Flat out fabulous
Article from the Sun daily by Denissa Goh (posted on 28 April 2016)
FIQA LIYANA CHONG has always been selfreliant. At 18, she decided to move out and live on her own, and while her home was still within her parents' vicinity, Chong took up the responsibility to fully fend for herself.
"Although I lived just 10 minutes away, I paid for my education and car, and everything else. It was just something that I wanted to do. I learned a lot living on my own and being independent. If I hadn't move out, I don't think I would be who I am right now," said Chong.
It wasn't long before the free spirit followed her passion for the entertainment industry and ventured into acting and modelling in television and print commercials.
With more than 10 years in the industry, the 26-year-old had her fair share of travelling in heels for events and suffering the aftermath.
When overseas, the frequent flyer moves about via public transportation, and one of those times was when an idea struck her.
"I used to carry extra shoes or slippers around in case my heels start killing my feet, but I found it very inconvenient.
"So I thought, why not create foldable shoes?" recalled Chong, who launched her own footwear line FIQS in 2014.
A shoe lover herself, Chong fully understands the demands of the market – apart from looking chic, shoes have to be comfortable and lasting.
Hence, Chong paid meticulous attention to ensure her flats are able to withstand the harshest roads and can be easily stored in a pouch to fit into handbags.
While people would usually think the ugliest of comfortable soles, Chong's flats beam in neon hues and a bright pink base.
It's not hard to spot her brand signature from a mile away; in fact, you may even spot them in Singapore, China and Korea!
Could you share the early stages of your journey as an entrepreneur?
I didn't really have much guidance because I started on my own. So I did a lot of research and most of my time was spent on studying and learning how to run a business. It was really hectic!
From your experience, what do you think is the most important quality an entrepreneur should have?
If you want to start something, you've got to be passionate about what you do. I'm not from a design background; Iwas studying business so I had no knowledge in design.
All I knew was that I love shoes. It's great if someone has knowledge in design when startinga business like this, but skills can always be learned. It's all about your attitude, behaviour and thinking.
What sets FIQS apart from the other foldable flats in the market?
It's handmade. Because I am a user as well, I am very particular about the comfort and the quality. It's fully made of cow leather – the upper, inner and outer – because of its durability.
The cushion was meticulously selected as parts to ensure comfort.
Who was your biggest supporter when you started FIQS?
My aunt. She was always there to advise me; especially when I felt down,I would go to her. Because running a business is really tough, and I started this with no background knowledge.
Everything was trial and error, but then again I couldn't afford to make so many mistakes.
So back then I was a bit lost in terms of investors and shareholders, and it became a very emotional journey but my aunt was always there for me.
Recall your best memory in the process.
When I was in the factory, I saw my shoes in the making, and I was like, "Oh my god, my babies!" That was when I felt like everything was coming to life for the first time.
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