It all started with a simple movement three years ago that would change the way we think about fashion sustainability and consumption today. Thanks to the #WomenOfStyleTheory community, we have now sowed the seeds for a new fashion movement in Singapore and Indonesia with thousands of women sharing an Infinite Wardrobe and the experience of unlimited fashion freedom.
The Women Who series highlights the inspiring subscribers in our community with a story to tell. To kickstart the series, we met with an amazing woman who is championing new ideas at her workplace and taking charge of their own journey.
Meet: Elspeth Ng
Hi Els, thank you for finding time in your busy schedule! We’re inspired by your career and if you could sum it in a nutshell, what’s keeping you busy?
I’m always been in the business of people and consumer behaviour–and that’s what I have been doing and calling it my career!
Currently, I’m the Regional Marketing Manager of WeWork Southeast Asia (SEA). I manage marketing for six countries – Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia.
WeWork has been in SEA for about 1.5 years now. We’ve grown from one building in December 2017 to over 15 buildings throughout the region. We’re also just over 12,000 members regionally, so that’s pretty exciting!
What’s coming up for WeWork in 2019?
In the upcoming months, we are looking forward to more building openings; our target is to open another 15 to 18 buildings in the region this year and we’re looking forward to doubling our building count. You can never expect a regular work week at WeWork, and that’s what I love about my job. We’re always peppered with activations and engagements with the local community prior to openings, as well as community building events between the six countries.
What was your career like before WeWork?
Fresh out of uni then, I’ve had the opportunity to kickstart my career with opportunities doing marketing for nightlife. Nightclubs were opening, the hospitality industry was growing in Singapore, and it was then that I found a personal draw to consumer behaviour in terms of hospitality. It was a great role to be at Resort World Sentosa doing general marketing and also at Marina Bay Sands doing online reputation while tapping on my experience in corporate finance to approach marketing with an additional perspective. It came into play nicely at work when it came to budgeting and looking at forecasts.
Women Who Hustle: You’ve been nominated as a go-getter within our community. What’s your take on ‘hustling’ and how much of ‘hustling’ is part of your life?
Women who hustle… It’s funny because one of the company mantras for WeWork is “Hustle Harder”, so it fits right in. I’ve always been in roles where I’m rushing to meet deadlines, and being part of opening teams. My team and I are always hustling to market buildings before they open. It sounds fun to go overseas and meet new people at events, but it definitely takes a toll on everybody. I’m just glad to have a team that is supercharged.
Outside of work, my girlfriends and I attempted to start–very funnily–a clothing rental business. We tried it for a while as a passion project, because we were all tired of buying new dresses to buy for weddings. But between the four of us, we realised that to juggle family, kids and business all at once, it was tough, so we decided to just exit on a high note. We’re still out there hustling and making an impact in our community, so I’m thankful for them and the experience on top of my WeWork roles.
What keeps you going at work?
It’s a question of who keeps me going actually!
I would say that my marketing director who recruited me is a great motivator for me at work. He’s always pushing me out of my comfort zone. As much as I appreciate it, it’s not always easy. But the constant push that’s always followed up by encouraging statements and actions show why he does it–and it comes from a really good place.
Pushing me to grow professionally also helps me in my personal life. I learn how to carry myself better and I learn new things. Learning new things keeps me fresh and keeps the job exciting. I’m happy to know I have a mentor who’s willing to spend time outside of his own workload to groom somebody like me.
Aside from that, the community at WeWork–and outside of it is key to me. As they say, it takes a village to raise a child. I take WeWork as everybody’s baby and it really does take a village to raise this baby. Community is the frontline for almost everything that happens at WeWork. They are the people who greet every member as they enter the building, they ensure there’s coffee in the coffee machines, that cleaning services are executed and that every office has air conditioning. I see community as the heart of the company – it’s the most important job at WeWork.
Where do you find motivation in your personal life to keep hustling?
Easy; the group of women I’ve come to call my best friends. Some of them are mothers who are entrepreneurs, some are really driven, career women. I realised that I’ve surrounded myself with strong women who are focused on their family life, as well as their careers and I look to them when I’m lacking in motivation and energy. Seeing the way they hustle gives me a lot of encouragement.
They are women I look up to professionally and personally. As friends, we don’t need a reason to reach out to each other. We just say, “Hey, hope you’re having a good day. You’re great and we love you.” It’s like having a positive support group of women. They understand the challenges I face and give me feedback from a different perspective so I can see things from a bigger picture.
What is it like to be a modern female today?
I think it’s gotten easier. People are more sensitive to gender equality, and WeWork is the one place I’ve been able to explore this further. Last year I organised an event called Together 50/50 to fight for equality between both men and women, not just women rights. Seeing how the younger generation is empowered as females and have grown up with that empowerment is very pleasing to me.
You don’t have to act like a boss, but it’s important to have the mentality that your say as a woman, matters.
Do you think there are still some occasions at the workplace where you have to prove yourself more, simply because you’re a woman?
Well, that happens from time to time. People assume you’re having an off day because you’re too emotional. Then that misconception could also extend to professional delegation and promotion where “women can’t handle professional powers because they are too emotional.”
I beg to differ though; Our compassion and the extent of feeling our emotions is a strength–that makes us a better boss. We respond better to the team we’re managing because we can be sensitive to people’s emotions. There is definitely more room to give women opportunities to step up and be leaders in the workplace
You’ve been a #WomenOfStyleTheory since 2016. What has your journey been like?
Before Style Theory, I’ve had a bad habit of buying new clothes for the sake of it. It was simply not cost-effective or sustainable. So I subscribed to Style Theory since 2016, after being recommended by a friend. I ended up really liking the service and convenience, and especially saving a lot of money without compromising on my lifestyle of dressing up!
What are your top 3 hits about Style Theory?
- Variety of styles and brands; my favourite styles to rent are Australian brands like CMEO and Keepsake
- Expanded collections for different lifestyles; I get to rent for both formal and informal occasions, and also for the weekends!
- An upgrade of convenience; the additional WeWork drop off and pick up points definitely made the return and collection process much easier. That also means I get more out of my subscription!
What do you want to see more of from Style Theory?
More sustainability efforts to reduce packaging waste per box. I personally prefer to opt for less to no-paper use per box, which is an option for those who pick up from WeWork locations.
I’m also interested to rent formal luxury gowns from Style Theory! It’s easier to have one service you already trust and keep going back for more.
Which styles do you usually rent from Style Theory?
It’s great that my work doesn’t require a corporate dress code, so I have the luxury of trying the whole Style Theory’s Infinite Wardrobe. I also enjoy renting outfits for travel. No laundry to be done after the trip, so what’s not to love?
My personal style is a reflection of my personality and something that was innate. I like renting from brands that fit and flatter me well, as well as styles that can easily be mixed and coordinated. Bright colours and styles that are wild on print are not my picks, but I do wear simple patterns like lace or stripes, and I live in solid colours!
From time to time, I like renting new styles I see others pull off. It’s rather inspiring to see how the styles look like in real life when half the Wework office is subscribed to Style Theory 🙂
What are some things you want to do more of?
Personally, I want to avoid reacting negatively to situations I’m uncomfortable in. It’s more about being self-aware to come to alternative responses and solutions before reacting. I’ve been working at it, and though it goes against my own nature, has been an interesting experience. I’m also on a self-improvement project that is currently in the works, so that’s keeping me busy too.
This year, I want to cook more! I want to find time in the kitchen to carry on the family tradition by picking up recipes passed down from generations in my mom’s family.
I am also going to make it more of a point to care for my mental health. I want to find more time for myself by planning vacations for a mental break from everyday stress and anxiety to perform at work. I do think it’s still a taboo in Singapore to seek professional help to deal with stress from work and everyday life.
Do you have any advice for those who are looking for change at work?
If you’re looking for a new job, don’t pick a job simply because of the pay-check or the company’s reputation.
Whether you’re transitioning at work or wanting to find new purpose at your current role, it helps to approach it with a positive mindset and passion.
Be passionate, be tenacious, be ready to collaborate. Be ready to come in and be part of a team.
Rent Elspeth’s picks from the Infinite Wardrobe:
Know more amazing women like Elspeth with stories to share? Drop us an email and share your nomination!