To be a successful woman in modern times is no easy feat. Despite living in a First-World country like Singapore, the values that we operate by are still partially entrenched in days of old. Evidence of these values are clear when you hear relatives or parents telling you that you can only be deemed successful if you held textbook-defined prestigious jobs – doctors, bankers, lawyers etc. Mentioning that you were a professional in any other field would result in awkward sounds of agreement and raised eyebrows.
In this installment of #PorcelainWomen, we spoke to a lady who placed her passion and health above the traditional path of success. Taking point from her extraordinary experiences as a Porcelain customer, she allowed her passion to guide her down an unconventional ride of setting up her own technologically-advance boutique fitness space specialising in the exceptional combination of indoor cycling and strength training. This is Sally’s story – The Unconventional Ride.
Q: Entrepreneurship is a traditionally male –dominated profession, what were some difficulties you experienced as a woman in your entrepreneurial journey – both personally and professionally.
With regards to entrepreneurship being traditionally male-dominated, I feel that that stigmatisation is slowly fading away as women today are well-placed to pursue entrepreneurship given the greater access to higher education. Personally, when it comes to experiencing gender specific difficulties, I have been blessed to have not encountered such challenges. Furthermore, the men around me have all been extremely supportive of my journey, which contributed to the lack of nasty experiences.
However, I know that not everyone has the privilege of not experiencing these difficulties, which is why I believe that remaining true to yourself and having confidence in who you are can aid in rising above these pre-conceived expectations others may have of women.
Q: In the past decade, the popularity of spin classes/spin studios have been on a rise and many brands have made a name for themselves in Singapore. What inspired you to create Axiom?
Prior to creating Axiom, I was a private banker. However, after several years of immense stress, I developed a thyroid problem. This set me off on my fitness journey. Of the many exercises I could take up to help manage my health and stress better, indoor cycling was what I went back to consistently. The experience of entering a dark room pulsating with music, leaving all my worries behind in the light and just focusing on the instructor’s movements was what I needed. Plus, being able to feed off the energy of other riders really gave me a mental and physical reset. Every spin class was my me-time.
However, I felt that traditional spin studios lacked the option for strength conditioning in addition to the beat-based spin classes. That motivated me to create Axiom: where the team could create the unique combination of strength-conditioning with beat-based, data-driven indoor cycling. The meaning of Axiom perfectly encapsulates what the team aims to achieve with every class – to be true to the promise of form and metrics for all who attend.
Q: We know that Axiom’s founding team is pre-dominantly female, what has the experience of working with them been like?
It’s wonderful! There is a lot of trust and support between us. While our deep passion for indoor cycling and fitness brought us together, it was our varied backgrounds, skills and personalities that enabled us to contribute towards Axiom differently.
Of course, much like any other team of people working together, we defined our roles and responsibilities right from the onset. This pushed us to work at our fullest potential and make sure that everyone was accountable to each other.
Q: This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is Each for Equal, what does this mean to each of you?
Know your rights and speak up with confidence. The worst thing you can do is to be an empty and loud vessel. That does nothing but build stereotypes and slow down the cause for equality.
Q: To end us off on a nice note, is there a woman that inspires you/you strive to be?
Credit: Alex Nemo Hanse
Michelle Obama. I don’t think there is a lack of articles that tell you how inspiring she truly is. So, if you’re in the mood to be inspired, google her or grab her book, learn about her struggles and how she succeeded despite them.
To all our #PorcelainWomen, thank you for being strong, authentic and unwavering in your support. We hope that through this series, you discover your uniqueness and hidden ability to pursue your passions fearlessly.