Lee Joyce has always had a keen interest in business, which certainly came in handy when she decided to switch career paths a few years ago.
Lee is the executive director of Shills Beauty Sdn Bhd, the local distributor of Taiwanese beauty brand Shills.
The 29-year-old Penangite currently looks after Shills’ wholesale division, which requires her to draw up marketing plans to promote its products and meet with retail merchandisers to increase Shills’ local distribution channels.
But Lee first encountered Shills when she was still studying. She had started an online business to sell Shills’ skincare and beauty products to earn some side income.
After graduation, Lee did a two-year stint as a pharmacist at Kluang Hospital in Johor, during which she continued her online business.
She noted that business was growing steadily and the brand had a regular customer base here.
As business grew, having to juggle her day job and her side job became a struggle. So in 2010, Lee decided to go into business full-time.
“It was tough doing two things at once. It was a hard choice to make as I actually enjoyed doing both.
“But here was a chance to do something on my own and I didn’t want to miss it.
“Then again, this is a business that I like so I don’t regret my choice,” she said.
Additionally, Lee has always been interested in botanical ingredients, herbs and organic chemistry and Shills enabled her to explore her interests on a wider scale.
At the behest of her father, Lee approached Shills to obtain the distribution rights in Malaysia and apply for whatever approvals she needed to start her full-fledged business here. She had to pick up new skills in marketing, retail and management, and the challenges were plenty.
But there is no turning back for Lee as she feels that there is a lot more to be accomplished in her new role before she can sit back and feel proud of her achievements.
“Running a business is different. The market is quite competitive and you have to be outstanding in your marketing approach and products. It takes a lot of courage and determination.
“And it is important to be determined because we need to solve the problems that come our way rather than worry about the problems and challenges,” she said.
Lee is currently in the midst of completing her MBA and is working hard at increasing her distribution network.
Although she is driven to meet her goals, Lee acknowledges that there are days where she may feel like she is dragging herself to the finish line.
“Some mornings, I have to motivate myself to accomplish certain tasks for the day. But if you do something you like, you won’t feel like giving up so easily.
“I always think of my future and then I become more motivated to do what I need to do,” she said.
She also gets a lot of encouragement and support from her family.
Lee goes out and smells the roses every once in a while to deal with the stress of managing a business.
She enjoys outdoor activities and regularly goes hiking, swimming and diving.
“I also like travelling, especially to places that have rich histories and great nature places such as New Zealand. It’s a lot more relaxing than going to hectic, modern cities,” she said.