This article was originally published here: Vikki Tear – Founder and CEO of SoyCraft Collective
Vikki Tear’s life changed when she acquired a dog but could not find anything suitable to carry it in.
What’s your story?
It began as a dog-mum problem. In early 2021, I discovered that there the choices for stylish, functional and reasonably priced pet carriers in Singapore were sorely lacking. I noticed a gap in the market where there is an increasing number of pet parents who have smaller dogs but not enough pet products that cater to them. I began SoyCraft Collective to fill this gap by focusing on crafting aesthetic and functional pet carrier bags and cushions for fashion forward pups and their humans.
What excites you most about your industry?
What excites me most about this industry is to be able to have the opportunity to design and create stylish yet functional and reasonably-priced pet carriers for pet-parents in Singapore just like myself. My love of fashion and my pet Soya has aided me in selecting styles and materials that are both beautiful and functional. The choices in my design are important to make sure that a pet feels comfortable and safe inside SoyCraft Collective’s pet carrier. As the number of pet owners rises in Singapore, I hope for more pet-parents to consider SoyCraft’s pet carrier for the workmanship involved.
What drives you in business to push beyond what other people consider normal?
Making progress in meaningful work. From noticing a problem, to having the idea to solve a problem, to creating something to solve a problem – everything is done with a purpose, a meaning.
I am also internally driven toward new adventures, the journey ahead, and potential outcomes. I work to create a company culture where everyone can learn from each other, motivate and inspire each other to grow in difficult times.
Finally, having a clear vision is most essential. From there I build my day around solving meaningful problems.
What have been the most useful skills you have learnt and applied in your journey?
Resilience. Handling slow sales months, slow progress, rejections, stress, burnouts, lack of focus. Determination and eagerness to fight the same dragon every morning are instrumental when it comes to building a business from scratch.
Despite the glamourous “founder” title, entrepreneurship can be a lonely and overwhelming journey. I find that a negative event could be a seed for future growth and success.
Hence, it is important to look past short term setbacks and focus on the long term mission. I do my best to review setbacks, understand them, and extract key lessons for the future.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Have faith in yourself. As clichéd as it sounds – remember why you started. When we start a brand, it always starts with wanting to solve a problem or for passion.
As we fight more ‘battles’ along the way, we may get worn out or lose our way. Knowing our ‘why’ and being part of something greater will help us persevere despite the difficulty of the task.
Concentrating on the mission will help align daily tasks with big picture goals so we can see the forest and not the trees.
Who inspires you?
My sister, who is also the Founder of PolicyPal.
As a female founder surviving in the male-dominated fintech scene, she has built a brand and company through her tenacity, knowledge and creativity. She has proven to us that many challenges can be overcome, so long as you persist.
If you don’t know it, figure it out. If you are scared, push yourself to try it.
Today we see an increasing number of inspirational female founders who focus on diversity and collaboration to bring different ideas to the innovative scene and reinvent the meaning of success.
What have you learnt recently that blew you away?
That our thoughts create reality, and imagination is everything. It’s hard to believe but it has a grain of truth to it. Everything in this world operates on a law of cause and effect. Oftentimes facts are spoken into existence.
A positive mindset is central to health and behaviour and has been extensively researched by universities including Stanford.
I personally have felt the difference in surrounding energy and vibe when you choose to think positive thoughts (half glass full or glass half empty) and speak kind positive words to yourself and others.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I wouldn’t do anything differently. I believe every setback I have been through has moulded me to be the person I am today. And I’m grateful for all the learnings.
How do you unwind?
I used to have problems unwinding and suffer from severe founder’s guilt.
When my mini Pomeranian dog entered my life, I never expected a tiny being to have the power to change me. My husband often jokes that my puppy is the only living thing that can make me turn off my laptop willingly.
Nowadays, I unwind by snuggling with my puppy, catching a show with my husband. We also enjoy strolls in the Botanic Garden. Slow walks and hearty talks in the park really force me to take my mind off work and clear my mental headspace.
What is a major mindset change, belief shift or ‘ah ha’ moment that you’ve experienced in relation to your business?
As a perfectionist, I used to set very high expectations and goals for myself. I’d question and beat myself up when I feel like I was not running “fast enough” or “good enough” to achieve that goal.
I started shifting my mindset, taking action and moving out of burnout and back into joyful living. The Kaizen way of self-improvement is about becoming 1% better each day. Focusing on the big goal may result in inaction. Instead, small, continual improvement is better. When we improve a little each day, bigger things eventually occur.
Everyone in business should read this book:
The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers – by Ben Horowitz.
Ben Horowitz is co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz, a venture capital firm, and also one of Silicon Valley’s most respected and experienced entrepreneurs. He offers essential advice on building and running a startup.
It is practical wisdom for managing the toughest problems that business school doesn’t cover. Starting your own business is one of the most difficult things you could ever do. This book tries to prepare you for all the potential mistakes and anything that could go wrong.
Shameless plug for your business:
SoyCraft dog carriers and cushions are meticulously crafted, comfy and intuitively designed. They are made of 100% pure cotton which is breathable, naturally wicks away moisture, and easy to wash. Organic is good for our pets and household as it is free from toxic chemicals. Let your pet travel in therapeutic comfort and relaxation.
Our core values are functionality, aesthetics, and pleasure. We will continue to create aesthetic pet accessories that are made to last, without compromising comfort, quality or style. Shop our natural and organic cotton pet accessories to find one that fits your pet’s size and your personality.
How can people connect with you?
Social Media Links?
This interview is part of the CallumConnects series.