Singapore Fashion Entrepreneur – Jacqueline Chang

Ms Jacqueline Chang not only co-owns Singapore’s first blowout salon, Prep, but also runs her own wedding photography outfit, 5degreeshift, and is the project manager of fashion label Cassey Gan.

Asked how she juggles all three jobs, she says: “Stress becomes a foreign concept when I choose not to focus on the demands of work, but rather adopt a position of thanksgiving for what I already have. That puts me at rest.”

The 29-year-old had encountered naysayers who doubted Prep’s viability when it opened in April 2013 because of her and her co-founders’ lack of hairstyling experience, their youth and the fact that the business offered only styling services and no haircuts.

But Prep defied expectations and will launch its second store at the Capitol Piazza Mall when it opens in March.

“When my friends invited me to set up Prep with them, I had only two questions – if I believed in the business concept, and if it would be at the cost of our friendship,” she says.

Her partners are Yishi Lian Teh, 29, and Jacelyn Soh, 30, who were former investment bankers. The three were friends at Raffles Girls’ School (Secondary).

It turned out that the trio’s different skill sets from previous jobs complemented one another – Ms Chang takes care of design, marketing and the technological aspects, while her friends handle other areas such as finances and legal affairs. Each oversees operations at the Prep store for two or three days a week; they hire stylists.

Ms Chang joined Cassey Gan in 2012 as she had always been interested in business development and fashion trends. Cassey Gan’s clothes are stocked here at boutiques Nana&Bird and Threadbare&Squirrel.

She visits the boutiques about twice a month. She also keeps track of the label’s finances, writes the marketing material, designs the lookbooks and takes photographs for them.

There were also the doubting Thomases when she started a wedding photography sideline in 2006 while still a student at the Singapore Management University.

As a wedding photographer, she takes on just 15 assignments a year, to stay emotionally focused on her other commitments. She does wedding photography because she loves the genuine emotions on display there.

She attributes her ability to do all three jobs, which have flexi-work timing, to a strong belief in whatever she does.

She says: “I’m so blessed that my jobs don’t feel like work. Also, surrounding yourself with people who have faith in you – for me, it’s my grandparents – is really important.”

Ms Chang says she had wanted to be a professional circus clown as a child and even took up tightrope-walking and unicycling lessons during her four-year stay in London where she pursued graduate studies and worked from 2008 to 2012 – but cited her family as one of the reasons for her return to Singapore.

“I see a future where everyone will have multiple jobs, driven by their multiple interests and desire to do meaningful things. Increasingly, the drive for money alone is not enough to keep us in our jobs,” says Ms Chang, who is single.

“It isn’t easy dealing with the uncertainty of not being a salaried worker, but I have no doubts – and therefore no regrets – about all that I do.”

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