When the going got tough: Two women built their businesses amid personal struggles – on top of a pandemic
No rain, no flowers - that is the mantra Miss Gloria Oh used to get by this year while battling the toughest chapter of her life.
The 27-year-old entrepreneur co-founded home-grown lifestyle and athleisure apparel brand Revive&co during the circuit breaker intending to advocate physical and mental wellness.
But midway into the company's online launch of its third collection in September, the fitness enthusiast was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer. Today, she has already undergone two procedures.
Miss Oh told The New Paper: "I didn't really have the mindset that I needed to take a pause. I slowly recovered from my surgery and then bounced back on my feet. Most of the time, I was handling the social media aspect. I could still access my phone and the Internet, and do work in the hospital."
Despite starting chemotherapy about two weeks ago, Miss Oh is soldiering on with building her business and will launch Revive&co's first pop-up store on Sunday at Makers' Market at the Esplanade Mall.
She said: "This journey has been quite humbling. People were worried for me, but I managed to tolerate the pain.
"There is a time and place for everything - there is a time to rest and a time to hustle. It taught me to slow down, that I need to learn to actively rest."
Her struggles have also led her to look at the meaning behind her brand with new eyes.
She said: "Revive has the connotation that you come back to life and flourish again. Most of us go through this moment of darkness, but there is always a renewed strength and mind (after).
"I hope my story serves as a testament that the tough times will pass - what is important is the process."
For another Singaporean female entrepreneur, Ms Crystal Lee, the processes of starting a business, getting married and renovating her new home amid the pandemic did not faze her.
She set up bespoke beauty parlour Peachy Skin Bar at the end of last year and is slated to open a second outlet next month, after growing her business by more than 50 per cent since June.
The 29-year-old told TNP: "Fear kills dreams more than failure ever will."
The pandemic threw a wrench in her wedding plans, but she eventually made it down the aisle in September.
Ms Lee and her husband then spent their honeymoon period battling renovation woes - shortage of manpower, annoyed neighbours working from home and administrative slowdowns - surrounding their matrimonial home.
She has now left those issues in the trusted hands of her interior designer and aims to move in this month.
On fulfilling her personal and professional dreams, she said: "I still struggle with anxiety and hormonal imbalances, but these days I bounce back from adversity much faster... I am learning strategies to cope better."