We Mean Business: Part 1

Will 2018 be the year of your Big Idea? ANZA Magazine readers share their business set-up stories to inspire and advise.

Luke Jones CEO 1880 members club Singapore
Luke Jones, CEO 1880, a new members club in Singapore

LUKE JONES, 1880

“Surround yourself with people who have talent in areas that you lack. And make sure that every recruit helps to raise the bar of your company.”

CEO of 1880, the newly opened members club and co-working space, Luke is also a member of ANZA Cycling.

WHAT MARKS 1880 FROM THE COMPETITION?
1880 has a vision to inspire conversations that impact society in a positive way. It does this by creating a diverse community of members who represent the collective brains of creativity, drive and passion. Unique to us is the inclusion of a co-working space, Bardo. Through it, we are seeking to redefine the definition of work-life balance.

RECOMMENDED READING?
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries: It taught me the importance of obtaining customer feedback at the earliest opportunity, so you can test and modify as you are building your brand. Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull: Pixar succeeded because it encouraged rigorous debate; anyone could challenge their seniors and ask questions. No one has an employment contract there – employees stay because they love working for the company. This is not something that the workforce in Asia is used to, but I hope it is something I can encourage within 1880.

THE BEST ADVICE YOU WERE GIVEN THAT MADE A DIFFERENCE?
I read it in an article written by Caleb Hayhoe, the founder and CEO of RT Sourcing. It was simply: “I looked out of my office at the team and it was awash with talented, passionate and motivated people.” When l look at the 1880 team, I have the same feeling.

THE BEST ADVICE YOU WOULD OFFER THOSE LOOKING TO LAUNCH?
Surround yourself with people who have talent in areas that you lack. And make sure that every recruit helps to raise the bar of company.

Khalsom Som, Creator of yoga wear ohsosom
Khalsom Som, Creator and Designer of ohsosom

KHALSOM SOM, OHSOSOM

“Do your research, do not forget the small details, but don’t procrastinate too much, just do it. You will learn along the way. It’s never going to be perfect at the beginning.”

Creator and Designer at ohsosom, a yoga apparel brand that believes balance is key – “work a lot; play a lot and look after yourself”.

HOW NAIVE WERE YOU IN THE INITIAL STAGES OF SETTING UP OHSOSOM?
I didn’t have any clue as to how long it would take to find a reliable supplier, and to get them to make exactly what I wanted. There were a lot of back-and-forths; a lot of stopping and starting with new companies. Also, something that I still find myself learning even today is to stop thinking that people will automatically know what I want. Just because it makes perfect sense to you (like using white thread on a white top), doesn’t mean this is what you will get. You need to spell-out every tiny detail. I’ve had some pretty peculiar samples turn up for review.

WHAT ARE THE TOUGHEST ASPECTS?
You have to be willing to work all hours, or at least odd hours. I have a two-year-old, so I end up working at night a lot. I don’t think I’ve slept for two and a half years – it’s definitely aged me! But I work from home, so that helps as I get to spend all my time with my son, but it also means there are a lot of distractions and other responsibilities. I currently work alone, so it sometimes sucks not having someone to bounce ideas off, and I guess just generally trying to do everything yourself and look after a baby is a bit ridiculous. I also don’t have a helper. I’m beginning to think I’m more and more insane.

THE BEST ADVICE YOU WOULD OFFER THOSE LOOKING TO LAUNCH?
Do your research, do not forget the small details, but don’t procrastinate too much, just do it. You will learn along the way. It’s never going to be perfect at the beginning.