At kay me, we are always inspired by the amazing achievements and examples set by ambitious individuals who stand up to the challenge. In this series, we chat to International female entrepreneurs who are paving their own paths and leading the way for others in Japan, and hear their stories, advice and perspectives starting up their success. Recently, we caught up with Connie, a mother of three, image consultant and entrepreneur who moved with her family to Japan, eventually starting her own businesses in her 40’s. With little experience in business to start with, she worked her way to establish Color Me Tokyo, her own image consultant agency and now new ventures.
Tell us a little about your background
After I graduated from university in America, I worked for an American payment company as a Data Analyst in Singapore. There I met my husband, got married and had my first child We decided to move to Japan in year 2010, and a year after, my youngest child was born about a month before the Tohoku earthquake. I then started my own business after I turned 40 years old.
How did you start up Color Me Tokyo? What were the biggest challenges you faced starting up?
It was curiosity about how Japanese ladies look fresh and beautiful which turned into a business idea. I went to learn about the beauty culture and etiquette here and how to improve one’s appearance like how many Japanese people in society do. I saw the change myself. From there, I decided to make it my career.
I started the Image consulting salon right after I finished the course as a freelancer. I enjoyed doing the salon business setup, networking, and everything! Being a newbie in Image consulting and the biggest challenge is customer acquisition.
Any style advice for our readers?
Love yourself. Once you love yourself, you will care to know more about your style. Sorry back to the style. I would say, style is about balance. Know your face and body proportion. Knowing that, you will know what kind of color, clothing, jewelry, hairstyle, and makeup style is right for you. For example, I have rounded face shape. I will not put on the round hoop earrings; I will choose something dangle or long to elongate my face.
My facial parts/features are not big, but I know clothing with large prints is not ideal for me. And then I have my own uniform for work, girlfriend outing and family time.
“Talk to friends or any one you know about your ideas. You may never know; they may be your big investors. “
Could you share with us your experience with networking in Japan? How has that led you to where you are today?
I got distracted from my goals at times, so then I would attend networking sessions once a week, which helped me realign my focus, my goals and purpose. Being surrounded by like-minded ambitious people was a great reminder for me and I even met my current mentor there, who I turn to for advice even today.
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to start up their own business?
Talk to friends or any one you know about your ideas. You may never know; they may be your big investors. Do not sit back and let life happen to you. Just get out of your comfort zone and try it. One other thing is you must enjoy the process. If you do not, then that may be not ideal for you, but never give up on the big picture.
Do you have a role model you look up to?
My mother and my sisters of course. My mother is very energetic. She taught me the mother’s role is just like the pillar of the house and making a good balance between business and family matters is key. As for my sisters, I respect my eldest sister business management style. She manages family businesses very efficiently. Then my younger sister is the true entrepreneur. She started her business from scratch. Now she has successfully made her clients look more luxurious with her jewelry.
In Japan, I admire many female entrepreneurs who are shaping the world around us and making a difference. I read your founder, Junko’s story and I admire her innovation.
See Part 2 coming up for more on what goes behind the day of Connie Sui Fung.