Sunday, 11 March 2018

Be Your Own Hero

Today's post won't be on entrepreneurial or fitness related matters, but a bit more personal.

Shariff and I celebrated our one year (dating) anniversary yesterday. We have been somewhat private about our relationship. He won't be overly thrilled that I am sharing his photo here, but he will understand...I think! (Or at least I hope 😋 !!!)

For the longest time ever, I have been unlucky in love. I was dating someone that I was deeply in love with when I was in college but I broke up with him after I graduated because I had to move back home to Malaysia and he was based in the USA. This was in 2004 when I was 23 years old. Since then, I have been having the worst luck when it comes to men and relationships.

I hit rock bottom in 2014. I was engaged to be married to my Brazilian fiance. I was living and working in Sao Paulo, Brazil for two years and during that time, I met and fell in love with Thiago.

Tragedy struck in 2012 when my father passed away suddenly. In 2013, I made the decision to move back to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from Sao Paulo, Brazil to be closer to my grieving mom. Thiago and I have been dating for a year and I had prepared myself to tell him about my decision and the eventuality of ending out relationship when I had to finally move back.

When I broke the news to him, he took my breath away with his reaction when he got down on one knee and proposed to me. "I will follow you anywhere", he said.

I believed him.

We decided that it was best for me to go back to Malaysia first to settle in and spend time with my family before he came over. He also needed time to sort out work related matters and wanted to spend time with his family before the big move.

In mid-2013, I moved back to Malaysia. Thiago was to join me a year later. Everything was going fine and as the days went by, the time for him to move over to Malaysia became closer and closer.

One fine day, out of the blue, Thiago called me. He tearfully admitted that as time went by, the realization that he had to move over to Malaysia and to leave his family, friends, work and life in Brazil became more 'real'. He realized that he couldn't do it. "I'm sorry. It's off. The whole thing is off". And then he hung up and I never heard from him again.

I was completely devastated. I cried every day during the first month since hearing the news. I talked about this this in my TEDx Talk which I gave in December 2017. This talk also covers my recovery and how Fit Rebel came to be. You can watch the video below, if interested:

Once I bounced back and was my usual happy, bubbly self again, I got into another relationship. This relationship also only lasted one year and my failure to make it work broke me. Again.

One thing that you start to realized when the same pattern keeps repeating itself over and over again is that 'maybe it's something within me that needs to be examined and changed'.

A friend of mine suggested that I attend a 10-day silent meditation retreat to get away from it all, be still, dig deep, ask the right questions and sort myself out. And I did. I attended the 10-day Vipassana Meditation retreat.

This was one of the best things that I could have possibly done for myself at that time because I did exactly what I had to do:

Be Still
Dig Deep
Ask The Right Questions
Sort Myself Out

Since then, I realized many things about myself.

Because I was influenced by Disney cartoons, Hollywood, etc, I always felt like I wasn't enough and that I needed a man in my life to feel complete and happy. Whenever I was in a relationship, I expected my partner to make me happy. Like it was his responsibility.

It took me a while to realize that Jerry Mcguire's "You Complete Me" declaration shouldn't be taken too seriously when it comes to real life.

You are enough. And to expect someone else to make you happy is the most selfish and laziest thing a person could ever do because each person should be responsible for his or her own happiness.

I made the decision to work on myself. To find and do things that make me happy. To challenge myself. To grow into myself and find a path that fulfills me and makes me feel complete. And I did.

Getting to know yourself, being comfortable in your own skin, loving yourself and ultimately being happy by just knowing that you are enough isn't an easy journey. But it's worth it.

I recently came across this post and I could totally relate:

By the time I met Shariff, I promised that I would go into any new relationships with a different approach. That I wouldn't need my partner to make me happy or fulfilled because I can offer all those things to myself. But to help each other become better people and to bring out the best in each other.

And that is what this relationship has been like for the both of us. We could not be happier.

My journey was hard AF but I wouldn't change it for the world. I'm better and stronger because of it.

To everyone who is finding your way, trust the journey. Things will not always make sense at first. Life is unfair and can be hard, but keep on fighting the good fight and things will always turn around, sooner or later, one way or the other.

Monday, 5 March 2018

#OnceUponATime Collection

The upcoming collection has been one of the most challenging collections that I had to create so far.

In fact, it has been harder to create this collection compared to July 2017's 'Fantasy Collection' which was inspired by Game of Thrones. For that collection, we had some really imaginative pieces like a Dragon, Wolf, Raven, Weirwood tree (GOT fans would know this) and an abstract fire & ice (red & blue) piece. It took us foreverrr to come up with original, imaginative pieces that were inspired by that hit TV show.

The upcoming #OnceUponATime Collection is inspired by Disney Princesses and Popular Fables. Seems like we are taking longer than forever, due to the ambitious ideas that I have. The artworks that I wanted to create would be inspired by the following:
  • The Little Mermaid
  • Swan Lake
  • Tinkerbell
  • Rapunzel
  • The Last Unicorn
Since my batik artists managed to pull off a Game of Thrones inspired collection, I figured that they could pull off anything.

I was almost right. Kinda. Sorta. But not quite.

When we started designing for the #OnceUponATime Collection, our first few attempts weren't great.

Check out our very first mermaid sketch:

The Swan Lake piece wasn't great either.

I wasn't exactly thrilled with the results and figured that we needed to start over.

I decided to enlist the help of an old friend and extremely talented illustrator, Soefara Jafney.

There are no words in the dictionary that begins to describe this amazing young woman who produces jaw dropping artwork. Her passion is drawing girls. As soon as she was old enough to pick up a pencil and draw, she was the happiest and most creative when she was drawing girls. 

Check out some of Soefara Jafney's work below.

Here are her finished pieces:

Here are her doodles:

Crazy talented, isn't she?

With the help of Soefara, we got off to a new start for the #OnceUponATime collection. 

After weeks of trial and error (MANY errors, mind you!) we were finally nailing this collection.

Check out our Tinkerbell inspired piece below:

We seem to be hitting our stride and the Rapunzel piece which was just completed today looks really pretty too. We will not be revealing it today, muahaha! Stay tuned for moreeeeeeee!

For a peek at the collection of our art inspired leggings, click *HERE*

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Failure is the best!

"Failure is cool, necessary and the best to get to where you wanna be. Any failure is a step forward, and nothing else", said Lilly Singh to a roomful of smart, ambitious women at the #GIRLBOSS rally in LA recently.

My idol, Sophia Amoruso, who was moderating the discussion, allowed those words to sink in for a bit before she then said, "I agree". 

 Sophia Amoruso (left) with Lilly Singh (right) at the #GIRLBOSS rally in LA in March 2017

For those of you who have no idea what a #GIRLBOSS rally is, or who Lilly Singh and Sophia Amoruso are (and if you are remotely curious), do visit this site here:

In a nutshell, it's a portal for women who want to redefine success on their own terms. Their bi-annual event, the #GIRLBOSS rally discusses career, wellness, politics, sexuality, creativity, finance and more— for women to take ownership over their successes and lift each other up.

I've purchased a one year subscription to 'The Girlboss Academy' and it's amazing. Some podcast are more interesting that others although it's subjective as I'm mostly interested in their entrepreneurship related materials, and not really in their other stuff.

But anyhoo. I was watching this video to the part where Lilly mentioned that 'failure is the best', and was having mixed feelings about that comment.

For those who are regular customers on, you’ll know that I released a 'Fantasy Collection' which was inspired by the hit television fantasy drama series, Game of Thrones. This was in July 2017.

The artpieces which were created for this collection included a Dragon, Wolf, Raven, Red Tree and an abstract Fire & Ice artpiece. It was fantastic. People either loved it or they didn’t get it, but it definitely got attention and made heads turn.
 Farah in our 'Magic Dragon' Leggings from Seni by Fit Rebel's Fantasy Collection

After such a fierce collection, I made a decision that the next collection was gonna be more feminine and stereotypically beautiful. And what could be more feminine and beautiful that flowers, right?

I got to work on the Floral Collection. 5 pieces of artwork were commissioned but after prototyping, only 3 out of the 5 turned out really well. The Floral Collection is as below: 

The Floral Collection was launched on December 2017. I was very proud of this collection (as I am with ALL my collections) and was expecting them to sell like hot cakes, especially with all the shopping frenzy that happens around the Christmas season.
Only to find that... they didn’t end up selling all that well..

If I had to be completely honest, ever since the launch in December 2017, I have only sold 32 pairs of the Morning Glory leggings that you see down here.

32 pairs isn’t great. For comparison sake, approximately 200 pairs of the Fighting Fish leggings were sold within the first 3 months of it’s launch. 

So, selling only 32 pairs of the Morning Glory leggings meant that I sold 7 times less pairs compared to the Fighting Fish leggings.

I was crestfallen. To a certain extent, it didn’t feel fair that all my hard work went unappreciated.

In January 2018, I felt as if I didn’t have the drive to create a Spring 2018 Collection (for an April launch). I just felt like – if people weren’t buying my stuff, why should I even bother creating another collection so soon? I had half the mind to just wait for the Floral Collection to slowly sell out before I embarked on the creation of the next collection.

As all these thoughts and emotions were swirling within me, I stumbled upon the video mentioned above. Two women who were highly successful in their careers and conquering life both agreed that failure was great.

I just HAD to take a split second to reflect.

Perspective is everything, isn’t it?

After giving it a lot of thought and internalizing it, I realized that to be great, I have to make mistakes, so that I can learn how to be better.

The more failures I make, the more lessons I will learn and sooner or later, if I keep on moving forward with all the lesson, I WILL be great. 

I learnt from this experience that maybe the reason why the Floral Collection isn’t doing as well as expected was because flowers have been displayed on activewear extensively, and it wasn’t exactly unique or mind blowing or as spectacular as my previous works.

I also learnt that the reason why the Morning Glory Leggings weren’t selling as well as as I’d hope is because the background is white. Regardless of how gorgeous the design is, some women are wary of wearing white leggings as they are afraid that their underwear will show through. For those of you who have bought my previous Peacock leggings with a white background, you’ll know that the material is thick enough that your underwear will NOT be visible through the leggings. 

Unfortunately, I have an online store and customers cannot try on the leggings to learn about this for themselves. Therefore, I can keep on producing white leggings which may not sell as well as I’d like, or I can produce darker colors which will sell better. The choice is mine. Everything is an opportunity to learn.

When I managed to wrap the idea around my head that ‘failure is awesome’ I snapped out of my funk. I am currently working hard on a Spring 2018 Collection, scheduled for an April release. Here’s a sneak peek: 

I am VERY PROUD and VERY EXCITED for this collection. It’s gonna be (wait for it)... LEGENDARY! 😊

On to other matters... For regular followers of this blog, you may have noticed that I haven’t written a single word here in 2017. That’s because I was busy writing my very first book, “The Misfit Rebel”!

After my book was published, a series of serendipitous events lead me to meet and have coffee with a woman I highly admire, Marina Mahatir and I gave her the very first copy. It was so surreal.

The Misfit Rebel was launched in December 2017 and became an MPH Bestseller (local, non-fiction) by January 2018.

Me (middle, with a book on my head) with some of my favorite people in the world at the book launch of 'The Misfit Rebel' at MPH, 1Utama on 20 Dec 2017.

 The Misfit Rebel made it to MPH's weekly bestseller's list for local, non-fiction books

This book is essentially my story of how I left the corporate world to pursue my ambition to create the world’s most beautiful leggings to encourage women to workout more often and to lead healthier and happier lives. Essentially, it’s a tale revolving around the theme of pursuing your dreams fearlessly.

A series of random events has lead me to the decision to convert this book into a script to send to studios in Hollywood to be made into a movie. Very specifically, the studio that I am targeting is the one that was founded by Reese Witherspoon which creates content on female empowerment.

This may not go anywhere, but it sure seems like a helluva fun project to work on. And besides, you miss 100% of the shots that you don't take, so why not take just 1 (ONE) shot at this? 😊

Well, that’s all for today folks. So happy to be back and writing. Writing makes me happy and from the feedback that I have been getting, you guys seem to enjoy reading my random ramblings so everybody’s happy.

Will be writing more in 2018 and aiming for 2 posts a week, but it will depend on how much free time I have and how non-lazy-ish I feel.

Love you guysssssssssssssssssssssssssss!