Unfolding the Future

Unfold the future: Sofie Chandra, co-founder of Studio 155


Unfold the future: Sofie Chandra,
co-founder of Studio 155

Sofie Chandra wears many hats; managing her remarkable social media presence, her role as the captain of #adidasrunnerssg and running her very own Social Media and Marketing Agency, Studio 155. We had a chat with Sofie to learn about her journey from an enviable career in Singapore’s iconic entertainment institution to that of being a full-fledged entrepreneur.
How did your journey begin?
I had been doing the same thing for over 10 years and craved to pursue something on my own. It took me about a year to convince myself to leave a stable job that I had poured my life into. I felt it was the right move for me albeit a scary one to start a completely new venture. To literally start a business from scratch, there are things I didn’t know we had to worry about like setting up a business premise, recruiting manpower, planning employee benefits, setting up a finance system, getting a reliable digital security network and so on. Also, I had to adjust my mindset from being an employee to leading a team of talents that I rely on heavily to produce the best work for our clients.

What was the greatest lesson you have learnt from starting your own business?
There are days when we asked ourselves if everything was worth it and if we had made the wrong decision. It was rough going at the beginning and we were bringing home close to nothing for months! The temptation to just quit and go back to earning a steady, comfortable paycheck popped up every now and then. But we never gave up and kept on hustling. Fast forward 2.5 years later and we now have an amazing team, our own office and reputable brands on retainer such as Tao Group Hospitality, the owner of Marquee Singapore. So, always put your heart into whatever you do. The clients would know if you are doing it just for the money or if you are actually 100% invested in your work and their brand.

What has been the best life lesson you have learnt from this experience?
Knowing where and when to draw the line so you are not taken advantage of. I’m still learning because it takes years of experience to know how to manage situations where being too nice makes you an easy target. In the beginning, we ran into a few issues like companies stealing our proposed ideas and being burnt out from after-hours networking obligations. It is important to always prioritise your well-being. When in doubt, don’t discount the help or advice from people who care about you.

Have you rewritten any rules?
Being a leader does not mean you have to be the best in the team. As a run captain, people expect me to be the fastest runner when that’s far from the truth. I am not afraid to share my weaknesses and struggles with the team because you have to be human first before you are a leader and that helps motivate your team mates to compete better.
What does the word ‘success’ mean to you?
I define success as happiness – happy doing what I’m doing right now is an accomplishment.

How would you sum up your life’s philosophy?
Always be honest and do everything with your heart.

What is your style must-have?
Technology in general, especially my Z Flip! It gives me the flexibility to manage my schedule, routines and business anywhere, which is important in today’s climate. Of course, it has to look good when I pull it out of my handbag or throw it up for a selfie!

How has technology changed your life?
I am not that tech-savvy but I have to admit the new devices in the market are pretty straightforward to use even for a non-techy person like me. Technology impacts every aspect of our lives now from our routines, meetings, trainings and socialising. One has to get better at adapting to it and leveraging it for success.
What trend or developing area are you keeping tabs on?
With the ever-evolving social media trends, I’m always on the lookout for anything new I can apply to improve my work or my life in general. I constantly want the agency to produce extraordinary work for our clients.

Can creative people be entrepreneurs?
Perhaps. Not every creative person has a business mindset which is essential if one wants to become a successful entrepreneur. My business partner is more creative than me so together we make a perfect team! In fact, the reason we named the agency Studio 155 was because both my partner and I stand at 155cm in height. How creative is that!

In the digital age, is social media fame really necessary for all entrepreneurs?
It’s relative. You can still be successful without any digital footprint. But it helps to know where your prospects are online be it on LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook and set up a presence there. You have to know even if you don’t want to be all in.

What does “Unfold the Future” mean to you?
The need to constantly improve and innovate so we create a better version of what we have in the present.

Follow Sofie Chandra on Instagram and find out more about Studio 155 here.
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