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Kate Tan & Maisha Miranda are Singaporeans and were born in 1987. They started their entrepreneurial journey in July 2011. Their company is called ERIIN, an e-tailer for emerging Asia Pacific designers. They are also consultants for branding and marketing under The ERIIN Girls.
How and when did you come up with your business idea?
ERIIN started in 2011, after we graduated from Business School at NUS. Maisha’s boyfriend injected the idea of the both of us partnering up and doing something fashion related, and that’s how ERIIN was born. As for The ERIIN Girls, Grace Clapham (a personal friend and someone we see as a mentor) introduced us to our first client, and our business just grew organically.
How much funding did you need to start your own business and where did you find it? (loan, government funding, family, friend, personal savings, etc)
ERIIN was funded both by our personal finances, as well as SPRING Singapore’s YES! Start-up grant. We took about half a year preparing for it via research, report writing and pitching to SPRING Singapore, and were thankful when we received the full grant amount.
Why did you want to be an entrepreneur in the first place and how did you convince your family?
Many of our peers work towards taking the conventional route after graduating from NUS – they turn into bankers, lawyers, accountants etc. We couldn’t see ourselves working for a huge corporation and going to work in an office on a daily basis. We wanted to carve out a path based on our own terms. We have extremely supportive parents and are grateful that they stuck it out with us during our first year of operations – it definitely wasn’t easy and they were patient enough to see how things turned out.
What has been your biggest failure or mistake as an entrepreneur?
Not having clear goals, and letting setbacks get the best of you. When you don’t have a concrete plan, you tend to end up saying yes to everything, you tend to overwork, and you tend to forget what’s most important. At the end of 2012, we had hit a huge wall and almost ended our partnership. We pulled through in the end, and came out stronger than ever. We realized how importatnt we were to each other, and how much more we could achieve together rather than apart.
How do you cope with the daily pressure and bring your life into balance?
We are lucky to be able to take midday walks, which include some shopping, grabbing some fresh juice and just chatting about ideas and life in general. We inject a good dose of fun into our lives, and love heading out for drinks or dinner together. We are fortunate to be best friends, and we joke around a lot on a daily basis, which makes work not seem like work.
What would be your top 3 advices to other women entrepreneurs out there?
Make use of your soft attributes to connect with people, be kind and generous and don’t push yourself to try to fit the role of a male leader. Women connect better with each other and we love it. Also, create a livelihood that revolves around your passion, and do whatever you can to make it work. It is a livelihood, not a job. Lastly, aim to make a change in someone’s life – it is always rewarding and never fails to make our day.
What has been the biggest reward of having your own business?
Being able to schedule in fun and leisure into our daily routine, and watching something we started grow and mature. The journey has been enriching, and knowing that we built something from scratch gives us the confidence to push past any obstacles we face.
Name one female entrepreneur or female leader you are inspired by.
Sophia Amoruso, the founder of NastyGal, an online retailer based in LA that started on eBay. Her net worth has been estimated to be at USD 250 million at aged 28 by Forbes, and she has managed to build an empire and sterling reputation within 6 years – she’s inspiring, strong and such a motivation to us.
Photo cover credit: danielavladimirova