Johnson believes, with “the right cleaning and disinfecting standards and technology, we can help Singapore to be productive!” His business, Dream Sparkle is cleaning and disinfecting homes to help prevent the spread of bacteria and other diseases across Singapore.
What’s your story?
From 2000-2007, I was a regular in the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) as a full-fledged operational paramedic. Seeing life and death, day in and out, it made me wonder: “What has life got to offer? Am I able to do more if I have more resources and capabilities?” I began to think of wanting to do more of what I was doing as a paramedic.
In 2008, I left SCDF and joined a SME doing exhibition sales in the beauty industry. In the same year, I invited local SMEs to exhibit their products and services in South East Asia before I got the opportunity to start my first business selling massage cream to Singapore spa and salon owners. Things were rosy at the beginning. I thought everything I touched, everyone I met, would turn to gold. However, I tasted my first failure when I ventured into Indonesia.
In 2012, I was fortunate to have my previous boss from SCDF employ me back as a paramedic in Unistrong Technology (S) Pte Ltd. Doctor Tan said to me, “Johnson, nothing is lost when you are still alive. Come back as a paramedic and continue doing what you are good at and at the same time, look at what you want in life.”
In 2014, I started to understand, life isn’t just about money, fame and power, it’s what one wants to do with it when he or she has it and what he or she wants to leave behind before he or she touches the earth. I want to set up a Moral Education Centre for our next generation and an Elderly Hospital to remember our pioneering generation.
There is a gap in the Singapore cleaning industry, there has also been an increase in hand, foot, mouth disease cases in Singapore. So, on 29 September 2014, Dream Sparkle Pte Ltd was founded. We clean and disinfect households using Singapore ambulance cleaning standards and non-harmful to health cleaning solutions.
What excites you most about your industry?
Without a clean and safe environment, people tend to get sick easily. Parents have to take childcare leave or MC to take care of their young ones and/or elderly parents. What if, Dream Sparkle can take care of all households’ cleaning and hygiene issues and adults can just have peace of mind and being able to concentrate on their jobs? Singapore is rapidly turning into an aging nation, we can’t afford to have an unclean environment where everyone gets sick easily due to an outbreak of bacteria or flu. Hence, I believe, with the right cleaning and disinfecting standards and technology, we can help Singapore to be productive!
What’s your connection to Asia?
In 2015, I joined Business Network International BNI Singapore. I began to meet like minded people in business and expanded my network into China and Malaysia. Last year, we participated in events in Malaysia, at the Malaysian Association of Hoteliers Networking event and collaborated with hotelier partners such as the Amari Hotels. This year, I visited Guang Zhou BNI chapters and we were in discussions to set up Dream Sparkle in the Guangzhou or Chong Ching regions.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Other than Singapore (my home), Guang Zhou is another city I like. As at 2016, Guang Zhou has a population of 14.04 million. It’s a large city where you can find people from all walks of life.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Doctor Tan:” You are still alive!”
Who inspires you?
Singapore founder, Lee Kuan Yew. He was the one who wanted Singapore River to be cleaned up and trees to be plant all over our garden city. He rolled up his sleeves and went down to sweep the corridors with the cleaners.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I used to think, China was a bit backward in terms of their financial services, until recently when I visited Guangzhou. All their retail stores, big or small (even side stalls selling food) and taxis, all use E-payment gateway.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Found Dream Sparkle earlier! I believe, we should move on with life.
How do you unwind?
Sports such as basketball or badminton (currently learning golf), talking with like minded people over a glass of wine.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
China? It is rich in history.
Everyone in business should read this book:
“Becoming Steve Jobs” Steve Jobs’ business path and how he picked up and became a better person.
Shameless plug for your business:
1) Dream Sparkle, we make your Dream House Sparkle with joy!
2) Dream Sparkle, we make Children and Elderly Dreams Sparkle!
How can people connect with you?
Visit me at my BNI networking Chapter (Enterprise) at 275 Beach road 3th floor every Wednesday 9.30am-12.30pm.
Contact me at my Facebook page: Zhuo Johnson or email me at [email protected]
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’.