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24th September 2016 / Announcements / by Candy Lim-Soliano

The Fashion Collective Singapore Hits Headlines on Yahoo

TFCS Mentors Ginger, Candy, and Eddie share their unique perspectives as freelance professionals.

The rumours are true… With the advent of September comes a new beginning – the long-anticipated birth of Singapore’s first industry-level community and mentorship platform, The Fashion Collective Singapore (TFCS)

Created to support freelancers with access to proven expertise, mutual support, and purposeful connections needed to succeed, TFCS members are equipped with vital tools such as a portfolio builder via a comprehensive website; networking opportunities; and access to the TFCS Board of Mentors, a mentorship program with established professional veterans – another major first for the industry. 

In a recently published article on Yahoo and Vulcan Post, three TFCS Mentors, Candy Lim, Ginger Lynette, and Eddie Teo, share the highs and lows of striking out on their own – and why every freelance professional should take ownership and stand united as part of this community. Below is an excerpt from the original Yahoo article:

Once deemed as a “last resort option” to make ends meet, freelancing has evolved over the years to become a career choice for professionals in search of flexibility from traditional employment, a more balanced lifestyle, and potentially higher earnings.

reported estimate released early this year, put the number of freelancers locally at more than 200,000 – and industry trailblazers from The Fashion Collective Singapore (TFCS), are paving the way ahead to empower their counterparts with unity, collaboration, and mentorship opportunities.

Here, three independent professionals share their secrets to freelancing successfully in Singapore.

Ex-Features Editor, Candy Lim, stumbled into freelancing by accident – after almost two decades of working in the media industry, pressing family commitments required her to take a hiatus from her full-time role at a women’s lifestyle magazine.

Shares the dynamic mum-of-three, “It was one of the hardest career decisions I’ve ever had to make. Some nights, I’d sit in the dark and cry after everyone else had gone to bed.”

She adds, “The reality was that for years, I’d put the needs of my young family on the back burner, and it was time for me to prioritise them, even if it meant giving up a job I loved, one which I’d poured heart and soul into. Every one of us goes through life stages which require us to make personal sacrifices.”

With the responsibilities of full time work lifted off her shoulders, Candy started authoring a non-fiction book, aimed at educating and encouraging social awareness about child sexual abuse. “It’s a topic that’s very close to my heart,” she slowly reveals. “I’d loathed having to put this personal project on hold for years because of work commitments, and I couldn’t wait to return to it.” But with her proven portfolio and network of contacts, it wasn’t long before freelance projects came knocking at her door.

“I’m grateful to have had a constant stream of editorial and commercial work coming my way,” says the multi-hyphenate, who has art directed cover shoots and editorial spreads for the likes of Nadya Hutagalung, Sonia Couling, Fiona Xie, Lisa S, and Stefanie Sun, and interviewed Hollywood A-listers like Evangeline Lily and Giuliana Rancic. As a freelance professional, Candy currently writes for a mix of publications and beauty brands, and creates content for social media engagement. It didn’t take her long to realise that, despite the usual challenges faced by freelancers, she was enjoying the dynamic nature of a freelance career.

The Vision: To Change “I” to “We”

While catching up with an ex-colleague over dinner one day, conversation turned to industry talk, and Candy voiced out the need for a credible aggregator, one that’s created for the industry by industry insiders.

“Worldwide trends indicate a shift towards what some now refer to as a ‘gig economy’,” explains the thought leader. “Increasing numbers of professionals are joining the freelance workforce every year. But as attractive as freelancing may seem, there’s also a lot of risk involved if it isn’t done right. Who do you turn to for advice? Where do you go to seek help? It’s incredibly tough to find answers, much less, garner peer support.”

“We are stronger when we build something together – there’s no sense in going it alone.” – Candy Lim, TFCS Co-Founder and Freelance Beauty and Features Editor

Inspired to create a holistic eco-system for freelancers in the fashion, beauty and creative industries, the pair confidently took a leap of faith and invested all their savings into founding The Fashion Collective Singapore (TFCS), Singapore’s first industry-level platform created to support freelancers with access to proven expertise, mutual support, and purposeful connections needed to succeed.

An annual membership fee (from $49 per month) helps the collective to subsidise the backend costs of maintenance and services – but members say the invaluable returns they receive far outweighs that amount. TFCS members are supported with vital tools such as a comprehensive portfolio builder via the website, networking events, and above all, a mentorship program with established professional veterans – another major first for the industry.

A firm believer in the sustainable benefits of collaboration, Candy shares, “It’s tough enough being on your own in a dog-eat-dog world. No man is an island – as independent professionals, we should help to build each other up, not tear one another apart. Mutual leverage will open new doors to fresh opportunities and bigger projects.”

She adds, “Over the years, I’ve worked with many talented freelancers, many of whom have become personal friends. They’ve faced the same set of key challenges for a long time, and so much more can be done for this community, if only it were less fragmented. As an industry, we’ve still got lots of ground to cover in terms of welfare and regulation for freelance professionals, and on that note, I’m truly heartened by the Labour Movement’s formation of the Freelancers and Self-Employed Unit to look into the needs of this segment of workers.”

For the full story on Yahoo, click here

Keen to kickstart your freelance journey or explore collaborations with TFCS?  Get in touch at letsrock@thefashioncollective.com.sg and get ready to rock and roll with the industry’s professionals!

Credits:

Images: TFCS Photography Mentor

Eddie Teo

About the Writer

Candy Lim

“People often let that their experiences define them. I think it’s more about the choices you make in life – how you choose to manage, respond, and learn from those experiences… ultimately that’s what defines you.”

From art directing cover shoots and working with Hollywood’s A-listers, to writing for publications and creating effective content for social media engagement, this immediate ex-Features Editor from The Singapore Women’s Weekly, and former luxury brand marketer with regional beauty empire, Luxasia, thrives on work that provides her with purpose. With her proven portfolio and industry connections, Candy has a natural knack for creating synergy in a highly fragmented world.

In 2012, the dynamic mum-of-three was recognised with a Merit Award (Editorial) by the Magazine Publisher’s Association, for her hard-hitting feature which threw the spotlight on the issue of child sexual abuse.

Head over to The Editor’s Journal to read articles contributed by Candy.

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