Bing Hui, Tailor, made his own outfit—save for the shoes—himself
How would you define success? Is it defined by the number of zeroes in your bank account, or the number of businesses you’ve started before you turn thirty? Can success truly measured by tangible factors such as your financial success? For Bing Hui, success doesn’t lie in chasing after financial goals—despite having transformed his online tailoring start-up into a full-fledged brick-and-mortar store, he thinks success should be beyond these fickle milestones. To him, the real success is finding satisfaction in his work and understanding what he wants from life.
Shentonista (S): What inspired you to start a tailoring business of your own?
Bing Hui (B): I wouldn’t say there’s any major inspiration, but the main reason why I’ve started Mills is because I’m incredibly vain. Just to give you some perspective: I wear sunblock every morning, I always wear my gloves because the sun does not age you well. When we started this company, we didn’t just want to sell clothing, but also sell an entire look. If you have an inspiration or an aspiration of how you want to look, we will fulfil it for you.
S: What are some important takeaways you’ve learnt from starting your own business?
B: This is my actually second business—I opened my first one when I was 21. It didn’t fail, my friends are still running it, but I just decided to leave to pursue my passion for fashion. At that point in time, I learnt quite a bit about what business means. At first, I always thought of business as a financial process. I based all my goals and achievement on the amount of money I could earn.
But I realised slowly that there’s no end to chasing that dream. If this month, you earn a certain level, you’ll naturally aim higher the next month, and an even higher amount the following month—it never really ends. So I realised that it wasn’t achievable, and that I shouldn’t base my happiness on the amount that I earn but the work that I do.
S: Tell us more about quarter-life crises you might have faced.
B: I think what quarter-life crisis means, in essence, is this: you have certain goals you’ve set for yourself in life, but you realise when you hit 25 that you haven’t gotten there yet. That puts you in a sudden realisation that you have yet to achieve your goals, and it makes you wonder why you haven’t reached there, which is what prompts the crisis. There are so many things you need to clear in a small timeframe, and it gets stressful.
I’m lucky enough to say that it wasn’t as bad for me, because I think by the time I turned 25, I reached a stage in my life where I was happy with what I have.
S: How would you personally describe quarter-life confidence?
B: You spend the last 25 years of your life figuring out the person you’d want to be, and making sense of your likes and dislikes. For me, quarter-life confidence depicts an ideology where you’re certain of who you are as a person and where you’d like to head. So it’s a feeling where you’re more motivated by your goals and less distracted by the things going on around you.
S: What’s something that has changed for you as you become an adult?
B: I used to do a lot of crazy things—I did a lot of dares. Sometimes my friends told me to just walk into a fountain, and I did it—but in my defence, the last time I did that was a year ago. It’s getting tougher to do such spontaneous things now, because my business is my priority, and yeah, adult life catches up with you.
S: What are some goals you’ve set for yourself that you’d like to achieve before turning 30?
B: I want to have kids by 30 (laughs). No, really, I’m quite serious about that. Career-wise, I’d like to gain more appreciation from my customers, and establish my business a little more. I hope the business grows, and that people gain more awareness about the things that we do and how meticulous we are.
S: What do you think has been your biggest accomplishment thus far?
B: My current business is really my biggest accomplishment—and it will always be. As the business grows, I know the level of accomplishment that I feel will change, but no matter what, I’ve put my heart and soul into every little thing, so that means a lot to me.
S: Would you say you’re successful because of your business?
B: I think the definition of success is greater than that. To me, it means being satisfied with your work and your life at the current moment. I know there’s more left to achieve and to pursue, but right now, I’m happy with what I have, and to me, that’s success. I don’t think success needs to be about finances all the time.
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