Elisa Lim wishes she had more courage.
“There are many times when I am conflicted. I want to be more bullish, but I feel like my work is not good enough,” she says. Lim, 28, is the founder of Will & Well, a four-year-old design studio that creates inclusive clothes for those with disabilities or special needs. The name originally came about “on the toilet”, Lim laughs.
Her good friend and classmate thought the moniker rolled off the tongue easily and suggested the name to Lim for their final year project. After graduation, she decided to make a business out of it.
It was tough at the beginning, but the name encouraged her to persevere.
“I’m Christian and I remember thinking about my relationship with God. ‘Elisa, if you have the will to do this, I will make it well for you.’ If my customers have the will to live a good life, then I will make it well for them, too,” Lim recalls.
While every customer was memorable, one in particular struck a chord with her. Amelia was a non-verbal bedridden teenager who slept for 20 hours a day. For her 14th birthday, she wanted a dress that lit up. While it was an unusual request, Lim was adamant that she would make it happen.
“She could not verbalise, so we communicated through blinking, body movements and sounds,” she recalls.
Creating the dress was a challenge because of Amelia’s condition. Lim had to be creative. Eventually, together with her team, they made Amelia’s dream a reality. Stories like these encourage Lim to persevere.
She admits that it can be tough, especially for a small business, but she credits her team for keeping Will & Well running at a high level. The start-up’s work in inclusivity is slowly being recognised. Lim shares that other businesses have consulted Will & Well and hopes to use this to catalyse not just growth, but conversations.
“I wish we can be more thoughtful and give to people who don’t have as much as we do. If we all care just a little bit more, the world would be so much better,” she says.