New Age FSG Pte Ltd – Ms Christina Jee, In Touch with Mother Gaia
In the midst of the perpetually busy Dhoby Ghaut Train Station, sits an oasis of peace and tranquility. One can almost feel the peacefulness radiating out from the neat little shop filled with natural stones and crystals emitting positive energies into the surrounding area.
The oasis here is New Age FSG Pte Ltd. Founded in 2005 as a family business with just Ms Christina Jee and her niece running the show, they have since evolved and expanded into 2 outlets hiring 8 staff members and 2 co-branded franchises in Singapore.
The ever serene Ms Christina Jee was kind enough to spend some time to share with us her philosophies and her business experience.
Q: Hi Ms Jee, can you share with us about the beginnings of New Age FSG Pte Ltd?
A: The Company now comprise mainly of family members with some hired staff members but I started the company in 2005, purely as a passion project as I like natural stones and had been intrigued by them for quite a while. We used to deal only in hand-crafted natural stones and jewelry designed by myself and my niece in the early days. Our first outlet was opened in 2006 and we have since expanded over the years.
Q: Would you mind telling us more about the nature of your business?
A: Of course. We started out as a Jewelry design service dealing in natural stones. But I picked up my expertise in Geomancy readings in those early days and when people found out about it,they started asking me for advice and I provided it as a value-added service for them. As time went on, I picked up more skills in Vedic Numerology and Astrology, and Energy Healing and there was more and more demand from our clients for advice. That was when we decided to provide it as an official service for our clients. That was also the time when my siblings and cousins joined me in the business, they were the support team that made the business possible. In terms of products, we have also expanded from natural stone jewelry to include gems and Jadeite. We currently deal with most things related to Mother Nature and her offerings like natural minerals and holistic readings and healings. That is the core culture of our business, to be in touch with nature. In fact, we are currently also diversifying our portfolio and expanding into the manufacturing of natural based body care products as well. We hope to be able to offer our clients crystal infused body care products in the near future.
Q: Having spoken about the beginnings of the company, can you share with us some of the challenges that you have faced over the past 10 years?
A: One of the biggest challenge we faced was the perception of the general public towards our industry. We spent quite a bit of time in the beginning to educate and convince the consumers about what we can offer and how our services work. People tend to associate our services with
religion or superstitions, we have to explain to them in metaphysical terms that there is nothing religious or superstitious about what we do.
We do not sell mythical statues or symbols like Dragons, Kirins or other lucky charms. Instead we explain to people the logic behind how energy maneuvers in a location and how our bodies react and entrains with the energies in the environment. Therefore when we do an interior audit of a location and align the energies in the environment, our body intelligence will naturally vibrate at a higher frequency and that is one of the ways that the ‘Laws of Attraction’ may apply. The years of sharing that information has proven to be very helpful over the long term. I am quite happy to say that we have been rather successful in the sharing of information through our website as people generally have a better understanding of what we do and are more receptive of the value we can provide now. As a result, our client base has grown and business is expanding.
Q: Apart from perception, what other aspects of running a business do you find challenging?
A: Human Resource is a constant challenge. Getting the right people for the right job is always a problem we have to solve. But, I feel that I have been very blessed because my family and the key people in the company has been extending their help and support unconditionally. At the end of the day, this business is not just about me, everyone involved has contributed to the success of the company. In fact, I feel that the business has become a perfect platform for creating the strong bond within the family, we have three generations of Jees working under one roof now. That is something not so common in this day and age, and something that I am very glad to see. Having said that, we are also looking out for the right people to join the team, people with the right expertise and attitude to help us expand. We are actively seeking people to form an inhouse R&D team for our body care product which is currently outsourced. It is something we hope to achieve within the next three years, to have our own in-house R&D department and our own manufacturing plant in Singapore. Hopefully we can create a wholly Made in Singapore product and brand. I feel that many people around the globe has a very good perception of the Singapore brand and we want to contribute to that by creating high value products that can benefit more people.
Q: With so many plans in place for diversification and R&D, are there any plans for physical expansion in terms of outlets and services?
A: With the new products that we are bringing to the market, we will be building a new brand and are definitely looking into expanding into more retail outlets as well.
Q: Having run the business with the family over the past 10 years, what are some of the sacrifices you have had to make to keep the business going?
A: It is definitely the time commitment for everyone involved. Compromises have to be made to keep the cohesiveness of both the family and company. As the person giving direction, I have to be fair so that everyone involved in satisfied with their jobs. Thankfully, tension is minimal as everyone has a common understanding of their roles and what is expected. We all have a common goal for the company and work together as a cohesive team to achieve it. I am very blessed that the family has been providing unconditional support and commitment over the
years. Everyone involved also spend time away from work upgrading themselves and picking up skills relevant to the business. I personally conduct training sessions for the members of the team to upgrade and add to their skill set. In fact, we do not view sacrifices as sacrifices as much as an investment in our common passion.
Q: Next, shall we speak a bit on the inspirations and motivations in your life and business?
A: I do not really have someone in mind as an inspiration. I am a very self-driven person. At the end of the day, you need to know what you want, if you are clear about your goal and vision, I think half the battle is won. I am inspired by many philosophers and people in the holistic healing community because not many people would take this non-mainstream route. People like Deepak Chopra, who left his profession to go into alternative holistic healing, I feel that is a great sacrifice on his part. But, at the end of the day, I believe he has achieved more because his knowledge has helped many more people lead more fulfilling lives. So, this is a goal for myself, to share the knowledge that I have picked up over the years from many masters that I have been blessed to have met. I feel that the sharing all these knowledge with my clients has been an extremely fulfilling process for myself.
Q: I guess you really enjoy your current role, can you share with us what you enjoy most about what you are doing now?
A: I am glad to be of service to the population at large. Many people might view this as a business, but I feel this is a service. The ability to share my knowledge with my clients and help them lead more fulfilling lives brings joy to the job. The happiest part of the job is definitely when I see clients benefiting from the knowledge I share.
Q: Are there any principles you live by?
A: I live by the mantra ‘Think Good, Speak Good, Do Good’. Peace is not something easy to achieve, but, if you can have joy in the heart, you have achieved peace. Good and positive thoughts are important.
Q: Any Fears you might have regarding the business?
A: I am a rather practical person. I won’t really regard it as a fear, but I am worried about not having enough time to spend with my family outside of business. The business is stable and on track, the next phase of expansion will be more challenging because of the economic environment. It would be foolish of me if I were to say that I do not worry about it, but it is part and parcel of business. Of course, the other worry which I have been having since day one, and I’m sure every other business worry about it, are the human resource issues. Hiring is difficult in Singapore, especially in the retail line, and it is even more difficult to find the right candidate for the right job.
Q: You obviously have very different takes on a lot of issues, what would be your definition of success?
A: I call New Age FSG Pte Ltd a family business. The word ‘Family’ comes before ‘Business’, I look at it from a very family oriented way. Everyone working and growing together would be what I consider a small success in itself. I have worked in many teams with many big corporations before, but I have never seen a truly bonded team. My current team spans three generations of the Jee family and I am very blessed that we are so closely knitted and share such a strong bond. This is a success that I am very proud of.
Q: We touched on this briefly, but would you like to elaborate more on how New Age FSG Pte Ltd differentiates itself from the others?
A: We employ metaphysical methods in our services instead of religion or superstition based services. We develop products that are as natural as possible as we understand that mainstream products in this industrial age may cause harm to our bodies. We deal with energy sources like crystals and minerals instead of lucky charms or mythic statues. As you know, our location is in between two major hospitals along the train lines, so we tend to see many customers that are suffering from some illness and are patients of the hospitals that provide mainstream medical services. I believe our services compliments the efforts of mainstream doctors in a holistic sense. We also strongly believe in personal service, and we consider it our duty to educate and open the minds of our clients to the possibilities of the services we provide. We believe that the mindset is very important to the effectiveness of any healing that the patient receives. We aim to help our client achieve the balance of Body, Mind and Soul and to be at peace with themselves and their surroundings.
Q: In conclusion, you have been in business for 10 years, what advice would you give to young aspiring entrepreneurs today?
A: You must know what you want. Also, your success is driven by how strong your desire is. A Lot of people have many wants and needs, but the desire to achieve is ultimately what would determine your success. It is really about how much you want something. Maybe you can call me a practical person, I think being realistic is important because ultimately, we are entering a new age, I think we need to be realistic about our expectations. Having said that, it is also important to be persistent. I always share with my team the idea that they should never give up what they are doing. If they think they can be better, they must continue working towards improving themselves and keep getting better, and if it is possible, be the best. Be persistent and keep improving, that is important, because otherwise we would not be what we are today.
New Age FSG Pte Ltd 60 Orchard Road #B2-04 Atrium@Orchard Singapore 238889 Tel:62388978 Website: newagefsg.com.sg