Every generation has a different way of standing out from those before them. When it comes to Generation Y, Javin They is definitely one of the many millennials out there to debunk the common stereotypes that society has towards these young adults.
Despite – or perhaps because of – coming from a single parent family, Javin founded Common Suits – a custom-made menswear fashion label – at the mere age of 26.
It began when a part time job during his university days required him to be constantly dressed up, exposing him to bespoke tailoring, which Javin feels has “something very magical and addictive.”
“It’s like that kind of feeling where you walk on the street, and people do a double-take. You feel very confident, as though nobody can put you down.”
In fact, it is exactly this passion for custom clothing which led the young entrepreneur to create Common Suits and take it to greater heights. He explains that millennials are often led to believe that by following your passion, the money will follow.
“Unfortunately, many of us don’t even know what we are passionate about to begin with, and by the time we do find it, someone else has beaten us to the idea.”
“What works for me is doing everything passionately instead. I believe that’s how I will develop the spirit of pursuing excellence. I think this may be the key for millennials, because only then will they appreciate what it takes to make things work,” Javin advices.
Becoming A Trendsetter
At the moment, while Common Suits strives to hit its business goals over the next few years, Javin also hopes to add a new twist to people’s idea of tailoring. While a large majority of people associate tailoring as an old man’s business, the trend has gradually started to shift worldwide these days.
It is his aim to modernise this trade and make it more appealing to the mass market.
When asked how he would define a successful entrepreneur, Javin humbly replied: “To me, there isn’t a day where an entrepreneur will ever find himself successful. An entrepreneur will always be on their toes, especially if they have been through hardship and poverty.”
“So if one day I feel successful, that’s when I will be contented, and not work as hard anymore. I do feel happy, but I don’t dare to deem myself successful.”
He adds: “You want to go fast, you go alone. You want to go far, you go with a team. Everybody has to work in a family, with the interests aligned.”
Javin had tried doing a one man show in the past, but had no control over quality, making it difficult for the business to thrive. However, he learnt that by having people take charge of different departments, and empowering them with a sense of ownership in the business helps the company to go further.
Lessons Learnt From Tough Times
The single-parent family background has its part to play in shaping the entrepreneur too. Facing a constant lack of financial security from young, it propelled Javin to want to achieve the other end of the spectrum in the things he does, so that he can provide for his family and its future generations.
How does Common Suits stay financially stable? Resourcefulness.
“Being savvy and meticulous will not make your company very rich, but it is essential for the survival period. For example, if you have a dollar now, would you buy buttons, or fabric? I would buy fabric, because you can actually make a profit out of it by changing it into trousers and suits.”
“What’s always on my mind is ‘how do you spend one dollar like it’s three?’” Javin explains.
Grandmother As An Inspiration
Surprisingly, he does not model after another entrepreneur out there in the market. Instead, the young man looks up to his grandmother.
“My grandmother went through a lot of hardship to raise her children. She learnt to manage her finances and made many sacrifices for the family. These traits of hers shaped and moulded me to view hardship as a teacher. To think of it as part of the process and embrace it.”
“Hence, if business were to go badly, I would rather not take a salary than to fire my workers. It’s about sacrificing yourself to ensure the company is able to function.”
For aspiring entrepreneurs, Javin advices to be mentally prepared for the hard work and suffering to come. “When you are too afraid to fail, you become too conservative in your execution, and you don’t dare to try new things,” he adds.