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Joakim Cimmerbeck, Owner of Eico

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If there are two overarching trends that are impacting everyone it is technology and a broader awareness of our impact on the environment (and it’s ultimate impact on us). Consequently it was great to connect with Joakim and see how he is combining these trends in something as seemingly simple as paint.

What’s your story?
Born in Sweden, I had an idyllic countryside childhood where I was taught that you must take care of your environment. That didn’t mean much then but later working in big cities as an investment banker I began to understand the importance of that principle. My own children were raised in London where we lived for 15 years. They may be city kids but they also know the importance of respecting their environment. It’s why I chose to invest in eico during this time. Then we moved to Hong Kong and a few years later I decided to give up banking to launch eico here in Asia. It’s not just about having a livelihood. It’s also about ensuring that my children, and their children’s children, can enjoy the countryside as much as I did.

What excites you most about your industry?
Judging by the offerings of established paint providers (almost all chemical companies) you’d have no idea how versatile paint and other decorative products can be. This is just the beginning – smart paint that changes colour with temperature, embedded microchips, truly organic paint that decomposes on the wall – these are just some examples of what the industry will be doing in the future. And of course it will all be greener. eicó is at the forefront of these innovations. In a few years we won’t be niche – we’ll be the industry yardstick.
 
What’s your connection to Asia?
I fell in love with Hong Kong and Asia when I lived here in the 90s. I was desperate to return so when a new opportunity presented itself I didn’t hesitate to board that plane. It’s a great place to raise a family. There’s so much energy and drive here, along with great social awareness. Hongkongers demand so much and have exacting standards, but they’re also versatile and creative. It’s these qualities that excite me and make for such a dynamic market across Asia. That’s why I know eico’s ethos will translate well here.

IMG_3578 IMGL0162
 
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
I have two favourite business cities. Shanghai for the size and the scope. Singapore for simply being perfect. Hong Kong to me is the blend of those two.
 
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Trying is learning. Failure is teaching.
 
Who inspires you?
My wife. One day I hope to be as forgiving and generous. Until then I am by her side.
 
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Titanium Dioxide, the main ingredient in the white base of all paints, is also found in most everyday household foods. What makes your skimmed milk so white? Yep, Titanium Dioxide. We didn’t have to check its organic credentials in a lab (although of course we have!); it’s being tested everyday in a kitchen near you, by you!
 
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Learn a lot more. Mainly languages. The rest can be found on the internet.
 
How do you unwind?
Sport to release. Music to focus. Books to understand.
 
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Hanoi. It is a great blend of Europe (maybe a bit too French…) and Asia in a manic mix. Sit at a café… strong coffee… let the day go by. What can possibly be more relaxing? And when that’s not fun anymore find one of the badminton games that are always being played along the boulevards. Some games are of very high quality and are very entertaining. Also the players love an audience and always do a bit extra to keep you watching!
 
Everyone in business should read this book:
There has been many books written about expectation – most call it greed when it goes wrong. And there have been many books about Enron; a definitive study in expectation – on speed! I do recommend Brian Curver’s book about Enron. If we learn anything from it, it is that expecting too much is not good for anyone and if you take any shortcuts to fulfill those expectations you will get caught. I adore success but only if it is on the back of hard work, dedication and reasonable expectation.
 
Shameless plug for your business:
We all have a responsibility to safeguard Mother Earth for future generations. That’s why I helped start eicó, a carbon-neutral company, which is as close to a clean and raw product that paint can possibly be. If I can get people to think differently about their environment and the crap we allow into our personal spaces, then I will have contributed to something. Think about it – paint is everywhere life is: in classrooms, bedrooms, offices, hospital wards. If people can begin to consider what we slap on walls, then maybe they’ll be more discerning when it comes other things too. Paint won’t save the world, but it’s a real start.

How can people connect with you?
Linkedin
[email protected]
[email protected]
facebook eico hong kong

This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:

CallumConnects

Callum Laing has started, built, bought and sold half a dozen businesses in a range of industries across two continents. He is the owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 11 countries and he is also the CEO of Entrevo Asia, a company that runs 40 week Growth Accelerator programs.

Take the ‘Key Person of Influence’ scorecard <http://www.keypersonofinfluence.com/scorecard/>

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Get his free ‘Asia Snapshot’ report from www.callumlaing.com

Callum Connects

Jasmine Tan, Director of Stone Amperor

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Jasmine saves her clients time and effort when doing kitchen fit outs with her biz Stone Amperor.

What’s your story?
I started working in the industry in 2003. I was in a marble and granite supplier company for 5 years. Even though I left the company, I still had customers calling me for my services. I referred them back to my previous company but they refused to because they loved the fast response service that I offered. I realised that customers do look at prices, however most of them prefer quality over quantity. Thus I have decided to establish a sole proprietor company also known as 78 Degrees which later rebranded as Stone Amperor in 2014.

What excites you most about your industry?
The kitchen countertop industry is a very confusing market. There are many brands, materials and prices to choose from. What excites me the most is my ability to help clients choose the best materials and brands within their budgets, whilst saving them time and effort.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I have been in Asia all my life and I love Asia. No matter where you go there is no place like home.


Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
I love Singapore. This is because Singapore has always been a stable country and it is great for doing business. However as it is a small country, it can be really competitive. I believe that if just do your best and give your best to your customers, you can overcome this.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Take actions. Learn and improve continuously. An idea without action is just a dream.” This was really good advice that I received from my partner.

Who inspires you?
A very down to earth billionaire from Malaysia, Robert Kuok

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Property is the foundation of every business.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Own instead of renting property for my business.

How do you unwind?
I enjoy going shopping, watching movies and hanging out with friends. I am quite a simple being.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
I love going to Taiwan as I love the culture there. Everyone is so polite and the weather is great.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Sun Tzu, Art of war

Shameless plug for your business:
Perfect top, Perfect price, Perfect life from Stone Amperor

How can people connect with you?
Email me at [email protected]

Twitter handle?
@StoneAmperor

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

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Callum Connects

Dextre Teh, Founder of Rebirth Academy

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Dextre Teh is a consultant and marketing guru, helping F&B businesses to tighten their operations and grow their businesses.

What’s your story?
I help frustrated F&B business owners stuck in day to day operation transform from a glorified operator into a real business owner. I’m a 27 year old Singaporean second generation restaurant owner and a F&B business consultant. Entering the industry at 13 years old, I have always been obsessed with operations and systemisation. At the age of 25, I joined the insurance industry and earned a six figure yearly income. However, I left the high pay behind because it was not my passion and returned to the F&B industry. Now I help other F&B companies to tighten operations and grow their businesses with my consulting and marketing services.

What excites you most about your industry?
The food. I’m a big lover of food and even have a YouTube show on food in development. But that aside, it is really about impacting people through food. Creating moments and memories for people, be it a dating couple or families or friends. Providing that refuge from the daily grind of life. So in educating my consulting clients and training their staff to provide a better experience for their customers, I aim to shift the industry in the direction of creating memories instead of just selling food.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and bred in Singapore. I love the culture, the food and travelling in Asia.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore hands down. The environment here is built for businesses to thrive. The government is pro business and the infrastructure is built around supporting business growth. Not to mention the numerous amount of grants available in helping people start and even grow business. If I’m not mistaken, the Singaporean government is the only government in the world that offers grants to home grown businesses for overseas expansion.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Learning to do things you do not intend to master is a BIG mistake in business. Focus on what you are good at and pay others to do the rest.

Many business owners including myself are so overwhelmed by the 10,000 things that they feel they need to do everyday. We try to do everything ourselves because we think it saves us money. The only thing that, that does for us is overload our schedules and give us mediocre results. Instead we should focus on what we do best and bring in support for the rest.

Who inspires you?
Christopher M Duncan.

At 29, Chris has built multiple 7 figure businesses. He opened me to the possibility of building a business on the thing that I loved and gave me a blueprint of how to do it. He also showed me that being young doesn’t mean you cannot do great things.

Imran Mohammad and Fazil Musa
They are my mentors and inspire me every single day to pursue my dreams, to focus on celebrating life and enjoying the process of getting to where I want to be.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Time is always more expensive than money. Money, you can earn over and over again but time, once you spend it, will never come back.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I am a firm believer that your experiences shape who you are. I am grateful for every single moment of my life be it the highs or the lows, the successes and the failures because all these experiences have led me to become the person I am and brought me to the place that I’m at so I will probably do things the same way as everything was perfect in its time.

How do you unwind?
Chilling out in a live music bar with a drink in hand, listening to my favourite live band, 53A. Other than that I’m big on retail therapy, buying cool and geeky stuff.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Bangkok. It feels like a home away from home where the cost of living is relatively low, the food is good and the people are friendly.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Everything you know about business is wrong by Alastair Dryburgh. It is a book that challenges commonly accepted business “truths” and inspires you to go against the grain, think different, take risks and stand your ground in the face of the challenges that will come your way as a business owner.

Shameless plug for your business:
I’m the creator of the world’s first Chilli Crab Challenge. It gained viral celebrity earlier this year with 3 major newspaper features and more than a dozen blog and online publications featuring it in the span of two weeks. In the span of the two weeks, the campaign reached well over a million people in exposure without a single cent spent in ads.

Now I help F&B companies to tighten operations, increase profits and grow their businesses with my consulting and marketing services. Chilli Crab Challenge (https://www.chillicrab.com/nationalday)

How can people connect with you?
You can connect with me on Facebook (www.facebook.com/djtehkh) or visit www.rebirthacademy.sg for more information or book a 10 minute call with me @ www.tinyurl.com/dexclar

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

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