What I've Learned | Entrepreneur Charmaine Seah-Ong

35-year old Charmaine Seah-Ong is the co-founder of branding and marketing agency Elementary Co. The self-confessed theme park enthusiast and supporter of independent films shares moments from her life with her almost 20,000 Instagram followers via her account @eleventhour. She lives in Singapore with her husband and two daughters.

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Charmaine Seah-Ong

A series of lessons in life from women we love

 Charmaine wears the ELOISE Silk Jacket & FANG Silk Shorts in Black and her own socks and shoes

Charmaine wears the ELOISE Silk Jacket & FANG Silk Shorts in Black and her own socks and shoes

I wake up in my attic loft in the old, sprawling estate of Seletar Hills, usually sandwiched somewhere in between my husband and two daughters, Charlie Rose (3.5) and Dahlia Jaymes (7 months).

I'd just gotten out of a half-decade long marketing stint with Universal Studios in Singapore when the idea for my business came about. I was trying to decide on my next move and it just so happened that my brother was graduating from school and my husband was winding up work in his previous start-up. We'd always wanted to do something together as a family so it seemed like the right time to jump into it.

In hindsight, I wish I'd known that the saying "Too many cooks spoil the broth" holds so much truth to it! We started the business with 6 partners. Far too many really… and now only half of us remain.

Success is relative. My father is the most hardworking, loving and dedicated person I know. If I could just be a fraction of the incredible person he is, I'd consider my life made.

I work with both my husband [Derek Ong] and my best friend [Aarika Lee]. I know I can count on them both to be brutally honest with me. That's extremely important when choosing who to build a business with - people who have your best interests at heart and who can be honest enough with you to tell the truth when things aren't going right. We care about one another enough to be able to work through whatever issues may arise as soon as possible so nothing is left to fester. We also know that our friendship / relationship is worth more than anything and we don't let the pressures of work affect that.

 

There are three Singapore addresses I can’t live without - Straits Clan for their squid ink youtiao and sambal butter, Chin Mee Chin for their old school chocolate cupcakes and cream horns and Chey Sua Fried Carrot Cake at Toa Payoh Lor 1.
— Charmaine Seah-Ong
 Charmaine wears the Manon Silk Trousers in Dots with her own top and sneakers

Charmaine wears the Manon Silk Trousers in Dots with her own top and sneakers

Time is the greatest luxury in my life. I am a Google Calendar fanatic which keeps me on schedule. I am also able to function on very little sleep so that certainly helps! But really, it's my ever supportive family (both my parents and my in-laws) that make it possible for me to do so much. They're my not-so-little village who step in to care for my girls when I'm busy and I am so grateful for their support. Motherhood is truly a journey of self-discovery.

Even before social media came about, I maintained a blog which I used as a means of documenting my life and sharing things I found interesting. My Instagram account is no different really. It serves as a visual diary and as a means of sharing things that I've found to be helpful in my day to day life. That being said, I don't feel the need to document every single moment of my life and I'm perfectly at ease with being disconnected from my phone so that I can be present and live in the moment. I think social media will always exist in some shape or form but my hope for my daughters is that they know how to use it wisely and understand that social media does not equal real life!

The hardest working pieces in my wardrobe are the classics. Well tailored pants, white shirts with interesting details and simple but beautifully cut dresses that I've inherited from my mother.

Find Charmaine on Instagram or at Elementary Co.

 

 

 Charmaine wears the EMMA Silk Jacket and MANON Silk Trousers in Black. Shoes and accessories all Charmaine's own

Charmaine wears the EMMA Silk Jacket and MANON Silk Trousers in Black. Shoes and accessories all Charmaine's own

 Charmaine wears the EMMA Silk Jacket in Midnight Blue and her own trousers and shoes

Charmaine wears the EMMA Silk Jacket in Midnight Blue and her own trousers and shoes

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Shoot credits

Photography: Sabrina Sikora for First Wife Studios

 

 

Hair & Make-up: Andrea Claire | Styling: Florence Sorgini  

Shot on location at SO Sofitel Singapore 

 
Sophie Corlett