Meet Beatrice Tan, Founder of Klarra. A woman of class, humility and values.
Dressed in a well-fitted, white jumpsuit by her own label, Klarra, Beatrice greeted us with a warm and friendly smile as we met for dinner in the quaint, charming PS. cafe, located at One Fullerton. A down-to-earth, humble and easy-going lady who started the conversation by asking each and every one of us what we do, one might easily forget that this woman is a social media influencer who has 73.8K Instagram followers and at the same time, a successful, young entrepreneur of the 3-year-old homegrown label, Klarra.. Meet Beatrice Tan, Founder of Klarra. A woman of class, humility and values. Dressed in a well-fitted, white jumpsuit by her own label, Klarra, Beatrice greeted us with a warm and friendly smile as we met for dinner in the quaint, charming PS. cafe, located at One Fullerton. A down-to-earth, humble and easy-going lady who started the conversation by asking each and every one of us what we do, one might easily forget that this woman is a social media influencer who has 73.8K Instagram followers and at the same time, a successful, young entrepreneur of the three-year-old homegrown label, Klarra. As Beatrice shares with us her personal and career journey over the past few years, you would realise that she is a woman held strongly by her beliefs and values in ensuring that everyone deserves to be treated equally – A value inculcated by her mum since young, this has become a mantra in how she builds her team, plans to contribute to the community and even why she started Klarra in the first place. As a start, would you like to share with us how you define your leadership style? I believe in an open culture where everyone, regardless of seniority, feels safe to voice their own opinions and respects one another. I ensure that trust is built within the team, where my team is clear of their respective roles and gets the autonomy to do what he/she believes is right and beneficial for the company. It is important to me that in a small team of Klarra, communication and trust are key and everyone is aligned with the same values and goals. Are there any leaders who have inspired you or mentors you’ve had? One of the great leaders I admire is Sheryl Sandberg. She’s a very inspiring and nurturing woman who is firm with what she wants and is able to articulate her thoughts and reasoning with clarity. For example, upon saying ‘no’ to her team, she is able to explain the rationale behind her decision, be able to get understanding from her team and ensure everyone is aligned towards the same goal. One of the mentors I’ve had is Doreen Chia, Director from Amore Pacific, whom I’ve met when I was in University. She has taught me a lot on how to be a great leader and effective ways to grow a team, including skill sets such as time and people management. Being a mum herself, she has also shown me that one can be a successful all-rounder as she strives for balance with life, family and career. Lastly, my mum. Definitely. She has placed a huge positive impact in who I am today. She is a woman of fairness and is never biased towards anyone. She treats everyone equally with integrity and is always honest towards me. Having taught me these values since I was young, it has stayed with me and influenced how I treat everyone around me. Given the recent talks on gender equality, what are your personal views on that? Most people might think that women are more emotional and unable to take on certain challenges at work. However, I personally believe that as women, we have the ability to empathise and are more sensitive towards others, especially other employees. This can be a great strength when it comes to team building and in empowering others around us. There’s also a saying that a woman has to ‘do it all’, do you believe in that? I believe that having equal roles in the household is important. In other words, women should have their own career, as it helps to expand their views on the world, stay relevant towards trends and grow as a person. This can in turn benefit the family and in ways one nurture their kids for the future. Ultimately, I believe it’s about knowing your own strengths, communicating well with your partner in managing roles within the household and managing time wisely. How do you develop yourself and grow as a person and a leader? I enjoy meeting people, not just for networking but really, to know people as who they are. It helps that I am generally curious in nature. I enjoy listening to others as they share with me about their lives, careers and some of the challenges that they face at work. It helps me learn from their experiences along the way as well. Now, let’s talk about Klarra. What do you aim to achieve with Klarra? For Klarra, our goal is to improve the lives of our customers by offering high quality, yet affordable clothing that are easy to wear, comfortable and long-lasting. In today’s world where we are constantly busy with life and work, time has become more precious than ever. And we hope that with Klarra, we can empower women from within by providing clothing that is easy for women to look good, feel good and be confident about themselves. Were there times in which you felt like giving up your business? Yes, definitely. In fact, I almost gave up once but when I thought about the hard work and effort that I, together with my team, have put in for the past few years, it gave me the strength to keep going. Having my own business also made me realise I’m not in this alone and there are many other stakeholders involved, including my suppliers that I’m responsible for. It helps that we are constantly supporting one another in this journey and that has made me push through despite any challenges I face. What are your most favourite books? Brené Brown is one of my most favourite authors as she talks about the importance of facing your own fears and being empowered from within. She advocates that we ourselves are enough and her sharings are often very relatable to our day-to-day lives. I have learnt a lot from her and it has shaped my perspectives of life. ‘Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead’ is definitely one of her books I highly recommend as a start. ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’ by Daniel Kahneman is another great book to read. Working in a fashion industry where it thrives on design and creativity (taps on slow thinking), while at the same time, being an entrepreneur who manages finance and operations (taps on fast thinking), can be rather challenging at times, as the transition might not as quick and easy. This book opened my eyes to the two ways of thinking and how to manage them effectively. Next, let’s move into community engagement. Are there any social causes that you are involved in or that you feel strongly for? I’m always happy to be involved in campaigns for social causes. One of which I was involved in as an ambassador was the Suicide Prevention campaign by Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) last year. Some of the beneficiary groups that I feel most strongly for are the elderly and people with special needs, such as Autism and Down Syndrome. I believe that everyone deserves to be treated equally and fairly, therefore, these groups should be given equal opportunities to do what they are passionate about, instead of being told what to do/not to do. I personally believe that it’s important to give back to society. We do have a few Corporate Social Responsibility activities in the pipeline for Klarra. Meanwhile, I’m constantly on a lookout for any opportunities in this aspect, and if YWLC has any to offer, I would love to find out more! What is one last quote you like to end off for our audiences? “The first thing is to know ourselves well, accept both our strengths and weaknesses. Don’t compare yourself with other women. Every one of us is different and unique. We should learn to use it to our own advantage”