DRIVE: Madam Cheah Bee Chew, organic haircare innovator
About Madam Cheah Bee Chew:
Madam Cheah is the founder of Bee Choo Origin, a homegrown hairdressing chain and haircare product maker. Born in Perak, she came to Singapore at the age of 19 with the aim of being a hairdresser. Today, she has created an organic haircare business that has grown by leaps and bounds - with multiple outlets, a production factory and distribution partners in countries such as Thailand and China.
I had always wanted to do something with hair and even though I started this business later in life, I do feel that there is a time and place for everything.
When I became a wife and mother, I devoted my attention to that. However, my interest in hair never faded and when I had more time for myself, I took the chance to educate myself on hairdressing. That eventually evolved to helping my customers with their hair loss problems with natural herbs which is the business you see now.
On Work Life:
I’m lucky to have a “cup half full rather than empty” mentality towards life. I strive to do my best daily and believe that the rest will fall into place. My motto is to treat people sincerely, take my tasks seriously and to surround myself with people that have skills to complement mine. In addition, I’m encouraged to keep up with my learning in all aspects of my business simply by virtue of how fast society advances. That keeps me engaged in my learning.
On Life's Purpose:
I do believe that we are all placed on earth for a purpose and I think of it simply as doing the best you can at each phase in your life. When I was a young wife and mother, my responsibility was to ensure they were well cared for and taught well.
As an entrepreneur, my motivation is fuelled by the many customers we have helped as that gives me great satisfaction and purpose. It certainly takes a village to run the business, and ensuring the people in the village have fulfilling and satisfying careers at Bee Choo Origin also drives me to do better and succeed.
On Managing Energy:
As a business owner, I find that I’m not a fan of long sit-down meetings and find it beneficial to engage people on an individual basis to get my thoughts and ideas across.
My disposition to life is generally optimistic and I’m nurturing by nature. Hence, I do not allow myself to feel upset and stressed for too long as I know that it doesn’t just affect me, but the people around me.
When I encounter an obstacle that makes me feel less than 100%, I let myself feel it and think of solutions. If it’s a really challenging one, I’ll put the issue aside for a while to gain clarity over time. That usually does the trick.
I view challenges as a way to grow beyond myself.
Cooking is one activity that fuels me and gives me energy.
The simple chore of going to the wet market, to prepare for a nice meal for people I care about energies me. It makes me happy when my cooking brings them joy and comfort.
On Your Personal Style:
I like a good mini skirt.
Don’t get me wrong. I like them as they suit my petite frame.
Another style tip that works double-duty for me is my preference for more fitted clothes as they keep me in tune with my body, whereas looser fitting clothes don’t.
Body Armour Item:
A well-fitted blazer, just like the Blake from SOTP.
Wearing it makes me feel strong, professional yet lady-like.
What kind of clothes shopper are you?
I’m inclined towards classic styles which I know suit me with a touch of willingness to experiment.
A piece of fashion advice for your 22-year-old self...
I would have told myself to be less self-conscious about what people say or think.
Just wear what you like and makes you happy.
I adopt that attitude now and it brings me joy. It’s my body and my choice.
Favourite Quote of All Time