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Shalini Kamal Sharma, Self-Made Entrepreneur of Formula One Furniche

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Shalini Kamal Sharma has beaten all the odds to emerge as one of the greatest entrepreneurs of the 21st century. 15 years ago, nobody would have looked at her and imagined the prominence she was about to gain. Born in a well-heeled family, few could have pictured her choosing to step out of her comfort zone to build an empire for herself. Despite her position and ability to ride off the glory of their parents, she chose a less trodden route to establish herself in the business world that has won her the respect and admiration of her critics.

Shalini has fought an epic battle to get down into the books of history as a self-made entrepreneur whose presence and contribution are being felt far and wide in the world. She has a rare reputation of building multi-million dollar organizations without the need for external help or loans. She confesses that she had not anticipated the kind of merit she was now getting, although failure is never an

option for her. Throughout school and university, she won several awards from academic scholarships to beauty pageants to advance her career. She studied Law before post-graduating in International Relations.

Listening to her, you will know that Shalini is a creative entrepreneur. She speaks with a zeal and conviction that matches no other. Perhaps, this is what has helped her to stand strong even when conditions were not favourable. She approaches every challenge with audacity because she believes that fear impedes success. To her, change is the only constant in the equation of success. “It doesn’t matter where you come from or what you have, be passionate about your work, tenacious in your approach and resilient in your thinking and success will align itself with you.”

Like many other entrepreneurs, she doesn’t shy from her achievements. Who can steer a company to 3 global businesses in less than 10 years and not be proud of it? Amid the challenges, her companies have expanded globally with operations in 21 locations. In her own words, she is a staunch believer that negative thoughts do not lead to positive results and surrounds herself with cultured, creative and competent team. Her organization is renowned for a huge product range ( spanning a full range of hospitality solutions, furnishings, to organic health, beauty and lifestyle products) and is seeking to increase both production and expansion as a continuing part of creative entrepreneurship.

One can immediately single out ways in which the corporate culture of Shalini’s organizations are a reflection of her own personal values. For example, every stage between the sourcing of materials to the finished product at FORMULA ONE FURNICHE Pte Ltd are constantly refined in order to continually enhance quality, innovation and goodwill. In terms of quality, Shalini believes that there is no quick fix when it comes to providing the best standard of products, services and solutions to clients. The mindset is ‘your success is our success’, a mantra she has taken for word, providing upto 10 year warranty on most FF&E and Hospitality products, services and solutions. When she introduced her line of designer shoes under the brand Diva which is also manufactured for private label, she enhanced her designer shoes by combining sophistication with unparalleled comfort for the best wearing

experience, again a first in the foot wear industry which focuses on form over function.

Innovation at FORMULA ONE FURNICHE Pte Ltd can be seen from two aspects in particular, an environmentally responsible perspective e.g. the incorporation of non-azo dyes and a product improvement perspective such as ‘easy-clean’ soft furnishings to help clients save costs on replacement and maintenance thus lowering the environmental impact as well. When it comes to gratitude and giving back to the community that brought her success, Shalini’s efforts know no ends. She strictly implements ‘Go-Green Initiatives’ and recycling programmes within her organizations, whereas externally she is constantly on the lookout for opportunities to make a difference. Apart from working along with small businesses, personally involving herself in organizations such as The Rotary International, Singapore After Care Associations, Handicaps Welfare Association, Singapore Children’s Society, Ministry of Social and Family Development among others, being a Voluntary Probation Officer, she is deeply interested in encouraging the youth to follow their dreams. She proved all this and more when she offered one-on-one free consultations, company sponsored designer materials and media coverage to budding fashion designers all over South East Asia in a one of a kind fashion show.

In the next few years, Shalini has set a target for continued global expansion.

SUCCESS IS NOT FINAL. FOR CONTINUED SUCCESS, A SUCCESSFUL COMPANY MUST INNOVATE EVERYDAY.

For up and aspiring entrepreneurs, Shalini has this advice, “ The journey of success is riddled with valleys and pitfalls. One time you feel that you won’t make it while the truth is that you are about to accomplish something big. Every solution had a problem. Quitting is never an option in the world of entrepreneurship.”

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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