This week, we have with us Gursheel Dhillon, Founder & Editor-in-Chief at Vanilla Luxury, an affordable luxury lifestyle digital magazine, with a letter to her younger self.
I am very humbled to be asked to write a letter to younger self at the age of 30, as I still feel young and I am making use of my time wisely by writing this piece while onboard a ferry to spend my weekend reviewing Banyan Tree Bintan.
Yes, that’s a $500 a night luxury resort just 55 minutes from Singapore and you may wonder, and it’s a question I get asked quite often thanks to my Instagram feed, on how have I created the life I wanted to live in.
1. Believe in Yourself
I definitely grew my self-confidence thanks to my mother who would enroll me into every single contest possible. From singing Chinese Karaoke on stage to the various art competitions and what not.
Being a minority, the only brown kid studying in a Chinese high school, makes you used to being the odd one out and I had to work a lot harder. My mother made me believe I could learn Mandarin at a very young age and thankfully although I’ve left school years ago, I’m still able to converse in Mandarin.
2. Take Risks
I vividly remember the day I told my mother I was not going to the local polytechnic or junior college as the Singapore education system was not made for someone like me. Yes, I was rebellious, as I knew by the age of 17; I wanted to be a marketer. My typical Singaporean mother freaked out and decided that by cutting me off financially, I would stop rebelling. Instead, the day I finished my GCE ‘O’ Levels, I made my very first resume and got accepted to work at SK-II Boutique Spa. I started off with customer service and was lucky that my bosses gave me the opportunity to get involved in various aspects of the business. My marketing manager gave me the best advice which was to major in Marketing and Advertising. I have never looked back since.
3. Chase Your Passions
I don’t believe in chasing your dreams, it’s illusive. I believe in chasing your passions. While working at my first job, I would read every issue of Her World, Cleo, Tatler – any publication that was in the spa and it’s quite crazy to think of it that I now have a magazine of my own VanillaLuxury.sg.
4. Surround Yourself With People That Lift You Up
I am very blessed to have a business partner, Aaghir Yadav, who saw something in me that I couldn’t see for myself. I was his client when I was working as a Brand Manager at Triumph International before co-founding a fashion startup. It is important to have partners that supports you and reminds you of your worth as we all do at times, need a reminder of how capable we are.
As an entrepreneur, there are great days and really low days and on your lowest and most stressful periods, you will need support be it from friends or from family. It is important to find you tribe.
It took me 28 years to find the right man for me and I am still adjusting to the fact that I’m married. It just felt like I hosted yet another Sky Grande Prix, our annual F1 party that will be at Grand Hyatt Singapore this year, instead of a wedding!
5. See an opportunity, take it
There’s no such thing as a 100% guarantee this will work or this is the “right” thing to do.
You may stumble upon an opportunity, but you will need to put the work in, be it by working hard or working smart.
I took a risk in starting an affordable luxury lifestyle marketing agency and then a digital magazine. It was not easy and wasn’t handed down to me or had I taken over anything. I worked an average 18 hours a day and 7 days a week.
The business landscape is always changing and being able to adapt and diversify our business model has been beneficial.
Vanilla Luxury now has touched a readership of 500,000 but my work does not end here, I am now looking for the right investors, to take us to a readership of at least 2 million in South East Asia.
Vanillaluxury.sg, is an affordable luxury lifestyle digital magazine that serves as a portal for stylish and astute individuals who are always on the pulse of things. With a focus on unearthing the absolute best, and not simply the most expensive, the editorial content includes personality profiles, entertaining features and various topics ranging from fashion and beauty to dining and travel.