How to go from blogshop model to #girlboss

Blogger BEATRICE TAN started out as a Love, Bonito model and now manages her own blogshop. But don’t call her a copycat, okay.

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WHO IS SHE? Beatrice Tan, 26. She started modelling part-time eight years ago after she won a modelling contest. After studying business and finance in university, she took on a banking job “dealing with equities settlements” before quitting to set up Klarra in 2012 with a friend, hawking “classic clothes with a modern twist”.

1. Don’t try to be like Love, Bonito
“People do make comparisons between Klarra and Love, Bonito. I was a regular model for Love, Bonito for five years and parted on good terms with them. Still, competition is inevitable. I set myself apart by working with freelance Singapore-based designers who come up with original designs that we manufacture in China. A factory there works exclusively with us.”

2. You have to learn on the job
“When I first approached Chinese factories to manufacture clothes for Klarra, they didn’t take me seriously ’cos of my [young] age. I lost money on manufactured clothes that were of inferior quality. After working with them a few times, they were finally convinced that my business is legit and gave me better quality products. They value first impressions there, so I make sure I have a proper proposal whenever I go to them. Although I studied business, what they never taught me in school is how to run one. I know it takes at least two years to break even.”

3. Make your after-work hours count
“I began blogging out of interest in 2005, and continued even after I got a full-time job in 2011. I’d work in the office from nine to six, then blog until 3am (laughs). I didn’t blog full-time initially ’cos nobody knew that it could become a career — it was just a casual way of keeping in touch with friends. Gradually, ads started rolling in and it became a viable business platform. So I thought I’d go into blogging full-time and set up a blogshop to see if I could sustain it as a career. I didn’t take much of a pay cut switching from banking to blogging. When I was hardworking and blogged more, I could earn even more than what I made at the bank.”

4. You don’t need to be the next Xiaxue
“Modelling for Love, Bonito taught me the creative side of the business, like how I should get my models to pose. It’s important that I know my strengths as a blogger. I don’t have Xiaxue’s unique wit, so I won’t try to be controversial.”

5. Be prepared to be anti-social
“The longest that I’ve not blogged or Instagrammed was two weeks ’cos I was in China and most social media platforms were blocked there. One thing I don’t like about social media is that there’s an obligation to post even when I don’t feel like it, especially when it comes to ads. It‘s not enjoyable when I post for the sake of earning money (laughs). When I’m actively blogging, I take my laptop everywhere with me, even to birthday dinners. It’ll be sitting beside me, and when food is served, I’ll have to snap photos before I can eat! I was online so often that it affected my personal relationships. I would attend house parties and sit in a corner to work. It wasn’t very respectful to the hosts. I’m currently single, but my ex-boyfriend and I used to have arguments [about my excessive blogging].”

For more info, go to www.klarra.com.

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