At a young age of 19 when most teenagers are chasing their K-pop idols or getting videos done for Tik Tok, Mandy Chan took a gap year so she could start her own business to sell her idea – a multi-functional sports bag.

This idea came to her when she kept forgetting to bring her toiletries whenever she went to the gym. It hit her that she needed a multi-functional bag which can also house her toiletries, on top of her everyday things and gym gear. This was how BOW was born – designed for modern people who have many activities within their day.

With some experience from her internships at start-ups, Mandy knew what she was getting into. She also had a mentor who backed her crazy idea of taking a break from university to build BOW and guided her through the process. Unfortunately, her parents weren’t as supportive. They threatened to cut her off and on top of that, her friends dissuaded her from pausing her studies.

Deciding to follow her heart, Mandy plunged herself fully into this and was determined to prove everyone wrong. She knew that if she waited on it, she might miss a valuable opportunity.

Of course, she had her fair share of struggles. For example, she faced many difficulties finding a supplier in China because many factories did not take her seriously. In addition, she did everything by herself to cut costs – marketing, design, accounting. It was an uphill task from the get-go but that never stopped her from persisting.

At the moment, Mandy is back in university and now has to deal with the challenge of balancing school and business. But no matter how hard things get, she has no regrets. Her advice to all entrepreneurs out there is to “know your why and the greater purpose of your business.”

Listen to the latest episode of The PURPOSE Podcast on Spotify here.

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