Starting a business can be very overwhelming, especially as a woman. A woman in business deals with magnified social expectations, maintaining a healthy work-life balance, and the pressure of creating a supportive network of staff, customers and fellow business owners. Despite the barriers broken through the years by brave, talented, and intelligent woman business owners all around the world, so many challenges still arise. However, passion always does wonders especially when a woman entrepreneur has a vision she wants to see come to life.
In celebration of Women’s Month, Twenty Third by Deanne’s very own CEO Deanne Ashley Lim is sharing the ins and outs of being a woman-owned home decor shop. In this exclusive inside story, Deanne shares with the readers where the brand started, what her biggest inspirations are, and the future of Twenty Third by Deanne.
Read on to learn more!
Conceptualizing a business
Deanne says that her affinity for pillows started at home with her family. “I have so much love for throw pillows, and have so many covers for them at home.” Deanne says. “My mom and I love it.” With her family, Deanne discovered that changing throw pillow covers are the easiest way to switch up the mood of the space.
As an interior designer, Deanne had a thorough understanding of textures, patterns, and quality materials that were essential for home furnishing. “I had to do a market research to find out if there was a market for pillow covers, and there was! That was when I decided to start the pillow business.”
COVID-19 was an unprecedented economic setback for many, but some business owners, like Deanne, took the opportunity to brainstorm. “I started Twenty Third during a pandemic,” Deanne explains. “I had so much time [to work on it] because I can’t go out, no gym activities, no friends, no socializing.”
With a lot of time in her hands, Deanne manifested the idea of Twenty Third by Deanne to reality.
Where to Find Inspiration
Inspiration is truly everywhere. However, Deanne simply states that her biggest inspiration is the vision she has for the brand. “I think what really inspires me right now is to see my vision for Twenty Third by Deanne come to life.”
Deanne also cites the support of Twenty Third patrons as one of her inspirations. “It’s so fulfilling to read the reviews from our customers saying how much they love our products. Hearing them inspires me to bring more products from all around the world and bring people what they need in their homes.”
Dealing with difficulties and challenges
“Currently, the biggest struggle is scaling the business since Twenty Third is run from home.” Deanne says that making sure there’s enough space for all the resources needed to run the business as well as not having enough manpower for operations are some of the challenges. “I started it alone in 2020, and the team is slowly growing but as of now, it’s still small. I produce most of the content and everything is home based.”
Deanne expresses that doing similar things every day can be demotivating. “The beginning was easier than what it is now, since there was nothing to prove to anyone but yourself. But as you go along, doing the same thing every day is a struggle. I ask myself, ‘How do I stay motivated? How do I sustain this?”
Deanne says that she relieves herself of the day to day struggle by being passionate about the business and the products. “I am motivated by my dream of what Twenty Third can be.”
“The pressure of what’s next is always there, and that’s scary.” Deanne says.
However, she doesn’t let the pressure get to her, and is determined to pursue bigger dreams. “Eventually, my goal is to become a full home furnishing company.” As of now, Twenty Third by Deanne is focused on vintage and patchwork pillows, rugs, throws, and other home accessories, but Deanne dreams of expanding to furniture, fixtures, and other home needs. “I want to be able to furnish a whole house with just Twenty Third products.”
Best advice for future business owners
Deanne lists down the following tips that she learned in creating her own business. If you’re an aspiring business owner, take notes!
- Be passionate about what you do
- Be ready to sacrifice for great outcomes
- Choose to still do the work despite it not being as fun as it was in the beginning
- Always have a vision
- Learn from the day-to-day operations
Most of all, Deanne highlights the importance of doing things right now and being dedicated to your craft. “There’s no better time than now,” Deanne says. Like Deanne, if you have the passion and dedication for something and you have an idea you want to come to life, you should just go for it!