This International Women’s Day, we celebrate the amazing female entrepreneurs who have made the word “PARTNERSHIP” really meaningful. One such woman is founder of Rose of Sharon (ROS), Yannie Yong. We realised after our coffee chat, beneath the smiley, strong, charismatic lady - laid gruelling emotions from hardship, loss & rebirth. So here it is, the first of many interviews featuring our merchants on our blog!

Hey Yannie, could you share with us how you started Rose of Sharon?
Starting off as a wholesaler, we entered the retail scene during the financial crisis in 1997. Being the newbies & opportunists then, we were left in a dire situation of being stranded with $200,000 worth of goods! Gosh, you can never imagine the panic we went into!

After the crisis, it’s evident that ROS ended up doing extremely well under the leadership of Yannie. How did she pull through?

What happened to the $200,000 worth of goods?
Thank God for “Physical Shopping”, we managed to clear the remaining stock within 2 years before e-commerce crept ever so silently into the Eco-system! PHEW!

While running her business, Yannie managed to raise & groom 4 beautiful daughters single-handedly after she lost her beloved husband in a road wreck years after her 1st crisis. The way she saw it, one has to build 4 pillars in their course of life at the same time - namely family, work, community and personal growth. Devastated YET Unwavered, she just went ahead to make it all happen slowly & surely. If you ask us - work life balance is really a form of lips patronage, extremely difficult to achieve in the current world - especially so for Yannie with the need to take on Dad & Mum roles. BUT, she was not taking fate lying down.

Having inspired others with her life story, Yannie was invited as an distinguished panelist to share her story & business insights along with our very own Co-Founder Mr. Joval Gan for a collaboration between Singapore Press Holdings & The Federation of Merchants’ Association.

Now Yannie, is there anything that brings you a sense of fulfillment?
One would be instilling the attitude of taking ownership in my staff. Simple problems like defects on clothings are easily solved by my staff, without me stepping in.

As the role model in our families, we need to be responsible as the younger generation is watching and learning from us! And I believe I have inculcated this role of leadership in my staff.

What sets ROS apart from others?
Beyond the usual exceptional service, it’s being able to connect with our customers. Other than IQ and EQ, what we have is CQ (connectivity quotient) - Making our customers comfortable and understanding their pain points.

The greater your connectivity quotient, the more easily you connect meaningfully with others.

When you connect with someone, it’s “How can I help you?” and actionable/it doesn’t end there. This is one level above empathizing which is “I hear your concerns”. We can understand pain points as a woman juggling multiple roles, we offer solutions beyond clothes, but touching their lives. To us, each article of clothing brings a blessing, which is passed on. It may be in the form of encouragement, concern or advice.

At Rose of Sharon, they recognise that beyond clothings, women are appreciated for their inner spirit. They honour them as women with love, courage and beauty. And believe that each piece worn brings hope to a better tomorrow despite the challenges they face.

On advice for aspiring entrepreneurs out there...
/chuckles/ You’re here to create new rules and ideas. There are highs and lows on this journey. Having a strong belief of what you want to achieve and the support of your family helps.

Think properly on why you want to become a female entrepreneur. You might want to consider how much more impact you will be able to create in lives of others being an entrepreneur.

For me, I just want to be better each day about how I can be a blessing to another person or bless another person through clothes. Lastly, I’ll say it’s definitely possible to run a business, have a family and touch the lives of women everywhere.

Editor’s Thoughts:
The real test comes when the tyre really meets the roads, Yannie managed it with grit & determination - making her our distinguished “Queen of Grit”!💃🏻✨

Rose of Sharon, was established in 1997 and believes in providing timeless fashion to clothe women in their marketplace. Through their lives, as daughters, sisters, friends and moms, they are carriers of blessings of love and favour to the lives of many.