Haikini founder: Big part of business is being vulnerable
National University of Singapore graduate Beckie Liu faced a number of stumbling blocks on her path to entrepreneurship.
Inspired by her love for surfing, Miss Liu, 23, created a line of bikinis that is both attractive and will stay on when the wearer is frolicking in the sea.
However, this active-wear mission met with disapproval from her grandmother.
Miss Liu told The New Paper: "My grandmother did not feel that it was a real job."
While disappointing, it did not deter Miss Liu, and Haikini was launched in August 2017.
The name is a combination of the Chinese word "hai" (which means sea) and "bikini".
She told TNP: "It was my dream. I thought if I don't do it now, it will be more difficult when I am older because of the added responsibility of starting a family and so on."
However, being young meant that one big hurdle was funding.
While she was able to persuade her mother to fund some prototypes in the early days of the brand, she was also able to secure venture capital in November last year.
"Quest Ventures invests in early stage start-ups - I was approached by a friend who was working there. They encouraged me to pitch for funding."
The process helped her overcome two hurdles. Funding and her lack of self-confidence.
While Miss Liu was nervous about presenting the business to an investor, she found the strength to overcome it.
"Regret is my biggest motivator. I summon courage by asking myself if I will regret not doing it."
The 23-year-old said she also has a podcast - The Art Of Rejection With Jia Jiang by Smart Passive Income - to thank for her progress.
"This guy practised getting rejected every day by asking people questions which he knew he would be told no," explained Miss Liu.
"It taught me that a big part of growing the business is learning how to put myself out there and be vulnerable, and to be okay with the fact that much of the time things won't work out the way I plan it to."
According to Miss Liu, Haikini has been profitable since its third month, and she has been investing all the profits back into production.
The brand is increasing its visibility with invitations to feature at fashion shows.
To build a community and use the brand's social media for more than showing off products, Miss Liu organises surf camps for girls - whom she calls "Seasters".
Haikini's success has also gone some way in convincing Miss Liu's grandmother.
"My grandma disapproves only about 50 per cent now," said Miss Liu. - JASMINE LIM