Jane Hia

Jane’s top tips for women in business

Jane Hia
Find your niche. Know your limits. Be authentic.

Jane Hia is the co-founder of Kith Café — a chain of beloved Singapore cafes known for fresh food, great coffee, relaxed vibes and friendly service. We asked Jane about what she’s learned and what advice she would give to other women who might be starting their own business. Here are some of her top tips for finding success and happiness in business.

  1. Set aside time for the people who matter most. You will be busier and sleep less, so make the time you do spend with your friends and family count.
  2. Be resourceful. Our salted caramel dark chocolate cookies came about because somebody ordered the wrong type of salt. My pastry chef added it to our chocolate cookies and the recipe has been on the menu ever since.
  3. Nurture close relationships with your suppliers, employees and customers. Because they’re the people who will help you when you most need it.
  4. Spend time on your own. The balance is important for your personal wellbeing, even for a people person like me.
  5. Be patient. It took two years for me to secure the Park Mall location. Waiting was a real test as it seemed like there were so many hiccups, but it all worked out in the end.
  6. Find your niche. When I started Kith, I noticed there was a gap between local coffee and Western chain coffee that nobody was filling.
  7. Assert yourself. It’s OK to tell somebody that their behaviour isn’t acceptable. You can still be likeable and respectful while being firm.
  8. Market yourself. In the early days I thought I could rely on positive word of mouth alone. To stay competitive, we have to embrace online media and put ourselves out there. I just wish I’d started my personal Instagram account sooner!
  9. Get started. This can be terrifying, but it’s important to take the leap and get past the planning stage.
  10. Know your limits. Ask yourself what your tolerance level is. That way, it’s a risk you’re comfortable taking and you’ll know when to call it a day.
  11. Be authentic. At Kith, it’s important that everything from our menu and service to our decor (which uses natural materials) is sincere, unpretentious and warm.
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