Updated: Jun 4, 2018
We spent an afternoon with Fadilah Majid, a merchant of Aladdin Street Singapore, exploring the different rooms and services Spa Jelita provides. Here are some highlights of the day.
Written by Junru Tan.
Tell Us More About Yourself?
I am Madam Fadilah, the managing director of Spa Jelita. Spa Jelita came about as a surprise to me. Established in 2007, I took over the business in 2014. My first reaction to the place was, “Wow!” I came to know about Spa Jelita when I went for my first treatment. After trying the various services, I found the ‘wow factor’ and signed up as a member. Two weeks later, I met the former owner of Spa Jelita and had a casual conversation. He told me he was interested in selling the business. In our next meeting, he asked whether I am interested to take over Spa Jelita. The news came as a shock. I took a month to decide because I have zero experience in the business trade.
The Spa Jelita team remains the same since day one. The place has always been like this and there were no changes except for the reception area. Most of our customers are Muslimah, hence, we accommodate their needs by having a prayer room. I realise the big potential of this industry as there are ladies who can afford and are looking for such beauty services.
Do you have advice for aspiring female entrepreneurs?
As a Vice President of Singapore Malay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SMCCI), I encourage women to consider entrepreneurship because it creates a balance between family and career. Having your own business allows you to control your own time and schedule.
Basically, a woman needs passion. If you want to own a business but don’t have the passion, you shouldn’t go for it. Without passion to start with, it’s going to be very difficult. Using myself as an example. I’ve learnt a lot from the people I interacted with during my time as a business editor at Berita Harian. Knowing the business trade in theory and enjoying different spa treatments are totally different from the real deal. I know of many spas in Singapore and have personally interviewed some shops that cater to Muslimah in the past. I hold the beauty industry close to my heart and the passion for it is there.
To all aspiring entrepreneur, check whether you have the passion, stamina and perseverance to run a business. There are a lot of challenges that come with it. Whoever said that managing one is easy is lying to you. After running Spa Jelita for a few years, I can tell you it’s not an easy journey. You must have the right ingredients, including the passion to work hard, capital for the rainy days and the expertise. While I am not a masseur or beautician, I understand what is a good massage or facial. Whenever I hire a new staff, I will be the masseur's first customer.
Having the right attitude is important, especially when you hit an obstacle, such as manpower-related issue. It’s not easy to find a good therapist. Getting the employees to stay and work with the team is also a challenge. Happy employees are important because their work attitude can affect the sales performance. Running a business is all about facing the challenges and overcoming them.
How do you juggle between work and family?
I am very lucky. Balancing between work and family is not a problem since a lot of factors have been stabilised when I took over Spa Jelita. Most of my children have completed their education and found good jobs while my husband has his own business to handle.
Who inspires you?
I’ve interviewed countless of business entrepreneurs and they are an inspiration to me. I understand the risk of failure is present. Although I'm not equipped with the right knowledge a spa owner should have, I took up the opportunity. One thing I learnt is that failure happens only when you don’t try. It’s ok to fail.
My husband also inspires me and he is my greatest supporter. Before taking over Spa Jelita, I asked him whether he will support me. At first, he said no, explaining that business is a stressful career and wonder if I can handle it. Whenever there's a problem, he will be the first person I seek. I have mentors from SMCCI are people I look up to. They help in finding a solution to my problem as well as widening my network connections.
Problems exist throughout your life and it’s never going to stop. Over the years, I realise it’s not about avoiding problems but solving them instead.
Which female do you look up to?
The lady who is my role model is the Singapore’s president, Madam Halimah Yacob. I’ve known her since my journey with Berita Harian. I look up to her. When dealing with the communities, she has the passion, dedication and commitment. The accomplishments she obtained are something I want to achieve in the years to come.
Do you have a quote or values that you live by?
I believe that all good things come from a higher power. Of course, hard work is very important. No matter what you do, be sincere. You are not here to cheat on your customers but to provide them with good services.
Describe yourself in three words.
I am independent, jovial and easy going. As long as you don't offend me, you won’t see the ugly side of me. Life has taught me to be calm. Problems can't be resolved when you're in a state of anger.
In line with International Women's Day, what do you want to say to all women?
To all women out there, don’t give up easily. Life is all about challenges and I’m sure you can find the solution to all the problems. Be strong.