Callum Connects Richel Xie, Creator/Producer of DreamGirl Published 4 months ago on August 15, 2017 By Callum Laing Share Tweet Richel Xie’s DreamGirl SG is shaking up the pageant industry, empowering women by focusing not just on their beauty but a full range of capabilities and talents. What’s your story? My name is Richel Xie, Director of OTwo Inc Private Limited, Creator/Producer of DreamGirl DreamGirl SG is about finding beautiful, intelligent and passionate ladies out there who do not fit the conventional height requirements for pageants (1.65m and below) or modelling. Not only does the competition aim to give these ladies a chance to showcase and further develop their talents, we also hope to open doors and opportunities for them to do more for themselves and their community. DreamGirl SG emphasizes not only the beauty and poise of our contestants, but more importantly, their attributes like their character and personality and their work ethic. We aim to shift away from the idea that women should only be judged by how they look or their figure – as is traditionally done through beauty pageants – but rather, by their efforts and the results they are capable of achieving. Through a unique format where the contestants will be awarded points based on how well they do in a wide range of activities that test their writing skills, patience, teamwork and physical coordination. DreamGirl SG aims to differentiate itself from the other pageants by giving our participants a sustained platform to showcase the full range of their capabilities and talents. What excites you most about your industry? Pageants in Singapore have a really bad name. Ever since Miss Singapore Universe got pulled off the air and the Ris Lows of many other pageants started getting notoriety, very few people – businesses, sponsors and contestants alike – wanted anything to do with pageantry and though many other unique, smaller pageants started springing up (Miss Scuba, Miss Mermaid, etc), they were just rehashing the same formula over and over again, just with slightly different agendas and tweaked execution methods. Dreamgirl SG is about taking that formula and turning it on its head. Instead of having a group of ladies being judged by how they look, this competition has no category for looks, beauty, makeup or catwalk. Instead of having the ladies spend hours posing for pictures like mannequins, the contestants are sent to learn Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu, catch wrestling, flow-boarding, Burlesque dancing and pilates and they are given points according to how much effort they put into each activities and how well they do. Instead of having them just go on stage dressed in different outfits and giving a short introduction of themselves, this competition allows everyone to truly understand who each of the contestants are through constant interviews during and after each activities; what their hopes and dreams are; what kind of emotions they are going through; and how determined they are to fight for what they want. This to me, is truly exciting because no longer will these females be judged as little more than walking vases, with little to no personalities or intelligence displayed. To me this is both demeaning and embarrassing for both the competition and the contestants. To have a platform where ladies can truly show their abilities and their strength, where they can truly be empowered and enriched, where they can embark on a journey of true self discovery, this to me, is exhilarating. This industry needs a shake up, and Dreamgirl SG is here to rock the boat. What’s your connection to Asia? At the moment, there is not much connection to Asia per se, except in terms of planning. We plan for this competition to first take South East Asia, and then slowly but surely, move into Asia. We have a huge demographic of petite, fun sized, strong and intelligent women here, not just in Singapore, but in the whole of Asia, and I believe this platform is the ideal stage through which all of them can shine. Favourite city in Asia for business and why? Definitely Singapore. Although operating, logistics and manpower costs here are very high, the legal framework, safe environment and the building and online infrastructure in Singapore is of a decently advanced level for everyday business operations to be executed in a fast and efficient manner. Although, I wish there was less red tape for entrepreneurs to access funding. What’s the best piece of advice you ever received? To never give up, no matter how steep the hill is. Every movement upwards, no matter how slow, is still an upgrade of your current situation. Honestly I can’t remember where I heard this, but I guess this sort of repeats itself through many different mediums and in different forms. Who inspires you? Cliched, but it’s my mum. She brought me and my brother up through sheer grit and determination after my father passed away when I was 5, leaving her at 24 with two kids and no idea how to properly raise them. Without advanced education (just O’levels), she went through long hours and days of absolute misery just to bring the two of us up, and on just one pay cheque. It took a lot of tears, a lot of putting aside thoughts of giving up and ending her life, and even a nasty divorce, but she succeeded. The sacrifices that she had to make and all the life experiences she had to put aside just to raise us was what inspired Dreamgirl SG, and set the standard for my ideal girlfriend. What have you just learnt recently that blew you away? That people who are the closest to you, are the ones who could actually hurt you in the worst possible fashion. I recently ended a business relationship with a former business partner whom I helped earn a lot of money for. It was really eye-opening to see how devious, petty and vindictive a person with whom you used to share so much with, can be. But it was even more heart-breaking to see, that when everything goes sour, people with whom you have done so much for, and on whom you thought you could count on for support, just disappear. I have heard about the cruelty of mankind before, but experiencing this myself, just blew me away. If you had your time again, what would you do differently? Nothing really, every experience helped shaped me into what I am today. Oh, maybe be kinder, bolder, and take even more risks than I have already taken. Some experiences are worth dire consequences. How do you unwind? Intellectual shows that push the boundaries of what’s acceptable, are my passion. I can binge watch Suits, House of Cards, Preacher, Legion and House for days if my schedule allows me to. Otherwise, there is always Moscato and Football Manager (weird combination, but that’s me!) Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why? I absolutely love the Phi Phi Islands in Thailand. Pristine beaches, no cars, crappy food, sunburn. I love all of it! Nothing like having to deal with nothing for a couple of days on white sandy beaches with friendly monkeys. Everyone in business should read this book: Sun Tzu’s Art of War, because business is war, no matter what anyone will tells you. Shameless plug for your business: Be part of something truly different, unique, and representative of how women should truly be gauged – by their character and capabilities. Your participation as a sponsor or investor could mean everything to these contestants, and to your business as well. Dreamgirl SG is a platform dedicated to female empowerment, to strength, to dedication, and it’s a platform that is only going to get bigger and bigger every single year. This competition is now Singapore’s most social media active, female-centric competition, with a fan base on Facebook numbering close to 40 thousand. As we set our sights on Malaysia and Philippines, we are also looking for partners who can come on board on this exciting journey and help take up arms together with us in this revolution against dull, appearance obsessed, demeaning pageants. Women should be celebrated for who they are, how hard they are willing to fight and all the wonderful things they are capable of achieving. Help them achieve their dreams. Let us help you achieve your business goals giving you access to reach out to thousands of strong beautiful and independent women on our platform. #fightforyourdreams How can people connect with you? Email me — [email protected], or search for Dreamgirl SG on Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/DreamGirlSg/, Instagram — dreamgirl_sg , and Youtube — https://www.youtube.com/dreamgirlSGandasia/ — This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur: Callum 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 Related Topics:asiaasianasian entrepreneurbadbusinessEducationEntrepreneurentrepreneursfemalefundinginterviewinvestorjourneylifemalaysiameonlinepaysingaporeStorySupportthe asian entrepreneurwomen Continue Reading You may like 10 Effective Funding Models for Non-Profit Startups Malcolm Tan, Founder of Gravitas Holdings Women on Top in Tech – Pam Weber, Chief Marketing Officer at 99Designs Renata Brkić William Chin, Founder of Mummy’s Market How We Can Innovate the Legal Industry like Elon Musk Callum Connects Malcolm Tan, Founder of Gravitas Holdings Published 2 days ago on December 15, 2017 By Callum Laing Malcolm Tan is an ICO/ITO and Cryptocurrency advisor. He sees this new era as similar to when the internet launched. What’s your story? I’m a lawyer entrepreneur who owns multiple businesses, and who is now stepping into the Initial Coin Offering/Initial Token Offering/Cryptocurrency space to be a thought leader, writer (How to ICO/ITO in Singapore – A Regulatory and Compliance Viewpoint on Initial Coin Offering and Initial Token Offering in Singapore), and advisor through Gravitas Holdings – an ICO Advisory company. We are also running our own ICO campaign called AEXON, and advising 2 other ICO’s on their projects. What excites you most about your industry? It is the start of a whole new paradigm, and it is like being at the start of the internet era all over again. We have a chance to influence and shape the industry over the next decade and beyond and lead the paradigm shift. What’s your connection to Asia? I’m Singaporean and most of my business revolves around the ASEAN region. Our new ICO advisory company specialises in Singaporean ICO’s and we are now building partnerships around the region as well. One of the core business offerings of our AEXON ICO/ITO is to open up co-working spaces around the region, with a target to open 25 outlets, and perhaps more thereafter. Favourite city in Asia for business and why? Singapore, since it is my hometown and most of my business contacts originate from or are located in Singapore. It is also a very open and easy place to do business. What’s the best piece of advice you ever received? Be careful of your clients – sometimes they can be your worst enemies. This is very true and you have to always be careful about whom you deal with. The closest people are the ones that you trust and sometimes they have other agendas or simply don’t tell you the truth or whole story and that can easily put one in a very disadvantageous position. Who inspires you? Leonardo Da Vinci as a polymath and genius and leader in many fields, and in today’s world, Elon Musk for being a polymath and risk taker and energetic business leader. What have you just learnt recently that blew you away? Early stage bitcoin investors would have made 1,000,000 times profit if they had held onto their bitcoins from the start to today – in the short space of 7 years. If you had your time again, what would you do differently? Seek out good partnerships and networks from day one, and use the power of the group to grow and do things together, instead of being bogged down by operations and going it alone from start. How do you unwind? I hardly have any time for relaxation right now. I used to have very intense hobbies, chess when I was younger, bridge, bowling, some online real time strategy games and poker. All mentally stimulating games and requiring focus – I did all these at competitive levels and participated in national and international tournaments, winning multiple trophies, medals and awards in most of these fields. Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why? Phuket – nature, resort life, beaches, good food and a vibrant crowd. Everyone in business should read this book: Rich Dad Poor Dad by Richard Kiyosaki Shameless plug for your business: Gravitas Holdings (Pte) Limited is the premier ICO Advisory company and we can do a full service for entrepreneurs, including legal and compliance, smart contracts and token creation, marketing and PR, and business advisory and white paper writing/planning. How can people connect with you? Write emails to [email protected], or [email protected] Twitter handle? @malcolmABM — 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 Callum Connects William Chin, Founder of Mummy’s Market Published 3 days ago on December 14, 2017 By Callum Laing William Chin set up Mummy’s Market. Mummy’s Market is the uncontested platform connecting parents and retailers in Singapore. What’s your story? After National Service, I enjoyed a rousing start to my corporate career with successful stints at events and conventions companies such as IQPC, Hannover Fairs Australia and Lighthouse Independent Media in management roles, building my experience in conventions, trade fairs and events. However, I hit a particularly bad streak of unemployment after that, facing difficulty finding jobs because according to recruiters, I was overqualified, yet too young. In fact, at one point I was struggling so badly with my family loans that I was sharing bowls of ramen with my girlfriend for our meals, to save costs. My financial pressures eventually culminated in my forced venture into entrepreneurship where I had to strike out my own path with a brief stint in Expomal. However, this turned out to be my next break that fuelled my current success. It was there I built up Smartkids (another wildly successful baby and child fair) before it was bought out by a bigger company. Inspired by SmartKids, I started Mummy’s Market and eventually Baby’s Market, outperforming established names in the business to take its current place as market leader. What excites you most about your industry? Mummy’s Market is the industry leader in baby, kids, maternity and household with 80% market share and our clients – coupled with branding, advertising and exhibiting on Mummy’s Market platforms, we are seeing a 30-60% company growth year on year despite the downturn in the economy. With attendance of over 100k consumers per fair and serving 70-80% of pregnant mums, our actual business is in data, data collection and processing from consumer fairs. I am excited about how big data analytics from Mummy’s Market can be applied at every stage of the retail process such as data segmentation – for retailers now when mums are giving birth to sending relevant content over. This will transform and innovate the industry of baby fairs and Mummy’s Market, with the huge amount of data we process from our fairs yearly, is the forerunner in this disruption. With this, we have transformed the DNA of how digital business has always been done. Global online marketplaces are burning cash quickly to achieve big data analytics, but not us. Another testament to Mummy’s Market’s popularity is that huge marketplaces have been trying to pass off as Mummy’s Market. It shows that we are heading in the right direction and the most exciting part is, we are only at 10% of where we want to be – a platform where $1 billion gross market value products are transacted annually around Asia in a niche market. What’s your connection to Asia? I was born and bred in Singapore, and intend to stay in Singapore to build the Mummy’s Market brand. Favourite city in Asia for business and why? Singapore – if one can strategically become a leader in a small market like Singapore, its grounds to show that one’s business has an opportunity to grow further in larger countries. What’s the best piece of advice you ever received? “It is easy to become number 1 because the others can just copy and tweak to overtake you. It is more difficult to STAY number 1, because you have no one to copy. You have to innovate.” Who inspires you? Steve Jobs – he transformed the digital age. Without the invention of smartphones, mobile computing and mobile advertising would never have grown. He changed the way businesses and consumers communicate. Without the introduction of iPhones, mobile applications would have never existed the way we are using them today. What have you just learnt recently that blew you away? You no longer have to lick stamps to make it sticky. If you had your time again, what would you do differently? Nothing. I love my life and my family. And I love the platform Mummy’s Market has created to help businesses grow. How do you unwind? I play with my little 1 year old baby girl. Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why? Taiwan – cool weather with beautiful mountains and lake scenery. Everyone in business should read this book: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey Shameless plug for your business: Mummy’s Market has established its reputation as not just Singapore’s but Southeast Asia’s largest baby fair: Nearly S$100 million gross merchandise volume transacted on Mummy’s Market platforms annually 800,000 visitors at its fairs yearly 80% of all of Singapore’s baby product distributors in one convention 15-20% year on year increase in sales volume at every baby fair since its inception Apart from market dominance, Mummy’s Market also has the largest database of parents and the number 1 platform for MNCs and SMEs to reach out to this audience. From exhibitions, magazines, seminars to digital campaigns and roadshows. Mummy’s Market is the uncontested platform connecting parents and retailers in Singapore. How can people connect with you? [email protected] https://www.linkedin.com/in/william-chin-23910a9/ — 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’. 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