THE ESTABLISHED BUSINESSMAN AND THE START-UP FOUNDER
Low Cheong Yew and Cheryl Gan are both entrepreneurs with successful brands but harness different working styles to build their businesses
You might say an entrepreneurial spirit connects the Lows. Husband Low Cheong Yew is cofounder of home improvement chain Home-Fix DIY while wife Cheryl Gan is the founder of aromatherapy and spa products brand Hysses.
CY, as he is known by his inner circle, has been in this traditional trade for 23 years. Conversely, Cheryl adopts a start-up mindset towards Hysses, which she recently rebranded from Mt. Sapola. No wonder the couple, who have been married for 15 years, approach their businesses differently.
However, drawing on each other’s strengths has benefitted them both tremendously. CY’s years of experience have helped Cheryl avoid pitfalls that growing businesses often face. “He has always been the more organised and structured one—setting up procedures and structures can seem so redundant and timeconsuming in the beginning! But I’ve come to see the huge value this brings to my business which has been able to grow quickly as a result.”
Conversely, CYY takesk inspirationiii ffrom Cheryl’s hands-on approach. He says, “Cheryl has a strong willingness to jump in to solve a problem even if she has to roll up her sleeves and pick up something new from scratch. That sense of perseverance and determination inspires me, and it is something I have incorporated into my approach to work.”
Their differences also bring greater texture to their personal time. CY often accompanies Cheryl on work trips as he can afford time away from the office. He says, “I get to visit outof-the-norm places, such as rural villages and plantations, which are interesting experiences and even learning opportunities for me.”
As for Cheryl, she makes the effort to ensure CY gets to indulge in his interests when he travels with her. “I may not be a foodie, but CY loves eating so our trips always include lots of food-related activities. Ultimately, we try to strike a balance to ensure that we both get to do what we like.”