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Josh Lee, Owner of Josh Lee Fragrances

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Josh Lee is living his childhood dream as a perfumer. He literally practices what he preaches, preserving his ‘heritage through scent.’

What’s your story?
When I was three, my father used to spray some of his cologne on me before we left the house. Since then, I have always been intrigued by the different scents that came through my nose. Moreover, I grew up in a family with a shop that sells cake-ingredients. It was always filled with the aroma of comfort flavours such as vanilla and chocolate. Equipped with over a decade of experience in the fragrance industry and trained at the prestigious perfumery institute, ISIPCA in France, I founded my own fragrance brand, Josh Lee Fragrances.

What excites you most about your industry?
I’m a dreamer who is passionate about scent and will always pick up scents and aromas around me from flowers to food wherever I go or travel to.  All my fragrances are reflections of my life’s story; the places I have been and the cultures I have immersed myself in. I believe that we need to preserve our heritage in order to move forward into the new century and I am doing my part by preserving our heritage through scents. Hence, my tagline is ‘Heritage through scent.’

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and raised in a Chinese family in Penang. Nevertheless, there are so many different cultures, heritage and food in Malaysia. In fact, there is a bit of everything; Malay, Thai, Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, Dutch, English and even Japanese. If you ask me, the capital of Asia would be Malaysia! And that’s why all my fragrances are inspired by the heritage, culture and nature of Asia and Malaysia. My current fragrance collections are called George Town, OUD and Nyonya. My next fragrance collection in 2016 will be based on the flowers of Asia and Malaysia.

Josh Lee Potrait Perfume Formulation JoshLeeNewLogo1A

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Penang is becoming a popular tourist destination since George Town in Penang has been declared a UNESCO world heritage site. Moreover, we have so many international festivals here, in particular the George Town Festival which has encouraged many tourists and hence, it is a great platform to promote my fragrances to the world.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Everything is personal, from taste, beliefs and actions to preference. You can not please everyone but you can make their life a better place to live in if you choose to.

In addition, no matter how successful or popular you have become, always remember to have humility and be kind to others.

Who inspires you?
My 68-year mother is the most important person in my life. She always encouraged me to pursue my dream to become a perfumer, ever since I was young. She taught me a lot of personal skills such as leadership and management skills and she is the driving force in my father’s business. That’s why she is like my consultant for my business as she is standing behind me on my positive decisions in life and confronting me on the negative ones.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
You need different sets of keys to open different doors. No matter how good you are, you still need good team members to do what they are good at and deliver the best results for you.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have added culinary chef to my bio. It is all about senses after all. Food triggers our memory while taste buds are as powerful as the sense of smell. But it is never too late to learn and I may join some short culinary classes in Penang such as the Nyonya food class by renowned Nyonya chef, Pearly Kee.

How do you unwind?
Most of the times, I enjoy a good swim to relax and clear my mind and sometimes it is a good time for me to put my thoughts together while swimming.

I am an avid chocoholic and a small chunk of dark chocolate is my daily dose to kick off my day.

I will always travel two to three times a year. My mind roams free when I travel to places that have diverse cultures, nature and food. Places like Bali, Thailand, Vietnam, Provence and the Côte d’Azur in France have intriguing scents of flowers and herbs such as lavender, lemongrass, frangipani, rose, jasmine and others.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
I loved visiting Bangkok. It is a vibrant and dynamic city with a diverse arts scene as well as delicious food to feed the soul, especially the tom yum soup, phad thai and street food. You can also get a good brewed coffee at a reasonable price. I always feel rejuvenated with a relaxing spa and awesome Thai massage there. I am also inspired by the local designers who have such incredible creativity and skills.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Boss Life: Surviving My Own Small Business by Paul Downs.

It is a compelling memoir – not a manual – about life as a small business owner with honest reflections on failures and shortcomings. It is not just a story, but a page turner. I finished it in two days. This isn’t a tale of his business brilliance or financial success. It’s a story of trying to figure it out, day by day and all the mistakes and false starts every business runs into along the way. It is definitely a good learning curve for new start-up entrepreneurs.

Shameless plug for your business
Josh Lee’s fragrances are personally created and concocted by award-winning fragrance designer, Josh Lee.  Born in Penang and trained at the prestigious perfumery institute, ISIPCA in France, Josh’s fragrances are inspired by the heritage, culture and nature of Malaysia and Asia.

All fragrances are certified HALAL by Jakim Malaysia with international quality certification by IFRA (The International Fragrance Association). We strive to promote Malaysia and Asia to the world with our tagline: ‘Heritage through scent.’

How can people connect with you?
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.joshleefragrances.com
Instagram: @joshleefragrances

Twitter handle?
@joshleefrag

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

CallumConnectsCallum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia.  He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries.  He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence.  A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.

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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