So what inspires you? We zoom in on 4 inspiring individuals, CJ Gan of Baconroll Hand, 8TV Quickie host Adam Zain and couple Lynda and Sukeats of Pink Tattoos and Wheelove Skateshop – individuals who have forged their own path to make their mark in their chosen fields. Hopefully their stories will inspire you to forge your own.
In this final instalment, meet Sukeats and Lynda, both husband and wife with very unconventional professions. One a tattoo artist and the other an owner of a skate shop.
One, a tattoo artist and the other, owning a skate shop – both unconventional professions. Did you initially face any obstacles/criticism from family when you wanted to start Wheel Love and Pink Tattoos?
Sukeats They were a little alarmed. But they knew it was something I’ve always wanted to do and supported me fully.
Lynda They were worried of course with the drastic move from a comfortable job to tattooing. Also, the stigma that comes with the tattoo industry. My father said to me,” I don’t agree with everything you do but I will support you.” That’s all I needed to forge ahead. I had unconditional support from my family from that point on.
Lynda, how did you get into tattooing as a profession?
L I’ve always loved tattoos. So, once I had the opportunity to learn tattooing, I quit my advertising job and managed a tattoo shop while apprenticing.
Sukeats, you were in Advertising prior to opening Wheel Love. What inspired you to do that?
S I’ve been skating for more than half my life, since I was 13. I guess I’ve always wanted to do something with skating in my life. Even whilst working in my 9-5 I did a lot skate related projects on the side via Wheel Love (organizing competitions, producing merchandise, running a skate website, etc.). The decision to switch came when I was 29. My partner Yeng and I realised that if we wanted to take Wheel Love to the next level and open up our skateshop, it was then or never. We knew that as we got older, it’d be a lot harder to quit a stable job and take on the risks of starting something new.
What has been the biggest challenge so far?
S Funding. Getting and managing the funds and inventory is by far the most difficult. Through the years, we learnt the hard way, what can sell, what can’t.
L Starting up the business on my own and making it stay afloat in the beginning was the scariest thing. So many unexpected things were thrown my way, I had nights where I jolted awake from sleep worrying about something or other.
What is the most rewarding aspect?
S Waking up every morning and being happy to go to work. And of course, access to the best skate gear I could possibly want. Working right downstairs from my wife’s shop is pretty convenient as well.
L Being happy and looking forward to do what you do for a living everyday. It is so much more fulfilling and I also get to work and travel at the same time doing what I do. Also, I have a space to work in that I could only have dreamed of that has grown organically with me adding bits and pieces that probably only I would notice. Looking at what it was 3 years ago and now, it’s a great feeling. Having my husband’s shop just downstairs is quite awesome too 🙂
What advice can you like to give to someone who want to chase their dream profession?
S Give it a shot. But do your homework and keep overheads lean. We’ve seen many businesses around us close within months of opening because of poor planning.
L Just do it. That being said, of course you’ve gotta have a semblance of a plan. Try to make money before you spend what you don’t have on unnecessary things. Keep things basic and do what works. If it takes off, then you have plenty of time to embellish. There really is no right or wrong time. The longer you wait or make excuses, it will never happen.
For more info on Gap’s Be Bright campaign, log on to www.facebook.com/gapmalaysia.