously, since from now on, it’s no longer a career switch for me, but I think I will keep it and continue to blog about fashion related stuff. I managed to complete a cropped jacket recently and will blog more about it in the next post.

For those who stumbled onto my blog and is also considering whether a career switch is suitable for you, I think you have to seriously research about financials and if you have enough set aside. Give yourself a time-line to go for this career switch and when the time line is up, review honestly whether this career switch is working for you or not.

I set aside $20K for this career switch which took over a year. This included the course fees, worst case scenarios on not being able to find a job for 6 months, monthly expenses and financial commitments. You may not have to set aside so much, but in my case as I have mentioned earlier my financial commitments is around $1K a month. Also, do factor in that Singapore has become very expensive to live in. I naively estimated my monthly expenses to be $480, and thus accepted my fashion job with the offered salary. However after that, I realized how much a challenge it was to keep to that amount, especially since I was working in Orchard which is not exactly cheap to eat in.

Also, if your starting salary is low, you may want to consider doing part time job and giving tuition to supplement your income. This was something I considered initially too, however my work load at the job was heavy with lots of over time, thus I couldn’t pursue this option.

I did get some enquiries from the readers about whether it’s difficult to find a fashion job in Singapore. It really depends on what type of job you are looking for and what kind of salary you are expecting. The fashion industry in Singapore is small. For buyer and merchandising jobs at entry level, I do see available jobs every week. Retail assistants or fashion sales coordinator are always in demand, if your salary scheme has commissions, you may even potentially earn a higher starting salary than the office job.

At the end of the day if your heart calls you to do it, and if you have weighed all the pros and cons and have a plan drawn up, I will say go for it.

As the picture sums it up perfectly, I will rather live a life of “Oh well” then “What ifs”

All the best to those who are thinking to pursue a career switch!

Accept what is, Let go of what was, and have faith in what could be

I graduated last Tuesday and am in my internship now. The past week has been a flurry of activity, hence the lack of posts. Well there was a last minute change in my school schedule due to allowin us to attend fashion week, hence assessment was postponed to 26th May. However, I have already booked my trip to Taipei and HK. ( booked this month ago when I felt so drained over this intensive course, and I booked it for 25th thinking I can fly off as soon as the assessment was over, jus tell you things don’t go as planned)
The school allowed me to delay my assessment till I’m back and my trainer kindly agreed to come back specially for my assessment.
Thus came the mad rush of finishing my garment, was sewing till 1am before boarding my plane at 8 the next day.
Spent lots of time catching up with friends and a lovely half day at the fabric market in Taipei, marveling at varieties and lower cost of fabrics. I went a little over budget buying stuff back. Then it was off to HK for a brief stopover. I discovered my hotel was walking distance to Sham Sui Po( their major fashion and trims wholesale district), so I decided to hoove it there.
My only regret was not enough cash..Silly me thought that since its a 2D1N stopover SGD50 should be enough, boy was I wrong!
I forgot to take into account the transport fees which took up a large chunk of my $50 and most shops in Sham Sui Po don’t accept credit cards. Thus in the end, armed with many free fabric swatches but not much lovely fabric which I really wanted to buy.
Guess I will have to save up and make a buying trip next time.
In Taiwan, I picked up this book. It was so gd but I was on my save money campaign by then and my friend dissuaded me from buying it. Still I went back at midnight on Wed to get the book before I fly out to HK and I am really glad I did it.
The book is titled “Be so Good that others can’t ignore you.” What sets this apart is that the author debunks the myth of finding your passion and chasing for the dream job. Wait a minute, hasn’t my life been like this up to this point?
Rather the author proposes becoming so good at what you do and thus creating enough career capital such that you create your passion in the job, because you have become so good at it. I really wished I read the book sooner.

I must put a disclaimer that I am in no way related to the author and doesn’t not have any endorsement fees for this, just purely think it is a good read.
I finished the book last wkend and lent it to another friend who is considering a career change.
When I got to the chapter on the law of financial viability my heart sank, hence the title of my blog post.
It talked about how you need to have skills that are rare and valuable that people are willing to pay you for. If your idea does not have anyone to pay you for it and you find yourself having to supplement your idea with other forms of income, then maybe it’s not a good idea move on. Unfortunately, at the point of reading the book, I have already quit my job and have embarked on this career switch with a new diploma and my current internship.
I started questioning myself, “Did I made a wrong choice?” It’s a pertinent question as currently 8mths into being unemployed which is a little longer than my original plan, my bank account is dwindling. I still have savings which are more for rainy days that I prefer it be kept for those occasions.
Thus recently I started thinking of ways to supplement my income. Thoughts like putting stuff on etsy for sale or local flea markets and even writing e-books on amazon have crossed my mind. However the internship and my recent graduation work have kept me busy, so I have not really figured out what is the best way to supplement my income.
So why am I in this financial state? Well I started out with the PCP which gives me a 1K allowance each month. This money then goes immediately to my insurance commitments, as I am stubbornly resisting a premium holiday until it is absolutely necessary.
Thus I have to come up with living expenses from my savings. Initially, the plan was to go for PCP in nov hence starting internship in Feb and completing it by Apr. as you can see my plans were delayed by my turn at L’s company (check my earlier posts for more details) thus now I am behind my planned time for this career change.
Adding to this, my last cheque has not arrived from school. Turns out the last cheque is only released upon completion of my final assessment. Since my assessment is delayed, so is my allowance. And with this holiday which a month ago seems like a good idea, May jus suddenly become a financially tight month for me. Coupled with my god sis getting married and me signing up for a draping course with a renowned Japanese designer.

Still, really excited to be going for the course next week and hope I can develop my skills more as a fashion designer. More posts next week.
Until then, accept what is, let go of what was and have faith in what could be this is from a wonderful article my fellow intern send me this morning from

Unexpected day off

Today I had an unexpected day off from school as I was able to complete my assessment earlier yesterday. So one more module down and left 2 more! Yippee! Looking forward to next week where we will get to go for Asian Fashion Summit. It’s the first time TAFtc gave out free passes to students, so just feeling really blessed to have chosen the right school. I am also going for Audi Asia Fashion designers competition, will have to miss 2 hours of my class on Monday, but I really want to see what the Asia young designers are doing.

I spent my day off attempting to continue my jacket project that I have put off for the longest amount of time. Many years ago, Spotlight was having a sale and I bought gorgeous wool fabric and decided to make a jacket. I also purchased some paper patterns for the jacket. Looking at the patterns now, I seriously wonder why it is labelled as easy on the cover of the patterns. Still trying to figure how to sew the lining and the fabric together but quite happy to see my progress. If I am still in my corporate job, I won’t have this luxury at all to sew anything, so I shall just treasure this time


I really wonder how my photos looks in the blog, as I am blogging from an app most of the time. Hope it turns out good.

I finally changed my linked in profile. I guess previously some part of me was kinda holding out that if this career switch doesn’t work out, I can go back to my old life and just update this period as studies and internship. But I am glad I did it. I was getting too tempted by all the job opportunities that recruiters keep sending me..

Last night, the Partner and I has a little tiff. It stemmed from him worrying over not having enough money to cover the expenses of our BTO flat in 4 years time and the unspoken expectation that I need to find a stable paying job soon. So I kind of got ticked off as its not my first time hearing it. I too know our commitments and yet one part of me really want to follow my dreams. I know it’s much easier to get another $3-3.5K job, but if I really went for that, then this 7 months of attempting to job switch will be for naught.

The realities of life of course may force me to make a decision soon. My lecturer was telling us that designers only get $1.8K a month as a starting pay coupled with long hours of work. I really hope that it will be slightly higher, as my current insurance premiums already come up to $1.1K and if I really take on a $1.8K job, I will have to find other ways to supplement my income to make ends meet and have savings for the house.

On a lighter note, my classmate M told me that for the next batch there are having more internships openings like asst designers, fabric testers etc. Lucky next batch people! This batch there are really few internships only 3 for my course and 3 for marketing and merchandising and its all for asst merchandisers and asst buyers positions, none design related. It’s strange as I heard the last batch they had plenty of internships available, so maybe it’s a seasonal thing.

Also, F invited me to her grand opening at her studio. Pleasantly surprised that she still thought of me 🙂
Ok off to more sewing and working on my jacket! ^^

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