Vivian Toh, 30

Vivian Toh, 30

Co-Founder, Tsubaki Studio and CutOut magazine

My family upbringing was vital in shaping who I am today. I learned to be independent, listen before making judgments and make my own decisions. My father and I became very good friends when my mom was working abroad as a certified nurse. He taught me business skills since I was very little. We became each other’s pillar of support.

After I graduated with a bachelor’s degree, I did freelance writing for a publication for about a year before I moved on to bigger things. It was about the same time that my then boyfriend Jay Lim (now husband) brought up a very important issue – he was tired of being run over by office pressure and deadlines. I was also afraid I would have less quality time to spend with my family. I chose the entrepreneurial path and offered to help Jay build a new company. We set up our graphic design studio, TSUBAKI, in 2006. We also built CUTOUT magazine independently two years later. The rest is history.

When I was growing up, I wanted to be one of 3 things: a singer, a model or an air stewardess. Fast forward and I am now into the business of design and writing – so different from what I wished to be! I’m happiest when I see there’s progress in the things I do, and people acknowledging and supporting one another in the process. I learned along the way that I am unique in many ways – for example, my personality, my personal appearance, my smile, and my mind. I am at my happiest when I love myself. I always believe that if you want to be happy, go and create your own happiness.

This year I want to do more sharing about my knowledge, and let my passionate self shine through and inspire others. When I’m not working, I hope to be able to do more interesting projects, as I love to share and interact with the community. Remember that success is defined by you, not by other people. Don’t wait for opportunities to come knocking on your door; you create those opportunities. Blessed is the person who is grateful for every day.