As part of our inspiration series, we asked our #OraEraFam to share their stories, the challenges that they faced along the way, and how they overcame them in pursuit of their passion. We kick these series off with Camille Co, with whom we had the pleasure to talk. Camille is a fashion, beauty, lifestyle, and travel influencer, who started off as a fashion blogger, and who became a designer and entrepreneur along the way. She incorporates all of our Ora Era values: she's authentic, passionate, and fun. We highly recommend you to check out her YouTube and other social channels, which are linked down at the bottom of the page. But now let's dive into it and hear what Camille has to share.
I never thought I'd be in the fashion industry. I grew up in a traditional and conservative household, so I thought I'd probably have to go the corporate route once I graduate. During my senior year at university, I decided to start my own online fashion brand with my sister - nothing too serious, just something we'll do on the side before I go off to the real world. We started out by selling accessories we bought from abroad. Then eventually, I started designing clothes for our own brand. Local magazines started featuring our brand. Then we went on to join bazaars and pop-ups until we got approached by malls to open our store. Everything happened so organically. I slowly realized our brand was no longer a hobby so I pushed and convinced my parents I could make this work. My being a blogger was actually because of my brand as well. I wanted to promote my designs the most cost-efficient way possible. That time, Lookbook and Chictopia were the best platforms for fashion bloggers so I joined - purely for my brand. But then fashion and dressing up were always something I enjoyed so I eventually started posting my own looks as well. Little did I know that what started as just a side product of my brand would later take over and actually become my bread and butter.
I think the biggest challenge was accepting that I can no longer do both - designing and blogging. When my blog took off, I switched from retail to made-to-order designs for my brand. I had my in house staff with me, which made me less production heavy and allowed for more time for me to really fine-tune the designs and choose my appointments. But this switch still wasn't enough. My blogging career was getting busier and busier plus I joined a few more startups as I became interested in other business opportunities as well. I realized I was spreading myself too thinly.
People always tell us if there's a will, there's a way which makes us think we're some sort of superwoman who CAN do it all. I mean yes, in other aspects or different circumstances, this may be the case but sometimes, you just got to know when to stop. Sometimes, when you pull the plug on something, you allow something far bigger to flourish. And that's what I learned. I had to choose. I had to make smart decisions for the path I'm forging.
Make smart choices and stand by them. It may seem scary. It may seem risky. But they'll pay off eventually. You can start small like me and work your way up. You don't have to go big right away. This way, you can somehow manage your fears while taking the first step towards making your dream come true. The hardest part is making the first step. You're on your way!