Christabel Chua’s Entrepreneur Journey

Let’s be real – we’ve all met our fair share of bad friends. Whether it’s caused by contrasting personalities or actions that were uncalled for, there will always be people who we just can’t seem to vibe with.

However, amidst all that drama, there are bound to be a couple of good ones who we can fully trust and open up to. Just ask Christabel Chua, who counts the likes of Winnie Ong, Sophia Chong and Judith Lee as her inner circle.

Read on as Christabel, otherwise known as @bellywellyjelly on Instagram, opens up about her journey as a female entrepreneur and the importance of having healthy friendships and a strong support system to succeed.

Starting her own business, kāi and dealing with haters

You might be familiar with Christabel as an influencer, but she is also no stranger to the business world as she runs kāi, a successful online store selling cute drinkware, cases and pouches among other adorable lifestyle products. 

bellywellyjelly kaiSource

She started her business with one humble goal in mind — spreading positivity. Through her work that is designed with motifs like smiley faces and flowers, she hopes to remind people that they are not alone and to cheer them up with her creations. 

However, like most other business owners, the start is always the hardest. Christabel struggled with a lot of problems initially, like logistical issues and maintaining client relations alone.

“Wanting to create a brand of my own also meant not having a playbook to learn from, or other peers to bounce ideas off. Failure was always top of mind, and I was constantly having to think five steps ahead while wearing many hats,” she shared.

kai.co singaporeChristabel and her team
Source

Having no one to reference resulted in mostly a one-woman job. That was until she gradually found her own team of hardworking individuals to journey along with her. Expanding kāi helped her learn to let go and to delegate responsibilities, which in turn, gave her the headspace to get creative and focus on moving the brand forward.

As a female entering a male-dominated industry of retail, it was also a challenge to make a name for her brand. She had to sacrifice her social life, family time, and personal “me” time in order to work on her business.

Despite that, she made it a point to be constantly surrounded by fellow inspiring females — be it clients, her team, fellow collaborators or content creators, to help lift each other up.

That doesn’t mean it comes without haters. She spills, “Of course, I have had my fair share of naysayers who believe that “influencers” know nothing about running a business. I always remind myself to stay focused on my goals and not to let such talk dampen my spirits or impede my progress.”

Having a good support system through friendships

Apart from the many staff who have helped her throughout her journey as an entrepreneur, Christabel is especially grateful to have also found a group of trustworthy females to count as her squad.

bellywellyjelly friendsChristabel and her friends at a hotel party
Image courtesy of Christabel

When asked what her definition of a good support system is, Christabel says “it means surrounding myself around people with positive energy”. Her BFFs, which consist of Winnie Ong, Sophia Chong and Judith Lee, are living proof of just that.

They were all brought together by Sophia years back. Since then, they spent more time together developing a special bond that has overlapped their personal and professional lives. According to Christabel, they even reached a point when they were spending almost every evening together.

christabel chua friendsImage courtesy of Christabel

Like good friends do, they have seen each other at their lowest and at their highest. As a short getaway, they even travelled to Seoul together to celebrate multiple occasions like Judith’s hen’s night and spending time with Sophia before her long-term visit back to China.

Christabel truly believes that we all need support from one another, and that we can achieve greater things individually as one sisterhood. Finding your own group of trusted friends is extremely important as they can help you get out of a rut.

“Communication is key, especially when we evolve through different phases of life. Understanding that a friend will not behave the same over time but some key pillars will remain is important,” she shared.

Through many life experiences and being under the scrutiny of the public eye, she has realised the true importance of having real friends, which has only made her a stronger person and a better entrepreneur.

Translating supportive friendships to her collaboration with Kotex Singapore

christabel chua kotex singaporeImage courtesy of kāi by bellywellyjelly and Kotex Singapore

You could say good friendsare like sanitary pads. They support you through challenging, painful moments.  

Which is why in Christabel’s recent collaboration with Kotex Singapore, she featured all three of her gal pals in the Unstoppable Together campaign to encourage other females to find their own trusted community of empowered friends and build a support system as they work towards their goals together.

kai bellywellyjelly kotexImage courtesy of kāi by bellywellyjelly and Kotex Singapore

Through her brand, kāi, she has designed a limited-edition functional tote bag with a design that is inspired by her girl squad. With the tagline “Unstoppable Together” front and centre on the bag, she hopes that it will serve as a way for users to keep organised and remind them to be unafraid and bold with their friends by their side.

kai by bellywellyjellyImage courtesy of kāi by bellywellyjelly and Kotex Singapore

The tote bag has two side pockets, and has a slot for users to hold their water bottle. There is also a D-ring on the side so they can attach a bag strap to their liking. 

You can get this chio bag, worth S$38.80, for free when you purchase at least $20 worth of Kotex Products including the Kotex Luxe range from now till 21 September 2022 at selected retail outlets or while stocks last.

Christabel’s Experience Shows Us That A Good Support System Is Pivotal For Growth

We all need friends to get through life with. Whether it is celebrating a huge milestone or opening up about your concerns, friends are the perfect avenue to do just that.

Like Phoebe Buffay once said in the TV show Friends about her besties, “boyfriends and girlfriends will come and go, but this is for life.” Finding the right group of friends will take some trial and error but once you get there, it will all be worth it.

Cover: Image courtesy of Christabel Chua, Source