Boutique Owner Success Stories – How she made it so young….

by everlin on October 3, 2010

Boutique Owner – Naomi Lim, 28

With an entrepreneurial streak and a keen eye for fashion, the quirky Malaysian had big dreams but no business knowledge!  That didn’t stop her from opening Tea and Sympathy in Bangsar (location name) three years ago.  Business has been good, but after much thought, she has decided to close shop next year.

From the start

“I juggled three jobs while studying at university – intensively selling on eBay (mostly collectible Barbies), working part-time at a surf shop, and being a salesgirl.  I enjoy selling things and it naturally snowballed from there!”

“I pursued a degree in Mass Communication but dropped out in my third year.  On the brighter side, it was journalism that led me into fashion styling; earning a portfolio from KL and Singapore that led to my acceptance at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York for one summer.”

A day in the life of a boutique owner ….

“I start off the day by cleaning the shop myself.  Bootstrapping is important, so we can properly utilize the company’s money for more important agendas.  Then it’s doing the inventory count, booking our flights or managing the upcoming month’s schedule.  I also spend a lot of time viewing fabric samples via email from my suppliers.”


“I love leaving on a (jet) plane and going on buying trips!  It is a lot of fun running amok, buying tons of clothes!”

Plans for the future

After three years of Tea and Sympathy, Bangsar no longer generates the same crowd it used to before, so it is no longer productive to continue.  Back to the workforce I go, although once an entrepreneur, always an entrepreneur, so who knows what the future holds?”

Words of Wisdom

“It is not enough to claim your love for fashion and shopping to want to open a store.  What really helps is having lots of energy.  It is physically demanding because it’s so labor-intensive that you can’t afford to be ill or absent!”


“I never imagined stress could come this high up to your ears!  You will worry when sales take a huge dip and you’ve got to pay for a lot of things too.  A good night’s sleep is very rare.”

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