Multitasking To Success Heres How Creatives Are Going ItOng En-Ming, 27  Internet entrepreneur • Artisan chilli-preneur (left)

Ong Ker-Shing, 38  Architect • Author • Design store owner • Artisan chilli-preneur

“Don’t plan too much, and don’t sit there and analyse,” says Ker-Shing. This might be the antithesis of what our teachers taught us, but it works for the Ong siblings, who credit their surgeon dad Dr Ong Leong Boon as an inspiration, and say that the entrepreneurial spirit runs in their family.

Co-founders of Two Rabbits Smoky Chilli, they debuted their mum’s home-made chilli recipe at Pasarbella last year, and have now spun it into a burgeoning business. It’s currently sold at Plain Vanilla Bakery and Sprmrkt, and will soon be available in mini “pick-up-on-the-go” jars ideal for take-out at cafes like Sarnies and Gaest.

When Ker-Shing isn’t whipping up a fresh batch of chilli sauce, she heads Lekker Design, the firm behind the award-winning Gallery House in Geylang, as well as Hermes’ window displays throughout Singapore.

And in 2008, she and her husband Joshua Comaroff opened Strangelets, a charming little design store in Tiong Bahru which sells everything from quirky coffee tables to crockery. She explains: “We found it hard to shop for our clients, to find that cute piece that gives a home character.” The shop became the solution.

Between drawing up blueprints and tucking their two kids in bed, the couple has also managed to squeeze in writing a few books. These include Horror in Architecture, and a study of architecture in Shanghai, set to hit the shelves next year.

Brother En-Ming is a Harvard alumnus in the post-Zuckerberg era. Since graduating in 2011, he has set up two online businesses and is currently fine-tuning his third. “If it goes well, you can really impact society,” he says. The heart of his ventures is connecting people around their interests: Belugabeats lets electronic music fans share links, and consolidates and ranks songs based on how popular they are. “It’s like a user-driven playlist that a busy electronica lover can piggyback on to find out what is hot.”

From chilli retail to software coding, En-Ping uses a Samuel Beckett quote to motivate him: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”,,,

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Angie Pasley, 31

Makeup artist • Restaurant/bar owner • Marketing and branding consultant • Furniture store owner

Cool. Crazy. Fun. Fresh. These words are equally applicable to Pasley as the multiple projects she has managed to make a success of in the past few years. The native Australian started as a makeup artist (notably a personal one to Diane von Furstenberg and Maria Sharapova), and lived in cities including Japan and Hong Kong before setting up base in Singapore just over two years ago.

It was here that she caught the entrepreneurial bug. Her first venture was furniture brand Fred Lives Here, which pays homage to her favourite designers by giving their classics a creative twist. For example, you’ll find a reproduction of Ron Arad’s Little Albert chair spray-painted by local graffiti artist Fadzil Aris or Arne Jacobsen’s Swan chair punked up with studs.

The store – which once operated out of her shophouse home – is now located at Orchard Central and even rents out pieces for events around town. These include Formula 1 (it kitted out the VIP lounges) and gourmet food festival Saveur. The chairs, stools and tables for hip joints like Common Man Coffee Roasters and Bar-roque Grill can also be traced back to the brand.

Success begets more success and soon, clients wanted Pasley’s imprint not only on their interiors, but also on their own brands – and consultancy arm Fred Thinks Here was born. “The common thread is that I just love coming up with something enjoyable and original. It’s addictive!” she says.

Her latest projects include a gang of restaurants and bars. In the space of eight months, she has opened Oxwell & Co. (a hip British gastropub on Ann Siang Hill, headed by Gordon Ramsay’s former executive chef Mark Sargeant and ex-Tippling Club mixologist Luke Whearty), the spanking new Lebanese eatery Cedar Grill at Boat Quay, and underground cocktail bar Operation Dagger.,

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Grace Clapham, 31  (left)
Marketing and branding consultant • Entrepreneur • Events curator • Connector

Ho Renyung, 28  
Lifestyle brand owner • Collaborative space co-founder • Business mentor • Connector

At 8am every third Friday of the month at the National Design Centre, you’ll find a room full of young designers, entrepreneurs and artists connecting over fresh coffee and an inspiring breakfast talk. Co-organised by Ho and Clapham with two other friends, Creative Mornings Singapore is part of a popular global series that brings a city’s creative community together. The speakers over the past two years have been dynamic and determined to make a difference. Individuals a lot like themselves.

Three years ago at 25, Ho co-founded Kennel, one of Singapore’s first collaborative workspaces, offering creatives a conducive physical environment to work in, as well as the company of other independent thinkers to exchange ideas with. The desire to promote diversity and out-of-the-box thinking seems to be the bond that links all of Ho’s projects.

Her latest enterprise – which she’s most excited about – is lifestyle label Matter. Kicking off with block-printed pants crafted by rural artisans in Northern India, it combines her love for travel and creating a positive social impact. The loose, effortlessly chic styles (already featured by Vogue Italia) are inspired by traditional wear in Asia and a perceived need for comfy travel pants that aren’t “jeans, leggings or harem pants”. She believes that “doing good can also make good business sense”, and her plans for the brand include linking designers with artisan cooperatives in other countries.

Clapham is the quintessential “third culture kid”. She grew up shuttling between Singapore, Jakarta, Melbourne, London, Paris and Ecuador. Yet, rather than getting lost in the nuances between cultures, she has used her understanding of them to bridge and bring out the best in individuals, communities and businesses across the region.

Besides founding her own marketing and branding firm Agent Grace in 2010, she also started Secret {W} Business, an organisation working across South-east Asia to connect and provide resources to young female entrepreneurs. “What existed then was very corporate, there was nothing less dry for a generation of change makers,” she says.

In addition, Clapham is lead curator of TEDxSingapore Women. In March, she launched The Change School, a retreat in Bali that combines workshops, leadership development and outdoor activities for individuals “in transition” in their lives.  If you’re in a career limbo, this is for you.

“Today, parallel entrepreneurs are a big thing,” she says. Indeed, symbiotic businesses are now the most modern way forward., www.thechangee,

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Teh Su Ching, 29

Writer • Actress • Improv comedian • Poet • Broadcaster • Producer • Health drink developer

Film-making encapsulates what Teh does, but it glosses over the multifarious roles she has played in bringing stories to the screen.

Her first foray into the industry began at 15, acting alongside Lum May Yee and Pierre Png in Chicken Rice War. Her latest role: as forensic expert Jean Wu in Channel 5 drama Code of Law. However, the Yale literature and theatre studies graduate has also written a slew of plays and shorts, including the one-act Russia!, staged in 2007 at the Substation with Lim Yu Beng in the lead role.

“I enjoy both the collaborative process of film-making, and the solitude of writing,” says Teh. Indeed, straddling the two seems to bring out the best in her. Equally comfortable in front of and behind the camera, her career to date has included stints as a news reporter and anchor for ATV in Hong Kong from 2008 to 2010, and freelance Hong Kong correspondent for The Straits Times.

Now based in Shanghai, her recent projects include producing a short film One Godverdomme Cup of Coffee – a dark comedy about a Dutch tourist on death row in Singapore – which premiered at the Boston International Film Festival in April.

Teh has been prolific over the past year, completing a dramatic writing programme at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Asia, and launching into three new pursuits: improvised comedy, poetry and developing a health drink.

Teh had always been interested in improv comedy, and when the opportunity to perform with Zmack, Shanghai’s longest-running comedy team, presented itself, she jumped at it. “It gives me a nice break from scripting,” she says. At least once a month, she takes to the stage with them at prime venues around the city.

At the same time, Teh had been posting a poem a day on Singpowrimo all through April 2014. Moderated by local poets Alvin Pang, Joshua Ip and Pooja Nansi, the Facebook site was the perfect literary outlet for a poet-on-the-go.

Her last project, developing a beverage that aids digestion, initially seems like a departure, but Teh is as much an adventurer as a creative. For her, writing, acting, producing and even concocting a drink comes from one and the same place: a desire for exploration and a deep well of curiosity.

This article was originally published in Female June 2014.