Based in Singapore, Savina Chai is an entrepreneur, fashion stylist, art and creative director, with an eye for fashion and photography. Combining her love for fashion, film, photography and music, these are incorporated into her fashion label, Eight Slate; an independent women's clothing brand of contemporary modern aesthetic. In this Q&A we talk to Savina about her motivations, challenges that she's faced, and find out what the life of a successful female entrepreneur in Singapore is actually like.
We know you from Instagram as the Creative Director & Founder of Eight Slate; what was the catalyst for starting your own business?
I started the label 3 years ago when the local fashion retail market in Singapore was quiet, boring and slow. I decided to open a business to be a fill up a gap in the local fashion e-commerce industry.
You were very young when your journey as an entrepreneur began; if you could wind back the clock and give yourself one piece of advice, what would that be?
I'd like to tell myself to start the business with more initial capital.
As a female entrepreneur what are the biggest challenges that you have faced?
I think one of the biggest challenges was not the gender but the age. I was managing people at 20, who were way older than me, sometimes it was difficult because they knew things I didn't know.
In another interview you’re quoted as saying, "I wanted to create something for myself rather than work for others as I believe in what I can do. I also wanted to be a game-changer in the local retail industry as I thought it was really stagnant,” - what is the singular piece of advice that you have for women who may suffer from self-doubt, or have self-esteem issues?
Dreams don't work just because you dream, they come true only with hard work. You don't want to have regrets hung over your shoulder for the rest of your life because of the fear of what everyone thinks. You are your worst critique so why don't you change that into being your best cheerleader?
We tell young girls that they can do anything that they want to do, and you’re the perfect example of a girl who has become a successful entrepreneur as a woman; how have the pressures associated with being a successful entrepreneur affected you?
I think it is easier to let people down than to let yourself down because you have to live with that forever. One of the pressures is that people expect you to be perfect, never to make mistakes and that they have extremely high expectations of you because of what you've done. However, we are only humans.
How do you maintain balance in your life with so many demands on your time?
I wake up really early 7 days a week and I work through every minute to ensure I am fully productive.
For a woman who works until 2am you always look incredible - fresh faced, with impeccable sartorial choices; what’s the formula for consistently looking polished?
I use a lot of skincare especially SKII's Facial Treatment Essence which i swear by and I exercise daily (-:
We know that you love to crank up the volume, and use music as a creative inspiration – what’s on the playlist right now?
Kendrick Lamar, Majik, Movement, Sam Rui, I love chill beats and alternative R&B
What does taking time out to relax and unwind look like for you?
I go to spin class or hot yoga, grab dinner and some wine with my friends and shopping!!
We’re visiting Singapore for the weekend – what should we bring, what should we see, where should we eat, and where should we shop?
You should definitely check out Gardens by The Bay, Artscience Museum, Have a drink at 28 Hong Kong Street. Eat like a local at Newton Circus or Maxwell Market. Shop at TANGS for Singaporean local designers. Definitely bring lots of sunblock and beautiful Summer dresses because Singapore's humid and we have an eternal Summer!
For your daily dose of style inspiration follow Savina on Instagram