Many consider me a risk taker, but while I believe I’m more comfortable with risk than most, I’m not impulsive. I do not fear change; I accept it is inevitable. But I only make my move when I feel peace. It’s how I started Lab Studios in 2016. In my previous life, I was a private banker. The work was intense, and the hours were long, but I loved the challenge. However, I was often ill and constantly tired, and took a sabbatical in 2013 to reflect on my personal growth.
Four years before I left the field, I had also taken up yoga and loved the discipline. So in 2014, I became a full-time yoga teacher and taught up to 25 classes a week. I also shared my journey on Instagram. It was this online community that opened my eyes to a gap in the yoga market. Rising class fees and a lack of accessible classes and personalised teaching meant that those who wanted to start or sustain the practice had to dig deep into their wallets.
In 2016, my business partner Betty Kong and I started Yoga Lab, our first brand under Lab Studios. The vision: reasonably priced classes without compromising on quality or facilities. I’m proud to share that we broke even within the first month of operations, a testament to our vision.
Since I started on this journey, I’ve learnt two key lessons: first, it is crucial to build a great team with the right people, and second, to continue moving forward no matter how challenging things seem to be. The pandemic brought many changes into my life. I became pregnant and my business had to pivot quickly to stay afloat. We launched Lab On Demand, an online subscription-only programme, during the circuit-breaker period in 2020.
There have been many times in the past two years that I just wanted to give up. There seemed to be no end in sight as Covid-19 raged on and restrictions kept shifting. But as Winston Churchill said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” There will be light at the end of the tunnel one day.
I’m thankful to my husband for being there for me throughout this tumult. He calms me down, grounds me and is definitely the more stable of the two of us! He cleaned my studios for me when we were a new company and couldn’t afford a cleaner, and understands if I miss dinners or other appointments because of last-minute classes or work. From him, I’ve learnt how to receive love and to give love better, not just to him, but to everyone around me.
I’m looking forward to the future. Today, Lab Studios comprises Yoga Lab, Barre Lab, Lab On Demand and our latest concept, The Flow Pilates by Lab Studios, which we launched in Jan 2022. I am proud of what we have accomplished for the business. The pandemic has strengthened our team and brought a deeper sense of purpose for us.
Yoga has prepared me for life’s changes. When balancing in a pose, you will notice little tweaks your muscles do to hold you in position. These movements are necessary to find balance and if we try to force or stop them, we lose our balance. In life, there will be minor changes and unplanned hiccups. I don’t obsess over them and give myself the grace to allow these “movements” to happen. Life is structured, but not rigid.