Gloricia Shen, owner and founder of Studio An, an art studio where people can come and freely create anything they want. She started as an intern at the age of 18 for an agency focusing on Unilever products and now running her own studio. She believes that empowerment is the ability to decide what a person’s future will be and can be. And that’s precisely what she did.
Initially studying visual communications at Temasek Polytechnic, she decided that she didn’t need a degree to pursue design, so she switched to psychology. But Gloricia missed being in the design industry, but she also didn’t want to go back. When she finally graduated, she pursued marketing and advertising, working for various companies.
Five years later, she wanted something new. Thus Studio An was founded. They offer sessions where you get to experiment with different mediums and art forms, constantly finding new things for people to try. Sessions are non-guided so that people can freely express themselves in their craft.
Sometimes, we have to explore other things before we find out what we truly want in life. Continue reading for more snippets from our interview with Gloricia.
Q: How did you come up with this concept and carry it out?
A: I’ve had so many hobbies in my life; I paint, sew, do nails, create pottery, and generally love being able to create in any way I can. Being able to express how I feel visually rather than verbally has helped me a lot in my life mentally, and I wanted to allow others to experience this as well. Hence, I decided to open Studio An, a community for artists and non-artists to be.
It’s really hard to do things outside of the “norm” and just do it without wondering if it is the right or wrong way. But that’s the beauty of art, and there is no right or wrong. I want this space to be welcoming and inspiring, a place where one can create without feeling the pressure of being an “artist”, “designer”, or just making anything that’s perfect.
Q: What about your line of work excites you the most?
A: Watching people create and enjoy creating, experimenting with new things and looking happy after doing so makes my day.
Q: What has been your most challenging obstacle, and how did you overcome it?
A: Leaving the security of a 9-6 job while being a person that thrives in stability and comfort was really stressful. I think it was just taking the leap, realising that overcoming my anxiety and fears is a victory in itself.
Q: What motivates you to go further in your business or career?
A: Honestly, providing for my mom and making sure I don’t let the people who’ve supported me thus far down.
Q: What is the most significant mentality shift, belief shift, or “ah-ha” moment you’ve had in your business?
A: I was building everything in the studio myself and managing admin, finance, legal, insurance, and all other things. It was not until my friends started giving me grief for not asking for help that I realised I needed to be okay with asking for help. Things were much better after that.
Q: What attributes do you believe are the most necessary for a successful entrepreneur?
A: Grit and resilience. You’re bound to fail multiple times and be constantly under pressure, but you’ve got to push through it.
Q: What advice do you have for aspiring and first-time entrepreneurs?
A: Do your math, speak to people, believe in what you want to do and be okay with failing. Expect to fail and aim to succeed.
Q: Life has its ups and downs; can you tell us a compelling story?
A: When I first started, I went through severe depression and anxiety disorders as I could not adapt. But after going through all that, I realised I need to pick my battles and really focus on myself.
Workplaces really need to place more importance on managing people and mental health, as people often don’t acknowledge how much work pressure affects one’s mental state. Luckily for me, I realised what was wrong and sought help from professionals and relied on my amazing friends and family – hence, I was able to continue working and thriving.
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