Chryseis Tan shares what drives her entrepreneurial decision-making

Our session with Chryseis Tan took place shortly after the businesswoman announced that she was expecting her second child. If she hadn’t told us that her first trimester was pretty rough, marked by morning sickness that lasted all day, we wouldn’t have known a thing. Instead, what was evident was her glowing complexion that obviously makes her the best ambassador for her own beauty brand: Lumi.

“All of our clients are ambassadors,” he says, responding to the compliment. “Our clients are at the center of what we do. There is an unmistakable sense of satisfaction that comes from customers who share that our products have helped improve their complexion, boosting their confidence.”

Tan launched the skincare range in 2020 in a bid to create an affordable skincare range that uses high-quality ingredients inspired by her travels. Like his other companies, Lumi is the result of something he feels strong about.

“I tend to gravitate toward things that I’m personally passionate about: dining, travel, beauty,” he says, describing his business decisions. There’s definitely an element of risk, she adds, but that’s a given when it comes to entrepreneurship.

“Risk is something you have to accept as a business owner,” he explains. “Having said that, it all comes down to intuition for me.”

That Tan has a natural instinct for business shouldn’t surprise us. After all, he has learned from one of the best, watching his father Tan Sri Vincent Tan, founder of The Berjaya Group, from a young age.

“Being exposed to entrepreneurship from a young age, I have been able to hone my business acumen over the years with the guidance of my father.”

The fact that Tan has a diverse portfolio when it comes to business has led some to describe her as a “serial investor.” However, it is a label she does not agree with, as it does not fully reflect her level of involvement in the various businesses she is in.

“I think I’m more entrepreneurial,” she says. “I like the conceptualization phase of a new business opportunity and I think what I bring to the table the most is strategic thinking. With every business I’m involved in, whether as a founder or an investor, the question I ask is: how will this impact the sphere you’re in? How will you add value to a customer’s quality of life?”

For example, The Curate Group, of which Tan is the founder. The company was born out of the owner’s passion and enthusiasm for Japanese culinary culture. Dining establishments created under the group include Bar Shake, Hide, Park Grill and Sushi Den.

The “Japanese-focused” Curate Group, he tells us, is committed to creating more “exciting Japanese food concepts” here in Malaysia, based on the fact that the response so far has been overwhelming.

“Japanese cuisine is incredibly multifaceted,” he explains. “There are countless cooking techniques and ingredients from various prefectures to introduce to the Malaysian audience.”

She notes that customers have developed a more demanding palette which has translated into a greater focus on ingredients and techniques. Additionally, it seems like an opportune time for food and beverage companies, as the desire for fine dining experiences has grown exponentially over the years.

Having been exposed to entrepreneurship from a young age, Chryseis has been able to hone her business acumen over the years. — YAP CHEE HONG/The Star.

“I think we’ve all rediscovered our sense of joie de vivre post-lockdown, and that includes dining experiences to satisfy our love of wandering and discovering,” he says. “The food scene in Malaysia will continue to grow, evolve and rise. We are seeing more young and talented Malaysian chefs returning home after stints abroad. They are bringing with them new perspectives and approaches that have been exciting to experience from a diner’s point of view.”

But aside from wanting to elevate a certain industry, Tan also focuses on the fundamentals when assessing the viability of a business, regardless of whether it’s something she thought of or an investment opportunity: these are “product evolution or brand, scalability and market gaps”.

In addition to running his business ventures, Tan also holds various positions with The Berjaya Group, where he sits on the board. She is Director and President of Natural Avenue Sdn Bhd, CEO of Berjaya Land Bhd while leading the marketing of Four Seasons Hotel and Hotel Residences Kyoto, Japan.

That means having to balance a busy work schedule while taking care of her two-year-old daughter, Arianna Kyla Faliq. Now that she and her husband SM Faliq SM Nasimuddin are expecting her second child, Tan is conscious not to take on too much.

“Build and invest in a good, reliable support system,” he advises. “Spending time with my family is a great stress reliever. My husband and I have a very fast-paced work life, so taking time to pause and relax with each other and our daughter does wonders for us. Arianna has her own cheeky sense of humor and those funny moments especially wash away any stress she may be feeling.”

Having the right equipment was also essential when you were adjusting to the first few months of your pregnancy. Experiencing low and high energy days is normal, but it is amplified when one is pregnant.

“From a business owner’s perspective, there are times when I’m bursting with ideas and enthusiasm, and there are times when I need to unplug and just rest,” he explains. “Surrounding myself with trusted teams at all my companies means I have the opportunity to listen to my body and briefly unplug when needed.”

She acknowledges that motherhood has changed her, and while she remains a bold, dedicated entrepreneur committed to the success of her businesses, becoming a mother has also instilled in her a new way of looking at things and fostered a different way of living.

“There’s definitely more work-life balance since Arianna came into our lives,” she says. “If work trips are kid-friendly destinations, I’ll always keep a family vacation in mind, even if it’s just a weekend.”

This has allowed the family to develop a new appreciation for things that had previously been overlooked.

“Seeing the world through his lens has been very comforting,” says Tan. “We appreciate the things that we, as adults, can overlook.”

With every business I’m involved in, whether as a founder or an investor, the question I ask is: how will this impact the sphere you’re in? How will you add value to a customer’s quality of life?

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