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Nikki Tang, CEO of DMARK Corporation

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Nikki Tang, CEO of DMark Group of Companies, built one of the country’s leading provider of dermocosmetics and aesthetic devices through passion, determination, and good old-fashioned hard work.

Nikki Tang always knew that she is going to be an entrepreneur. That she would end up in the beauty industry, becoming one of the biggest beauty entrepreneurs, or beautypreneurs, in the country came as a nice surprise.

Tang is the CEO of DMark Group of Companies, composed of DMark and DermAsia Corporations. DMark distributes some of the most trusted anti-aging skin care and minimally invasive skin rejuvenation treatments worldwide. It has changed the game for dermatologists, who previously had to package their own formulas, by replacing their prescriptions with top-of-the-line dermocosmetics from world-renown leaders in the industry. DermAsia supplies top dermatologists and aesthetic physicians with the latest technology and devices.

Clients of both companies include major hospitals like Asian Hospital, Makati Medical Center, St. Luke’s Medical Center; dermatology and aesthetic centers like The Aivee Institute, Belo Medical Group, Marie France; and retail stores like Watson’s and Personal Care Exchange.

Tang’s feel for the entrepreneurial was honed at a young age, when she would help out in the family hardware store during school breaks and weekends. Despite the extra work after school, she managed to be in the Dean’s List at the De La Salle University, where she graduated with a degree of Manufacturing Engineering & Management.

After graduation, Tang realized that there was an untapped market in dermocosmetics and aesthetic devices in the Philippines. She started DMark with just herself and one assistant.

She pretty much grew up learning about the beauty industry from her mother. “Her entrepreneurial spirit has inspired me to work hard, identify opportunities and create value for bigger purposes,” she says.

As CEO, it is Tang’s responsibility to build up the company in terms of profit goals, as well as to sustain their market shares, create an inclusive company culture, oversee the company’s performance, and ensure that the company is continually providing innovative solutions for the industry. Her philosophy is simple: “Work with the smartest people you can find, do something you are not ready to do, find an environment where you can find your voice, and work for someone who believes that it is worthwhile to invest in you.”

Building two successful companies from scratch in an industry that hadn’t yet caught on in the country wasn’t easy. Thus, some of Tang’s proudest achievements in this area include building a dynamic forward-thinking team, focusing on positive cultural development within the organization, and maintaining product growth and sustainability. Surprisingly, most of these have little to do with making money and a lot to do with taking care of people, which is probably why employees have repaid the company with loyalty, hard work, and soaring profits. Tang believes these became possible through “prayers, focus, determination, patience, and a deeper understanding of our position in the market.”

Tang’s constant passion for innovation and change as well as the drive to constantly mine new opportunities and processes have paved the way for DMark and DermAsia’s success that have spanned almost two decades. Her commitment to excellence and constant passion for innovation continue to set her apart from her competitors.

Her willingness to stretch her boundaries in her role as a leader have resulted in numerous recognitions for the contributions of both companies from organizations such as the Philippine Dermatological Society, the Philippine Academy of Dermatologic Surgery Foundation, and the Philippine Association of Primary Skin Health Physicians, Inc. To add to this, DMark Group of Companies was awarded International Distributor Sales Excellence for Small GNP Markets in 2008, and was recognized as one of the Top 7000 Corporations in the Philippines from 2009- 2010. Just this year, DMark received the Best Trading Back Office Award by IFC, Spain, one of their international partners.

It always thrills Tang to meet skin experts and industry leaders, travelling in search of new and state-of -the-art technology to provide innovative beauty solutions to the target market. “It is always rewarding when I am able to make a difference by making the latest technology available to our client doctors. The work is challenging, yet exhilarating. I love the fact that the growth in this industry is not just about being beautiful. Since it involves technology, it is important to be responsible for making lives better, and not just for turning profits.”

Tang isn’t all about work. An avid traveler, she also likes settling down with a good book or an engrossing film, but what she likes to do most of all is spend time with her family. Her two boys are the lights of her life. “Balancing my family and my profession is a daily challenge, but I believe it’s really about knowing how to set your priorities, covering all grounds, and setting expectations in a realistic sense. I always remind myself that family will always be my number one priority.”

She also supports social causes. An awardee for Philippines’ Best Dressed Ambassador for Life by the Philippine Cancer Society, a figure among the Movers, Shakers and Influencers of the Philippine Yearbook in 2014, received People Asia’s 2016 Women of Style & Substance Award, actively supports the Red Charity Gala for the Red Cross, actively participates among the Angels for Street Kids to service marginalized children and elderly folks. She brings to her social causes the same determination and drive to help others that she carries in her business.

A forward thinker and strategist, Tang is now set on doing aggressive online distribution channels bridging the gap between b2b and b2c, opening an aesthetic training academy to support customers by offering them constant industry updates and create their own private label that will cater to certain market segments and gain a foothold in the logistics industry to be able to transport goods efficiently, and eventually have the company listed in the Philippine Stock Exchange.

Tang has come a long way since she started her group of companies from scratch. The advice she gives aspiring entrepreneurs and other brave souls who have taken on the business world and won, is, “to believe in yourself, keep your passion, and never lose hope,” she says. This upholds the values that have spelled success for her.

Nikki Tang is an inspiration to women and to entrepreneurs as DMark and DermAsia have opened doors for hundreds of dermatological and aesthetic physicians to serve their patients well, and for all Filipinos to have access to quality dermacosmetics. Tang has so much to be proud of, yet remains conscious of her everyday blessings and opportunities. “Be grateful, find inspiration in every single day,” she says. “And most of all, do not be afraid of hard work.”

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

Continue Reading

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