career transitioner/ restarter
Founder & Cheongsam Designer, Qiqing Qipao
(In her 40's)
Her story (as shared by her nominator)
After being a stay-at-home mother for 10 years, Josephine decided to start her own cheongsam label at the age of 45. Josephine first attended a 13-module crash course at TaF.tc where she learnt more about fashion techniques and business in four months. She shared that she was completely clueless about cheongsam making prior to that, even though she's always been a cheongsam lover.
After completing the course, Josephine took up a 4-month internship before spending the next one and a half years doing cheongsam for free to gain the confidence to start her own label. Josephine named her label "Qi Qing" (旗情) which summarises her love for cheongsam in Chinese as it means "having eyes only on Cheongsam" (对旗袍情有独钟). She put a modern twist to her cheongsams and also focused on making her designs comfortable and versatile.
Josephine really loves her work. And it was a big sacrifice to stop work for her family and then to restart again. Very brave of her!
In her words:
Being able to confidently sew up a piece of cheongsam, especially with no background of sewing and fear of machines.
Biggest challenge thus far
The fear of restarting. It was not an easy step as compared to starting at 30s, when energy level, financial restrictions and family commitments are concerns. But now I’m really happy to have this new found passion. As for my business, I guess the biggest challenge was to be able to do virtual tailoring when it comes to customisation of cheongsams. It was about solving problems amid restrictions. I need to go through the whole process to realise it’s not that tough after all.
what judges say
Really had to learn a whole new industry - tapped on her previous skills and experience to create a new future for herself. Brave effort!