By Kaye Lirio
I founded my online brand, Oh How Kind, around the time the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020. My store sells earrings and accessories, and every single collection holds a meaning deeper than its outer beauty and aims to give inspiration to spread kindness, happiness and love.
This is especially important in this current climate, and I hope my brand helps others maintain a positive outlook.
Starting a business to make a difference
In late 2019, I was a designer working in the health industry. It was surreal to receive the Employee of the Month award in my day job after working in health for almost 10 years at that time.
In that moment, I felt as though I could really make a difference in our community. That was pivotal for me in believing that I could be a business owner and pursue my vision of starting a business that has a social impact in our community, particularly on wellness and self-care.
As far as the type of business or product I was going to sell, that came along by accident. I was looking for a perfect pair of earrings. After searching for days, I didn’t find what I was looking for. What I did find was that the earring industry has such a great market with so many possibilities. I told myself, I will make my own earrings and turn it into a business! I had no idea how to do it but my passion for making a difference is so strong. I worked day after day to learn more about the industry through self-teaching and a lot of trial and error, but it was truly worth it.
Juggling a new small business with a day job
My biggest challenge as a business owner is the lack of time. On weekdays I still work my day job, so I squeeze in some work on my business before I start at 7:30am and after I finish at 4:00pm. When I started, I worked on my business at every chance I got, and always wished I had more time. Now I make do with the time that I do have, and I am very appreciative of every day that I get to pursue Oh How Kind and see it grow, particularly on Instagram.
As much as I advocate for self-care, I often have to remind myself to practice it, particularly during the busier months approaching Mother’s Day and Christmas, as I come up with new designs for new collections. In the beginning, I was releasing a new collection monthly, but as I got to the six month mark, I decided to make them every two months to ensure that I had time to rest from doing both my day job and the business.
Creating as a happy place
Luckily for me, when I am creating earrings, I feel very relaxed. When I am not performing other business roles like administration, logistics, marketing, sales, customer service, I always go back to creating because that is my happy place. I also really enjoy taking photos and videos of my products. I always feel more relaxed and inspired after doing a photoshoot.
To look after myself, I make sure to get plenty of sleep on the weekends to help refresh and build myself up for the week ahead. During the week I also try to go for walks with my partner some afternoons to get out of my work environment and get some fresh air and exercise.
From time to time, I open up the karaoke app called Smule, where I get to sing my heart out. Singing and dancing are two of my favourite hobbies that really help me de-stress. In more recent days, I have also been going to the chiropractor and regular check-ups with my GP to ensure that I am taking care of myself and my overall wellbeing.
Maintaining wellbeing through stressful times
It’s important to always try to have a positive outlook. Regardless of how tricky the situation may be or how big the challenge, I reframe my mind so it looks forward to better days and not worry about the probability of a bad one.
I also embrace challenges with open arms instead of fearing them. I always have this notion that whatever challenges come our way, they will only make us better versions of ourselves. I strongly believe in that and I am thrilled whenever I face another challenge because it is an opportunity for me to grow and better appreciate life and those I have in my life.
Another tip is to always practice self-care whenever possible to overcome the challenges and to seek support when you need it. Talk to your family and friends and be open with the struggles you are facing, join a like-minded social group who are also going through the same challenges as you. Dealing with it alone will only make it harder. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and look after yourself because as my parents always tell me, “health is wealth”.