At Home with Nanz Chong-Komo
From a model to a successful businesswoman to a best-selling author and a happy mother of three, Nanz Chong Komo is every bit that superwoman mum that we elusively hear about, but never seem to really meet!
Women have come a long way since wielding just aprons and pans. But what happens if you beat the odds, emerge as a female entrepreneur in a somewhat male-dominated society but suddenly watch it all come crashing down?
Can you ever rebound from the blackness of failure?
One person did – Nanz Chong-Komo, founder of Nanz Inc.com and author of best-seller, ‘One Business 99 Lessons’. You’ll know her better as the founder of the ONE.99shop. It was a huge success in Singapore, with over 15 stores across the island and she was named, ‘Woman Entrepreneur of the Year 2000’. Unfortunately, when SARS occurred the ONE.99shop closed under receivership in 2003.
When the ONE.99shop closed, Nanz Chong was pregnant and for the next four years, she focused on her family and on cultivating family values within the family. At the same time, she was also actively involved in voluntary counselling, helping people who were going through career and personal setbacks in life.
In 2006, Nanz Chong launched her first book, ‘One Business 99 Lessons’ which has become a bestseller that has sold over 17, 000 copies. She is currently working on her new online portal NanzInc.com which will serve as an online talk show that caters to Asian women everywhere.
TheAsianparent.com Team got a chance to catch up with Nanz, who shared with us her rise to the top, her future goals and motherhood.
TheAsianparent (TAP): From a model to a businesswoman to a mother of three. How has the transition been?
Nanz Chong-Komo: Life is about changes. It has been fun to be at different stages of my life. I loved modelling, which I was involved in for 10 years. I loved running my retail chain during the pre-kids days. Transition is a mindset thing; with each transition, we can tell ourselves - hey I am entering something great! Something unexpected and non-assuming, so it’s going to be fun! With the right attitude, transition is fun! I love each phase of my life!
One Business 99 Lessons
TAP: You have written a bestseller. What prompted you to do so?
Nanz Chong-Komo: I never planned to write a bestseller! I just wanted to write the truth, something that people would benefit from. The intention was really to document my journey, the glory, the process, the mistakes, the lessons. And it seems to work and people love it. So far, we have sold 17,000 copies. Currently, I am writing two more books.
TAP: What have you taken away from the whole ONE 99shop experience?
Nanz Chong-Komo: On a macro view, FAILURE IS OK ! It is not as tough as its reputation! I have learnt that with every obstacle, new opportunity is born. I became an author, a motivational speaker and a business coach.
On the ONE.99shop experience, it’s tough to say it all in a word. After all, there are 99 lessons! (laughs) Do your best in every aspect of the business, plan till the last detail, expect the unexpected and always take risk! Remember the saying, ‘all glory comes from daring to begin!’
TAP: There are men out there who prefer their wives to be seen and not heard. Yet you had success even before marrying. How is your husband towards this?
Nanz Chong-Komo : Like you said, there are men.....So perhaps I have to thank my blessings that my husband never had the preconceived notion of the kind of wife he should marry . He is cool about things. He wants me to be me - the person he married and he wants me to be free! Free from his expectation of what a wife should be. We have lots of respect for each other.
The Cool ’Hood - Motherhood
TAP: How have you been juggling work with motherhood so far?
Nanz Chong Komo
Nanz Chong-Komo:(laughs) Tough . Any mother that says it is easy is either not telling the whole truth or she’s a super-mom! As a mother, I feel guilty that I don’t spend enough time with my kids. Even when I am home (I work from home), it is not easy. One minute one of the kids would be crying while I’m on the phone with my client or another will be spilling soup over my Apple keyboard or even playing hide-and-seek between my files.
It is a lot of adjustment on a daily basis. The key is not to be stressed with unrealistic timelines and not to over promise. Life is not all about competition but to uniquely enjoy (motherhood ) the moments on our plates - the first smile, the first milk flow, the bonding , the endless cry, the daily victories, the picture perfect moments and even Facebooking (showing off the gems to the world)! In short, accept the short falls and enjoy the moments.
TAP: How has motherhood changed you?
Nanz Chong-Komo: Motherhood is about one thing – It is about others not YOU! I learned to be more mindful of others. Everyone is someone else’s child.
Nanz Chong Komo
TAP: What has been the most important thing that motherhood has taught you?
Nanz Chong-Komo: It is a commitment for life. No turning back! Be committed!
The ‘Now’ Woman
TAP: How do you see the 21st Century woman?
Nanz Chong-Komo : I think we are living in very exciting time. We have access to knowledge and information like never before. We can easily find our platform to share, laugh and learn at our own pace. I feel that the ‘now’ woman has a lot to share about her life and experience. Also, she is capable to give a lot back to charity.
TAP: What’s on Nanz Chong-Komo’s plate for the future?
Nanz Chong Komo
Nanz Chong-Komo: I am starting an on-line learning platform for Asian women. Nanz Inc.com is an online talk show and website for Asian women. We aim to address the many facets and assets of life for the modern Asian woman, and to empower her, whether she is a CEO of a multi-national company, or CEO of her own home; an entrepreneur or an employee; a young woman just starting out in her career, or a woman in her prime who is working out the next stage of her life.
TAP: From housewives to smashing the glass ceiling, women have been able to make their mark in society. However, challenges, doubts and failures will always be present. As another Women’s Day rolls past us, do you have any words for women, especially mothers, edging to break into the workforce?
Nanz Chong-Komo : You must have the blessing of your spouse. Trust and support is most important for the building of family unity, without which , life is miserable . Every woman has great talents and gifts that are unique to her and will surely be used someday. Plan for the ‘’someday”. Don’t sit and wish.
It is important to understand there is a season in everyone’s life so recognising and embracing it is a good place to start. For example, it is unwise for a mother with very young children to rush back to the workforce (if she can help it). It may be better to invest that time in her children than leave them to be largely raised by caretakers.
On the other hand, if she has to go back to the workforce, due to some reason, adjustments and wise planning must be made. I know of many couples who actually sat down, planned and re-adjusted their lifestyle and financial commitments so that the mother could stay home to impart family values, confidence and invest in the children, which is a very smart option to consider. Whatever the outcome, there must be agreement, communication and understanding between spouses.