Owing to her well upbringing to her single mother, Koh Tsae Woon has always devoted herself running her family business in a hardware trading company with her mother for the last fifteen years in Kota Bahru Kelantan. Never has she thought, her tough and rugged daily work routine would take a drastic transition when she decided to create a soft and subtle birthday party theme for her daughter two years ago. This is how Koh Tsae Woon, the founder of The Pastel Diaries reminiscent her 360’ life-changing in her recent interview with WargaBiz.
Pursuing her passion
Growing up running the family business alongside her mother after her Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia (STPM) would see her bruising her legs and arms, chipping her unpolished fingernails when handling metals tools, heavy machinery equipment and running back and forth doing the stock checking. Woon’s decision to pursue her passion for designing and creating party-theme products has had her mother sceptical. “My mother never doubted my passion and my talent in creating something beautiful which is on the contrary of daily job routine, it is the thought that I would eventually leave our family business that worries her,” says Woon describing her early obstacles when starting out her new business project.
The story of how The Pastel Diaries started
The idea of fulfilling her new dream came about when she organised her daughter’s birthday party with a theme of a pastel-coloured unicorn. Everybody was astonished by her delightful ideas in creating such imaginative party paper bags and door gifts with the pastel-coloured imaginary unicorn as her trademark. When her friends asked for her favour to design for their children’s party theme, the word of mouth spread out and gradually saw her making good business through her imaginative ideas.
She uses unicorn as her trade mark in all her designs because it resembles magic and borderless imagination. “I see unicorn as an animal that can exist in a shape that you want it to be, you can have it in whatever colour you want it to be, even down to the shape of its horn. Her new ideas get many attentions among the young children, teenagers and also the parents around Kelantan. Knowing the importance of social media, she started building her networking with several young artists such as Esstee Puteri and recently Neelofa, a well-known celebrity cum businesswoman herself from the entertainment industry.
Expanding the offerings
Woon’s imaginative creativity translates in all her designs ranging from beautiful diaries, schedule planners, pencil clips, holders and covers, notebooks and party paper bags that come in various sizes, pastel colours and shapes. Taking advantage of today’s social media as her business platform, customers can find her in Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Her iconic unicorn Pastel Diaries business has gained many lovers and followers even outside Kelantan and Pastel Diaries’ products can now be purchased at Shopee, an online shopping platform.
“My mother never doubted my passion and my talent in creating something beautiful.”
Despite her business is doing so well, surprisingly she does not even own an official office for Pastel Diaries business. “This is what so great about doing online business, I save a lot on office rental and have all the transactions and delivery be made either directly from home or at my mother hardware stores.”
Family business is still her top priority
Even though Woon’s daily routines have changed tremendously for the better, she is determined not to sideline her responsibilities to her family business. “I love my mother very much, she has worked and sacrificed so much for all of us, I will always be by her side through thick and thin. Taking it from my mother, I have always been a very positive person, always believe in my dreams, I can always be successful in my own business while ensuring my family business will still be on top among my priorities” says Woon in determination.
“I am more than content and confident to have my husband by my side to constantly, without fail, giving me support and guide me competently in running my business.”
Juggling between two completely different trades of business is not an easy responsibility, Woon is blessed with a husband who is a businessman and entrepreneur himself. “I am more than content and confident to have my husband by my side to constantly, without fail, giving me support and guide me competently in running my business.”
Making people happy through her creativity
“I know I am on the right track in managing my business when I realise many of my customers would prefer to contact me personally when making purchases rather than through online. I am even more grateful when they say they just love to have a real conversation with me when doing business because I make them feel special and give them a sense of belonging. This is to me, the real meaning of success in running my business. The profit you earn is just another reward for making other people happy with the things you do. What you give, you get back” says Woon while enthusiastically is already planning to set up a website for her business to ensure her new legacy will make a mark internationally.