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Interview with Jeanine Gabrielle

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She just passed 25 but her energy level is that of a 15 year-old. She sews, knits, crochets, hems, designs, illustrates, sells, manages her blogshop, and many more than what my tongue can roll out.

Jeanine runs her own online store, www.jeaninegabrielle.com. She designs and crafts most of her accessories so for those who desire a unique collection. Her supplies are mostly from United States -“The things are just more unique and are of better quality, and give me more room to be creative!”

This missy is her own woman.  She built her own website, maintains it, and at the same time she has to market it, make and sell her products. Her items are also available for purchase at Eclecticism at Wisma Atria #01-07.

She left Ritz Carlton and Creative Eateries as an Events Executive to set her foot onto the path of a career that she carves with her own two bare hands. Sooner or later, who knows, maybe her dream of opening a fashion themed café will be constructed to life.

PS: Get a 15% off one time discount code for any ClubCouture items if you enter code "JEANINE15" :)

Jeanine Gabrielle is an interesting name. Tell us more about yourself please.

Well, Jeanine is my given name, and Gabrielle is actually my confirmation name. When people hear "Jeanine Gabrielle", they think I’m mixed race, but I’m really 100% Chinese!

I’ve been told I have an interesting family too. I have two elder sisters but they are 13 and 16 years older than me. To make things a little more interesting, my eldest sister converted to Islam because she married a Muslim and I’m currently dating a DJ!

You run your own online store where your friend helps you import vintage shirts and accessories from USA.  Why did you choose USA and not somewhere nearer such as Australia or even Taiwan?

I don’t import vintage shirts or accessories from USA actually. I took over some of my friend’s stock when she did an event in Singapore.  We started working together after I started taking a liking to the clothes she had in store, and she was looking to work with different designers, and we’ve been awesome friends ever since!

We’ve done lots of collaborations together, and some have been featured in USA-based fashion blogs.

However a lot of the supplies I import are from the USA. The things are just more unique and are of better quality, and give me more room to be creative!

You started designing your own clothes and accessories since you were 15 as it shows individuality. Do you remember your very first designed shirt and necklace?

One of the first necklaces I remember making was a crocheted flower one which was featured in 17 magazine.  As for the tee, I think it was one that said “I heart geeks” I just loved taking out my fabric paints and going crazy on plain tees… still do that once in a while when time allows!

The supply for vintage apparels increased as the trend and style for such developed throughout the years.  Why do you think caused this rise of trend in vintage?

I wish I had the textbook answer for this, but unfortunately, I don’t think I do. To me, vintage dressing is classy and  there’s that subtle flair of romance especially with lace.  I guess more and more people are beginning to appreciate the charm of vintage! I mean, who wouldn’t? Vintage is pretty!

Online shop is not easy to maintain. What is the most difficult part of running an online business?

There are lots of restrictions and hurdels involved in maintaining an online business that’s unavoidable.  But for me, I guess it’s the fact that I do everything myself. Few people know this, but I built my own website, I maintain it, and at the same time I have to market it and sell my products, and make them all too!

To have to hand-make all the items myself, reply customer emails and also to maintain the site, I find it tricky to strike a balance between all the tasks at hand.  I tend to get carried away when making new items, and to keep everything going, I end up working late into the night. (or early morning rather!)

And then there’s the dependency on technology, if something goes wrong with the web host, expect lots of glitches! It’s an online business’ worst nightmare!

You are the fashion ambassador for club couture. How is their style similar to yours?

Yes I am! And I’m really glad to be one too. ClubCouture has a pretty wide range of apparel, and I’m one who doesn’t stick to one style of dressing. So whether I’m feeling rock chic, lazy/casual or dressed up, they’re sure to have something suitable in store!

You studied in Temasek Polytechnic in Tourism and were working in a 5-star hotel upon graduation. But left as the salary was not as rewarding. If you could turn back time, would you study a different course to suit your online entrepreneurship mindset?

This is one question that I have had to answer over and over again in the past few years.

I don’t regret my decision to study hospitality management. I worked almost a year in events after I left The Ritz Carlton. All that experience has given me a lot of options. Who knows, one day you might just find me in a hotel again, although I feel more drawn to doing events.  There’s a certain rush I get from all that running around, although I really hate last minute situations.

Having been trained in a 5-star hotel has also left me with a very strong foundation in communicating with people and anticipating their needs, as well as being patient with my customers.

Not all has gone to waste, at the moment I help with my boyfriend’s recording label, 1 or 8 Faction. I help them with all the little last minute details, which is something I’m used to doing after being an events executive who was forced to constantly work under pressure! In fact we just finished 2 days of filming for a music video!

Your dream is to open a fashion themed café. Tell us more about your cafe fantasy.

A fantasy indeed it is, for now at least. After a couple of years of running the online business, I’m sure something this big isn’t something I can handle on my own.  The idea sparked when I started doing customisation, I thought about it, and figured it’d be pretty awesome if there was a special place you can take your loved ones.

An advance reservation could include a personalized gift for the occasion, for example. Imagine having a special gift sitting on your table when you arrive or maybe for dessert?

I probably shouldn’t reveal too much though, but the whole idea is to make that meal extra special and unforgettable. Any F & B outlets up for a challenge?

In your own definition, what makes a woman modern and smart?

The modern woman is someone who isn’t afraid to pursue her career, and break away from social stigmas that suggest a woman should stay home and take care of the house. A modern woman isn’t afraid to be different and step up to the challenge. No one said we can’t do it better than the boys!

In relationships, she recognizes that both partners are equal and doesn’t let her partner control her.  “listening to your husbands” may be what we’re always told to do, but there’s nothing more important than equality between a couple. No woman deserves to be treated as a punching bag.

What, to you, is being financially independent? Do you think you are financially savvy and smart? Why?

The day you stop getting allowance from your parents is probably the day you start to stand on your own two feet financially. We begin to be more frugal with our spending cos it’s not out of daddy’s pocket anymore.

To be considered financially independent, a person should be able to pay off expenses comfortably and still manage to save up a substantial amount each month.

I do consider myself to be pretty savvy financially.  Planning the usage of credit cards can be quite helpful especially if you have an account that yields a high monthly interest rate.

It pays to plan your expenditures to make the most of your credit limit and take advantage of the interest that your bank balance can earn you.

What does the phrase “My Fat Pocket” remind you of?

Hmmmm, when I first heard the term “my fat pocket” I immediately thought of a very lucky girl with a pocket full of cash! She would be able to buy anything and everything she wants. Lucky lass!