I’Glow Boutique Pte Ltd – Mr Dion Lo, The Thorn among the Roses
Away from the Hustle and Bustle of busy Singapore life, along the quiet and serene Lowland Road in Kovan estates, is where I’Glow Beautique Pte Ltd operates. This relatively young boutique spa and dance studio founded in February 2014 by 25 year old Mr Dion Lo is going to shake up the trend of spa and dance services in Singapore.
Not only does I’Glow Beautique Pte Ltd provide your standard fare of spa, slimming, facial and beauty services, they also operate a Latin American & Ballroom Dance Studio a few doors down from their spa and are in the midst of expanding into providing fitness coaching and dietary consultation services as well.
We had a chance to grab Mr Lo for a short interview amidst his busy schedule and got him to share his experiences in starting the business, the challenges he faced and his visions for the future of his company among many other topics.
Below is the transcript of the gems he shared with us.
Q: Can you share with us how you started this business and why you chose this industry?
A: I think it’s about meeting the right people at the right time. Also, my mum has quite a few years of experience in the spa and beauty industry. I grew up in the environment and learnt a lot from her. As she grew older and had some health issues, I thought I could put her experience and knowledge to better use and serve more people with it.
Q: How did the Dance Studio come about? Not many people will link A Spa with Dancing.
A: I actually got to know a friend by chance, and he happened to be quite a renowned Dance Instructor from overseas. After a few interactions and discussions, we thought of putting the 2 ideas together (Spa and Dance) to provide a more holistic service to our clientele. This is the basis of our vision to provide an integrated service hub for our clients.
Q: can you share with us some of the challenges you faced while setting up this business?
A: Well, I guess the challenges I faced are similar to what every other entrepreneur out there are facing. Mainly it’s the administrative work, and to be honest, I do not really think of the obstacles I faced as challenges. If I really have to list one, I would think that building the customer base at the beginning would qualify. That took a lot of time and effort when you’re building from scratch. I think that’s about it.
Q: Did you have any issues with people’s perception of you as a man running a business in what is widely considered a more female-centric business?
A: (Laughs) Oh no no… I mainly run the business in the background, dealing mainly with charting the business direction, marketing and admin. I have a fantastic frontline team that deals with customer service and relationship building. So, you can say I am more of the guy in the background. And customers are really more concerned about the quality of our services and the value we provide rather than who is running the show anyways.
Q: What were some of the sacrifices you had to make as an entrepreneur?
A: I started the business when I was still an undergraduate in Nanyang Technological University. I believe the biggest sacrifice any entrepreneur makes is in terms of time and energy. We sacrifice the time with our families and friends to make sure the business is running on track. We do not have the luxury of rocking all night and partying all day. Every waking hour is spent thinking about the business and how we can do better and provide more value to our clients. It is practically a 24/7 job. It is satisfying but grueling at the same time, by the time you are ready for bed, you’ll be asleep before your head hits the pillow.
Q: I’Glow Boutique Pte Ltd is a relatively new company, can you share with us your vision for the future of the business?
A: It’s not about what Dion Lo wants, it’s about what the business and our clients need. As it stands, we are already providing beauty and slimming services, throw in our dance studio and we have a basic framework to build upon. People generally want to look good and feel good. Therefore, it will be a natural extension to expand into fitness coaching and dietary consultation. I guess the idea is to become an integrated hub to provide a full-service holistic approach to beauty and wellness in general. While beauty products do help, it’s always better to rebuild oneself from the inside out by incorporating exercise and the right diet. Dancing is a great way to de-stress and get a good workout while enjoying the process of picking up a new skill. We are already in the process of creating packages for our clients that include beauty and slimming services, dance and workout sessions and meal plans based on nutritional science. The aim is to be able to help our clients look good and feel good through a holistic approach. These plans will be rolled out within the next six to 12 months. Once we have everything in place, the next step would be to reach out to more people that we can help with our services. In terms of physical expansion, it would be ideal in our current plans to have one new outlet every year for the next three to five years. Depending on the climate, it could be more. Who knows? If we do well enough, regional expansion is not out of the question in five or 10 years’ time.
Q: Who or what are your inspirations and motivation?
A: My mum. I grew up with my mum and watched her as I was growing up and listened to her stories about how she served her customers. I could see the amount of time and effort she spent in this industry. One thing I always remember is how she would take very good care of her customers and make sure they are getting the best care and service possible. I know this might sound clichéd, but my mother was really running a ‘business with a soul’. She would go out of her way to customize services to suit the individual needs of her clients. She would really work with her clients on what their needs were and would never over-prescribe treatments or services that are unnecessary just to profit. The main takeaways, I would say, are her sincerity and definitely, her integrity. Always deliver on your promises. These are the principles I live by now and that is the culture I instill into my business.
Q: Do you have any fears regarding running your business?
A: No. Well, to put it in another way, I would say that I don’t really concern myself with fears. Being fearful does not solve any issues. If there is a problem, you just have to find a way to solve it.
Q: Would it be fair to say that you do not have fears because you have contingency plans in place?
A: Of course we have contingency plans. Any company that is decently run will have contingency plans in place to prepare for the unexpected. But, I would say that the contingency plans are there not because of any particular fear or worry. They are in place more for the sake of efficiency and smooth operation of the business. They are there so that if a plan fails, we do not have to delay the building process and can keep moving forward. I’m sure every entrepreneur out there has faced failures both big and small, it’s just a matter of working through or around them. When you start a business, you have to be clear that failure is definitely an option, when it comes, it comes. It’s a matter of how you react to it, there’s no point in being fearful.
Q: How would you define success? What is Dion Lo’s definition of Success?
A: I believe success is the ability to do what you like well. Being the best at what you are passionate about without compromising your integrity.
In our business, I would say that if we can bring value to our customers and help them achieve their goals of looking and feeling better, that would be a success in itself. In the long term, if we can continue to improve and more people can benefit from our services, that would be great! We want to continue to create as much value as possible for as many people as possible.
Q: What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur?
A: The flexibility when it comes to scheduling your time. You don’t really have a boss to account to, you just have to account to yourself and make sure the business is running well. As an entrepreneur, I don’t have to deal with the bureaucratic red tapes that are so common in working for a corporation, it is definitely a more efficient way of using my time.
Q: What would you say is the main differentiation between I’Glow Boutique Pte Ltd and the other industry players?
A: As I’ve mentioned before, I’Glow Boutique Pte Ltd is not your run-of-the-mill spa and slimming center. What we provide is a full-service holistic approach to health and beauty. We are not just here to provide you with a quick fix to your beauty problems, we will rejuvenate your entire being by working on the root causes of your problems and solve the issues from the base level, thus giving you a long lasting and permanent positive transformation from within.
Q: Finally, as a young entrepreneur yourself at just 25, what advice would you give to other aspiring young entrepreneurs out there?
A: Do not fear failure. That’s all.I’Clow Beautique Pte Ltd 39 Lowland Road Postal Code: 547441 Tel: 62834946 Website: www.iglowbeautique.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iglowbeautique