Kendra Liew is the serial entrepreneur behind the KatFood and PONIYOGI brands.
Human Asia talks to her about what fuels her drive to achieve success.
Tell us the beginning and why you started the KatFood brand.
Kendra: I’ve been making my own skincare out of ingredients from the kitchen since I was 17 or 18. When I decided to quit my previous job as a divorce lawyer, I knew I wanted to start my own business. The idea to start my own natural skincare line came easily to me as it’s something I’ve been doing for a long time, and I also saw an unfulfilled demand in the Asian market for it.
Explain how KatFood is different from other skincare products out there.
Kendra: How many times have you tried reading the ingredients list on a skincare product to realise that the only words you recognized were ‘alcohol’ and ‘water’? With Katfood, I wanted to go back to basics and give people simple, honest products made with ingredients they would feel safe putting in their mouths. All our products are freshly made with food grade ingredients and are synthetic chemical free.
Where do you sell your products at the moment?
Kendra: We currently retail online and offline. You can get Katfood on our website or on Amazon, and are available offline at Isetan Department Store. We definitely want to expand regionally and into our own brick and mortar stores!
You are a serial entrepreneur and started PONIYOGI after KatFood. Why jump into a completely different business in fashion ?
Kendra: I get a lot of business inspiration from my everyday activities and, like skincare, yoga is a big part of my life. Also, like Katfood, I noticed there was a gap in the market and decided to fill it.
Where are your plans for PONIYOGI?
Kendra: I am taking it step by step right now. First I want to look at expanding the range of products we offer as well as expanding our customer base worldwide. Considering the nature of the clothing retail scene, I would probably keep PONIYOGI online in the foreseeable future!
What are the challenges of managing two completely different businesses?
Kendra: Time management is a huge challenge! However, I’m the sort of person who needs a whole bunch of different things going on at the same time so I enjoy having to juggle both businesses.
Kendra, tell us more about your childhood background, and memories growing up.
Kendra: I was born in Australia to Singaporean parents, and we moved back to Singapore when I was at a very young age. I always wanted to be a lawyer and even though I was an average student for much of primary and secondary school, I managed to do well enough in my A level examinations to be accepted into the National University of Singapore’s Law programme, which was a dream come true!
So you were a lawyer. Why pivot into entrepreneurship?
Kendra: It was a huge decision for me to leave the legal industry as I had spent most of my younger years dreaming of becoming a lawyer. However, I was not getting much job satisfaction from my work as a legal associate and it reached a point where my unhappiness outweighed the financial rewards the job offered me. With entrepreneurship I get a much greater sense of achievement creating and developing brands and products I am passionate about.
What would you say your biggest regret is in starting these ventures?
Kendra: No regrets! I can’t say that the journey has been completely smooth sailing but everything happens for a reason and I embrace challenges as they arise. I just make the most of what I have and roll with the times!
You are obviously a very driven individual. What drives you day in day out to achieve your success ?
Kendra: I take a lot of pride in my work and would not settle for anything less than my best efforts in all my endeavours.
Other aspiring women entrepreneurs are probably looking up to you as an inspirational figure. What advice would you give women entrepreneurs?
Kendra: Be brave! If you truly believe in something, chase it with everything you’ve got, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Your philosophy in business and especially in your life?
Kendra: Be grateful for everything that you have and everything that comes your way. This sounds cheesy but its so true!
You can visit KatFood at https://ilovekatfood.com/