This Issue we highlight some members of BWN and their businesses. You will discover in brief BWN Journey and learn more about our BWN Member Mishell as a self taught artist how she has created her success. CLICK ON THE COVER PAGE BELOW AND ENJOY READING OUR JULY ISSUE.
Our July meeting was all about working on our elevator pitch, the ladies wrote out and practiced mastering their pitch to people they are meeting for the first time. Meeting all the lovely ladies each month always inspires me to continue growing BWN and implement new things to continually help and support women in business. Our meeting is held at AAM Advisory board room each month. See you all next month.
Working on crafting an elevator pitch. Women in deep concentration.
Yesterday we announced our first issue of BWNASIA Magazine at the International Women's Day Networking Meeting. This magazine is dedicated to the all the women who have built or building their business. We all have stories to tell on why we do what we do, this issue is dedicated around International Women's day to share what has brought us to work in the professions we do.
Our network is full of very inspiring, motivated and like minded women who support each other and understand the importance of networking and collaboration. To read our magazine you can click this link https://goo.gl/9z1xNd
I would like to introduce you to Archana, if you have not met her at our monthly meetings yet, she is a lovely lady who can design a special piece of jewelery to your needs. She has designed many pieces and is always researching and trying new things to provide her customers with more choices to design a piece just for them. In just a short time since knowing Archana she has already taken her business to another level. Congratulations Archana and the team of Arko I wish you all a very successful 2017. Regards Michelle McFarlane
Below is an insight on how Arko started and the women behind the brand.
WHAT IS ARKO?
Arko… “Rainbow” in Spanish and “Sun” in Bengali, it is as vibrant and colourful as its name. Started in September 2015, Arko is a jewellery brand based in Singapore and founded by Archana Jain, a mother of an ever smiling 18 year old girl and a non-demanding 14 year old boy.
Her family back in India has been in the gold and diamond jewellery business for more than a century. Inspired by seeing her late dad and his team working in this field, her creative mind wanted to bring a range of personally designed, one of a kind, and affordable jewellery to the world. Hence, Arko was born in September 2015 which coincidentally has the initials of her and her husband’s name and she jokingly calls it her third baby.
As the name “Arko" explains itself, each of their collection is inspired by nature. Arko introduces new collections every few months, some of which are the “Glittery Stars”, the ”Rocky Mars”, and the ”Mysterious Ocean” collection.
Arko recently launched a unique “wearable art” collection which is the first of its kind in the field of jewellery. Each piece in this limited edition jewellery is a part of a “Forest” series canvas painting set in 92.5 silver.
Arko has created a niche market with its loyal clientele not only in Singapore but in Indonesia, America, and India as well. Starting its journey with exhibiting at a small shared table at a prestigious Indian exhibition in Singapore, Arko has since participated in more than a dozen well known exhibitions in the last year and has been a recommended brand by these exhibitors.
Arko has also been a jewellery sponsor for fashion shows where models were seen flaunting pieces with grace and glamour. Arko took another step forward when they started with the customisation of diamond and gold jewellery. With an order of a solitaire diamond ring, a ruby diamond necklace and a few more pieces in gold and stones, Arko is looking forward to expanding their business in this area.
BWN’S ROLE IN ARKO’S JOURNEY
Browsing through her Facebook posts one day, Archana curiously clicked on the BWN page and registered for their monthly meeting. The very first meeting with Michelle and other fellow members encouraged her to join the network and there has been no looking back since then.
BWN has always been a motivating factor for Archana. During one of their interactive meetings, a few members suggested her to rebrand Arko and include a tagline in all of her marketing products.
Through BWN, she was able to collaborate with a website designer, and through her advice, Archana was recently able to get a glamorous photo shoot done for its catalog. The revamped website is ready to be launched and she’s excited to release it along with the new online store soon. Archana is looking forward to collaborating with other BWN members and wishes Michelle and BWN’s members a very happy and successful business for the coming year.
I give great pleasure introducing Michelle Ma, when I first met Michelle she attended one of my workshops all about me, after the workshop we spoke for sometime getting to know each other, I was intrigued by her passions, stories and culture . She had a burning desire to get her business started and pursue her dream as an artist, ever since then Michelle has attended workshops, meetings, brainstorming sessions and have collaborated and gained friendships with other artist and business ladies of the network. BWN ladies, friends and family supported Michelle at her first art exhibition among other artist showcasing their beautiful artwork. I am so proud of Michelle's achievements and always look forward to what she is working on next. Congratulations Michelle Ma keep up the amazing work and to keeping your wonderful culture alive. Regards Michelle McFarlane.
Michelle was asked these questions from a publication and thought we would share them with you.
What have you achieved in the past 12 month?
I left the corporate world after working in Shell for 13 years to pursue my childhood dream, to be an artist. In June 2016, I had my first exhibition at The Substation in Singapore. The sales were great and was given very positive feedback by the public. Now my art works has been collected and traveling all over the world, such as USA, UK, Spain, Australia, Singapore and China.
How would you describe your personal vision? What would you say is the theme in your work? What do you seek to explore?
Quite simply, my personal vision is to bridge diverse cultures such as the east and west. Through my art, I want to break down boundaries and make life more free.
My current theme is based on my oriental heritage, which I connect to in a modern way by using strong colours that I apply with bold strokes using a palette knife.
I am currently exploring prominent female figures that have lived extraordinary lives, women that made a difference. I paint portraits of these women from the late nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century, to show that what happened over a century ago is still prevalent today.
I read about your journey from working at Shell, then motherhood and then art. When did you first pick up painting?
I started traditional Chinese ink painting when I was growing up in North East China . I must have been around eight years old when I first started under a traditional Chinese Xie Yi master. The Xie Yi master was apprenticed to Qi Bai Shi. I painted many Xie Yi ink paintings on traditional Chinese rice paper until the my focus shifted to getting good grades at High School before sitting for entrance exams for University.
I read that your early interest in art wasn’t encouraged. How does your family feel about your work as an artist today?
My parents often said to me that I never failed to surprise them. Like all parents, they were (and still are) very proud of their child. They were delighted to see that I was finally able to realise my childhood dream of bridging diverse cultures through art.
My husband is extremely supportive. When we met several years ago in Singapore, I was unable to paint so freely because time was poor. But in recent years, through my husband support, I have been able to take my hobby to a professional level.
Tell us more about your creative process.
My creative process is unique. Before I decide to begin on the next piece of art, I will question my personal vision and ask myself whether I feel it still remains relevant to me. For example, I ask whether the subject that I am painting would appreciate me sharing their extraordinary life, through in my painting.
I am lucky because so far, all of the subjects that appear on my canvases are close to my heart. Strangely I feel attached to them and therefore comfortable painting them.
Of course, if an artist told you that painting is straightforward, they would be lying. That’s because there are always unexpected challenges that pop up throughout the creative process.
How has your working process changed through the years? Why so?
When I first practiced oil painting eight years ago, like most amateur artists, I used a range of brushes to paint. But in recent years, I transferred my practice to a palette knife.
I feel the palette knife compliments the freedom of my hand strokes and this gives me greater opportunity to express my vision. Not only that, the palette knife offers a vintage effect because there are several under layers.
How long does a piece take on average? How long did you take to finish the series?
It really depends on the complexity and size of the painting, but typically from conception to packaging, it can take approximately 3-4 months.
Describe your studio. Where do you work on your artworks?
I currently paint at a shared art space located along Orchard Road, in central Singapore.
You’ve mentioned that you give notes on the paintings to collectors. Can you tell us about one of the paintings and the story behind it? As in, what’s shared in the note, how it connects with the collector, how the painting relates to your family’s stories etc.
Yes sure. One popular painting that a collector bought earlier in 2015 was called “A Dream In The Forbidden City”. I knew that because the collector was from the UK, they may be unaware of the story of the subject. Who was this woman.
So I wrote a short summary on a lovely card. It read:
After a few years of living in the Chinese Feudal society, she developed her own political ideologies. This lead to political ambition and coupled with her daring behavior brought trouble.
The Empress Dowager, Cixi, not surprisingly, took a disliking to her. Cixi’s authority and jealously had Zhen Fei imprisoned not once, but twice. Zhen Fei eventually committed suicide by ‘falling’ into a well. She was 24 year old. She is still remembered today”
Consort Zhen is a well-known Manchurian lady. When studying my family history I learnt that my late grandmother was also from a prestigious Manchurian family but due to the revolution of society, all of my grandmother’s family’s prestige and power was lost, practically overnight.
When I was doing the research, Consort Zhen’s story drew comparison’s my grandmother’s plight.
What aspects of China’s history fascinate you? What would you say are the aspects most personal to you and that you wish to portray in your work and why?
China’s beautiful history extends for thousands of years. The recent history, say nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century fascinates me most. Like many Chinese families, we endured some difficult times and we try to get better in every way.
I love painting portraits. I was an only child born in a relatively conservative environment. I have experienced the traditional ritual of being the only female child and that can often translate to the vision of my work.
Why do you love using the palette knife in your work?
I want to continue to challenge myself and by using the palette knife, it takes an artist out of their comfort zone. I feel the palette knife allows me to express myself freely. The texture always gives a vintage look, which fits perfectly with my theme.
You use bright, emotional colours in your work. How did you arrive at this style and why?
I used to paint a lot of Chinese Xie Yi on rice paper with ink but then I decided to try something different. So I experimented with bold colours using strong strokes. It didn’t take long. As an example, I seldom fill in all background layers on the canvas which was influenced by my Xie Yi practice.
What motivates you to keep working on your art?
There are so many things. I get a buzz from doing what I do and I genuinely love learning about my Chinese heritages and translating that onto the canvas in a modern way.
What’s your process like when you work on commissions?
Generally when I am approached by customers, I will arrange a consultation with the customer. Face to face is fine but if that was not possible, over the phone is fine too. It is critical to get acquainted with the customer to understand their desires.
I use a Collector Questionnaire which the customer can complete and this will help me to understand all important aspects of the piece, including such things as size and atmosphere they want to achieve through the art piece.
I want to be able to feel the energy and the passion they have for the art work. I want to be able to walk away from the consultation with a firm understanding of the research I need to undertake to present back as a formal proposal.
Once a purchase order is agreed, I will commence the project and share with the customer a list of milestone including the option to show progressive pictures of the art work.
My art work can be shipped worldwide.
What are your plans for the future?
My plans for the future include creating more unique work, and sharing my vision. I love the the way that I bring back to life, incredible people from the east by using western methods.
Finally, I will hold a solo exhibition – you’re all invited!
What do you like most about BWN?
The first time I met Michelle Mcfarlane was Feb 2016 just before I started my art business journey. BWN gave me tremendous help. Through BWN, I met many inspiring women who were at the same business phase as me, kind hearted and business driven etc. My business wouldn't of grown so fast if I didn’t get involved with BWN at the early stages of my art business. The latest collaboration project was with Photographer Natalie Ziglaer from White Prangapani and Personal Stylist and Make-up Artist Jeann Ng for the lifestyle magazine featuring in December 2016.
BWN is a network I will recommend to any entrepreneur to join.
I am writing from Boat Quay at the dragon boat Singapore River Regatta, where many teams come together to battle it out to row to the finishing line. So being among all these striving teams inspired me to write about teamwork. So many things in life we are surrounded by also reflect onto our working life.
We all know already that teamwork is the key to success in most areas of our daily lives and business life. Only through teamwork can we combine different points of view to identify, create opportunities, overcome difficult obstacles and achieve challenging objectives.
We do need to keep in mind that teamwork can be a challenging if groups do not work in harmony. It requires that people within the team manage their egos, develop humility, communicate effectively, resolve conflicts and, above all, commit to one another towards a common goal.
Being part of a team increases and develops performance, a culture within the group promotes hard work, excellence, learning, continuing improvements and to strive towards achieving extraordinary results.
Today watching all the teams battle it out shows that teamwork and working together is related to no matter if you play a sport, network, or even coming together as a family, working as a team will always result in learning and discovering more about ourselves and others.
The major thing I have noticed among BWN members is a great culture where many ladies are working together in collaboration, supporting and helping each other achieve their goals or solve problems they are struggling with.
So if you are not a member of BWN yet we have extended our basic membership package of $180 per year until the 28th November this will be the last time this price will be on offer TO JOIN TODAY our great network before you miss out.
Have a great day and look forward to seeing you at our last networking for 2016 on the 23rd November.
Sarah knows first hand how hard it can be to find a masseuse to tailor to your needs. Sarah provides the convenience either going to the clients own home or in the studio away from their busy lives. Sarah offers professional massage with a personalised feel, as entrepreneurs we work long hours and our bodies suffer, so why not contact Sarah and take some time out and get recharged. Below is more information .
About Sarah and House of Palms
I’m passionate about health and wellness and, as most ladies do, enjoy a good massage. However, so many times I would book a treatment, really look forward to having some “me time” and having a professional working on my tired, aching muscles…only to get there and be frustrated that the therapist would follow a standard routine rather than focusing on the areas I’d requested. This frustration only increased 4 years ago when I was pregnant and was desperate for a professional prenatal massage.
Having my first baby and only having 2 months paid maternity leave afforded me the opportunity to reassess what I wanted to do…a break from the corporate world and spending time with my new baby was important to me but I knew I wanted to work in some way. Working for myself and doing something I love was the perfect answer, so I re-trained as a massage therapist and in doing so, House of Palms was born – I wanted to provide a bespoke massage service, which truly focuses on the individual’s requirements whether the client wants a lovely full body relaxation massage or more of a deep tissue massage to work on specific areas and release any areas of stress and tension including for my prenatal clients. I fully believe that as each person is different, each massage needs to be different too.
I also recognise that everyone has busy, hectic lives either with work and/or family life. House of Palms aims to be as flexible as possible and I work days, evenings and weekends at a time to suit the client. My massage studio is conveniently located and I also do home visits so clients can relax and enjoy their massage whether in their own home or in the studio away from their busy lives. I offer professional massage with a personalised feel, without having to visit a routine spa.
I love what I do
Massage has so many benefits and knowing I can help people on their path to wellness through relaxation, sleeping well, easing tight muscles or preparing to have a baby is amazing.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the daily grind but taking some time out to relax and look after our bodies (and minds!) to feel good about yourself is so important and can do wonders for how you feel. Massage can really help with this and with my focus on customised treatments, each client will receive a massage totally bespoke to their needs at that time.
Message from Sarah if you are thinking at joining BWN or starting your own business?
If you have an idea and a passion for something, then you’re half way there. If you have the opportunity to follow your dream, then go for it! You’ll never know what may happen if you take that first step but you’ll always wonder “what if?” if you don’t. Of course it can be challenging at times but nothing worthwhile in life is ever easy!
Through BWN, I have met some fantastic ladies, all passionate about their businesses and industries. After every BWN meeting I’m really inspired to push on and continue to do what I’m doing. And it’s great to know there is a network of supportive women all doing amazing things and can offer advice or answer business-related questions…more heads are definitely better than one!
Stay healthy, look after yourself and take some time out for a massage!
House of Palms
Charmaine Pandya - Working with BWN to help you achieve results.
When you set goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time specific and still do not achieve your goal.
If I could show you a simple way that you can achieve any goal that you want, would you be interested? You may already be aware how some of the goals you set get accomplished and some don’t. ‘I want to be on time for a meeting, I want to earn $5000 a month, I want to be financially independent, I want to buy a dress for the work event on Friday night, I want to go to the gym 3-4 times a week…’
I invite you to remember some of the goals you set in the recent past. Go back to them and see what you saw, hear what you heard and feel what you felt when you set them. Which goals you accomplished and which you didn’t? If the goals you set were SMART and you didn’t achieve your goals you will get some great insights in this blog.
I recently gave a talk at the Business Women Network of Singapore on how to make your goals smarter. I’ve noticed that a number of my clients had SMART goals and were still not achieving them. So I showed them what lay beneath those goals.
Imagine an iceberg, the tip of it is your SMART goals and what lies beneath is the foundation based on which they are achieved. When you look below the surface you may become aware of the interference's that hold you back. Beliefs that are limiting, ‘I’m not good enough, I don’t have enough experience, the market is bad’. Followed by negative self-talk that supports those beliefs that create habits and behaviours, such as procrastination, anxiety, and confusion. Just like an iceberg, what lies beneath supports what’s on top.
In order to make our goals SMARTER, we need to add the E + R
E = Experience our goals
R= Release negatives and become resourceful
To experience our goals we need to we need to visualize them in the future, making them more tangible rather than theoretical. What would it look like when we achieved the goal, what would we hear and how would we feel. As Dr. Wayne Dyer (American philosopher and motivational speaker) says, “Imagine myself to be and I shall be”.
By visualizing and experiencing our goals we program the unconscious mind to focus on what we want, we activate the law of attraction and increase internal motivation.
Esther Hicks who wrote The Law of Attraction, states that if you hold a thought for 17 seconds it reaches combustion point and becomes powerful. If you continue to hold it in multiples of 17 seconds it grows exponentially. This is how we manifest the things we visualise.
In order to release negatives, we need to cancel, erase and replace any negative self talk that we have. So when the inner voice says, ‘I’m not good enough’, we cancel and erase that thought and replace it with an empowering thought or affirmation. We could replace the ‘I’m not good enough’ thought with ‘If I’m committed there is always a way’. Or the ‘what if I fail’ thought with, ‘there is no failure, only feedback’. That’s right. Our thoughts create feelings and the feelings create the actions. Empowered thoughts create empowered actions.
And finally being resourceful: In Anthony Robbins Total Success workshop he talks about being in a peak state for peak performance. Our state is the mood we are in, how we are holding ourselves. If we are irritable, complaining, tired and slouching in our chair, are we in a state to conquer our goals? We need to keep ourselves energized by exercising, meditating and investing in ourselves. Take the necessary actions to be in a peak state.
I invite you to examine what lies beneath the goals you are setting. Once you are aware and accept the beliefs, self talk, habits and behaviors you can take action to change them.
Setting SMARTER Goals - A talk at the September BWN Network Meeting.
Investing in yourself
I would like to start by saying writing this post was inspired by certain people in my life who have taken their precious time to guide me, offer advice, and most important believed in me. I know first-hand the best thing you can do for yourself is to invest in you. It is one of the best returns on investments you can do and give yourself and those around you. Whether it’s investing in learning a new skill, developing yourself personally or professionally, tapping into your creativity or hiring a coach, you need to give to yourself first before you can give to others.
If you are serious about building a long term business, it is our responsibility to take the time to develop, enhance and master our skills so we can best serve others. Investing in yourself most people shy from because of many reasons, money, fear, denial, ego, time and many more excuses they talk themselves out of in order to really succeed.
Even the most hard working wealthiest of people invest in having a coach; many wouldn’t be where they are today if they didn’t. So why is investing in yourself so powerful?
Let me share a little about myself.
Once I left home at 18 I soon realised how difficult life was when left to do everything yourself, even though I was excited to move into a unit, have the freedom to come and go etc, I still needed to seek others to help guide and teach me skills to discover what and where my future was heading. Some find their passions early in life, however for me I knew helping people was one main thing I would be doing, just didn’t know how I was going to do it. Having a horrific accident when I was young made it more challenging to overcome injuries that stopped me doing more with my life, however I worked hard and pushed my body to limits I never thought were possible. The fact that I was able to live through my ordeal is one thing, when I see all the people who helped me from the surgeons, physiotherapist, dentist, nurses, doctors, and many more who invested their time and money into being great at their jobs, I wouldn’t have a second chance today.
My biggest mission after surviving and spending 14years strengthening my body, I was determined to work on living and seek what makes me happy and fulfilled. Other than having a wonderful family we all have personal needs we want to accomplish, or have a deeper level on what makes us be the person we are. Investing time and money in myself has given me the freedom to learn more about the person I want to be and also how I see my life and future.
I loved dancing invested into some top dance instructors and ran a dance school for 9 years, I was a property manager and learnt a lot about property investing so now I own properties, I have learnt to seek the right coaches on business, which took me a while to find mind you, so now I have multi businesses with multiple sources of income. There is so many opportunities out there, but it all comes down to how much you want it, and how hard are you prepared to work for it. Investing time in yourself and implementing what you invest is the key. If you can find the right people or person to help you achieve your result that’s an added bonus.
When investing in yourself, and allowing yourself the freedom to do so sends a powerful message and makes a big difference on how you look at things and how you achieve them.
Here are just a few tips
Investing in yourself
helps me achieve my goals.
1. Take the time to set goals. Learn how to set personal and business goals for yourself, that is not a to-do list real goals. Set a time frame when you will meet them. Keep them realistic so they are achievable.
2. Respect your intuition. Trusting your gut and honouring the message that it’s sending. Not waiting for validation from someone else if you pay attention to how you feel, it will help you to make better, smarter and quicker decisions. I know for me I was too focused on helping the other person and see the good in them, that I ignored or didn’t take my own intuition seriously. If you don’t feel right then it’s normally not right for you.
3. Invest time being creative. Taking time to be creative is good for the mind, in business we need to come up with ideas on how to improve, create visuals, introduce new products, what content to write etc. Having an ideas book that you carry with you, I get ideas on the go or from something some said etc so have a note book is helpful, you will experience so much more of what this world can offer when you take more notice on the little things.
4. Building your confidence. Even if you are good or not so good at public speaking, talking to strangers or can cope under pressure, having the confidence to overcome fear, doubt and uncertainty is still part of building your confidence. Most of us have a list of our weaknesses so recognising them and overcoming those is a great start.
5. Training. Books, audio books, attending workshops, webinars, listening to podcast are all an awesome resource to build your knowledge and expertise in the areas you like.
6. Attending Networking events. This not only expands your knowledge it also gives you the opportunity to meet and interact with individuals who are like-minded. Attend different levels of networking groups seek those who you admire and learn and see what works for them.
7. Health Check we can all get caught up with our busy day and not eat or drink enough water, take breaks and even exercise. Taking even a solid 30 min walk at the start of everyday can do wonders.
8. You are who you associate with. Associating with happy, positive people will only make a good impact to your life. There will always be someone who will look at the negative in things but remember at the end of the day it is up to YOU on the choices you make no one else.
9. Say NO to excuses. Making excuses will only set you back, I appreciate things take time to overcome, however if you find yourself saying the same thing all the time you are not helping yourself, it’s time to change. A little saying I like is “Don’t work to an excuse work to completion”.
10. Invest in a coach. If you want to be the best you can be in either sport, your business anything for that matter, If you invest in a coach who will be a thorn on your side ready to challenge you and push you to your goals then grab it. I am truly blessed I have meet amazing people that surround me, who keep me motivated and inspired. Being motivated can be short but having something that inspires you is truly a gift. Investing who are specialised, have learnt from their failures which saves me time and money making them myself, that’s priceless.
A closing note if you invest in yourself emotionally, physically, and financially, you are investing in becoming the best version of yourself. When you feel the best version of yourself, you will attract others who will want to invest in you.
Have a great day
If you found this article useful please comment below and maybe share what you are investing in right now that makes you feel good.
Michelle McFarlane Founder of BWNASIA PTE LTD