LATELY I’ve been spending my time on the road listening to a lot of podcasts. Most explore funny, inspiring and sometimes heart-breaking tales of life, work and love.
Unexpectedly, as I began listening to Heart Of It by Estee Lalonde, Unstyled by Refinery 29, Pardon My French by Garance Dore and Girlboss Radio by Sophia Amoruso, my heart and ears gravitated to this motherhood 101 podcast called I Don’t Know How She Does It!.
To be honest, I get a lot of comments and remarks from people around me asking “How do you do it all, Min?”.
Truth is, I don’t do it all. Many people think I do. They ask how I handle being a mum and wife while coping with my demanding celebrity clients, my YouTube channel (KL Fashion Police show), my designing work, my fashion trips and my upcoming projects.
Another addition to my almost overflowing plate is my fashion podcast, co-hosting with Mr Stailista for podcast portal Ais Kacang. Fuh!
When I started out seriously as a stylist five years ago, I was just fresh from the marriage boat, living with my in-laws and life was all about work.
Now that I’ve had my first baby and moved into my own house/home-office, things have started to get heavy.
I thought I could do it all, from cleaning my 140-square-metre house and making dinner to catching up with work...and still be 100 per cent in every other aspect of my life. But I was driving myself insane.
While I kept going, my eczema got worse because I was extremely stressed out. I had no one to talk to. I also hated talking about work after work hours.
I felt that talking to other people about my feelings wouldn’t help and was a waste of energy. I believed that every bit of my time was best spent resting.
Every morning I would get nose bleeds and my body ached in different areas. I knew something was wrong but I couldn’t stop the “train”, unless I jumped out of it. Which would have been the death of MINLUNAONSET in the fashion industry.
Then, as I was curating rock legend Ella’s Malaysian Philharmonic concert look, I realised that if I wanted a healthy balanced life, I had to stop and ask for help.
I kept reminding myself that the most important thing in the world was my family.
My family members would always make chicken soup for me and would never say no to caring for my baby when I needed to attend a 5pm meeting or a late night Neelofa fitting.
On the other hand, my clients would never ever care if I fell sick or that the designer who was supposed to finish their dress had been hospitalised or that my assistant’s car had broken down in the middle of nowhere.
All these dramas were re-enacted in the 24-hour WhatsApp group I had with my troops (sounds like a lot of them but I only have two extra brains or “assistants”).
The ones who paid my bills only cared in the ensemble and when it would arrive in my wardrobe room.
No one can blame them. It’s merciless because that’s how the world works. I know now that to be the best that I can be, I need help and it’s okay to ask for help.
It doesn’t make me a weak person. It just means I’m being smart with time management and learning to be a good leader, to be the kind of boss that employees like.
I recently attended a business seminar organised by emerging celebrity entrepreneur Fizo Omar. I was amazed at his awesome speaking skills and inspiring start-up business stories.
In my mind, I had all those questions on pursuing my “girlboss” dream — what is it that prevents us from doing something we love? Fear of failure? Not knowing how to pay the bills? How does one wake up every morning and not feel miserable?
Like a Jedi, Fizo reveals that the fate of your business is in your hands and all my questions will be answered only by taking on the journey.
As I am writing this, I realise it is kind of like talking to myself, reflecting on the good and the bad that has been going on in the past years and how far my journey has taken me — like, for example, landing me a spot in a coveted newspaper!
Ultimately, a good mogul should know the perfect formula for balancing a happy life with a healthy bank account.
In my case, it’s also about how to avoid burn-out, which 95 per cent of the time is the result of repeatedly doing things that I don’t like to do, for instance, going to fashion shows, events or launches that take up a lot of my energy and momentum.
So I have stopped going to any such events this year and I feel way better. I think I’m just too honest to fake it and say “Hiiiii. OMG how are you, I’m so happy to see you, let’s take a selfie!” to a person who treats their staff badly or to a social influencer who is so full of herself or to a label maker that only cares about profit rather than great designs.
All these things in the crazy rat race are so destructive. There is a need to always stay relevant and to constantly remind people you are around so that your name comes up when the next job collaboration comes around.
At the end of the day, I just want to be happy, healthy and creative. For me, work is part of that. Even though I’m still adjusting/remixing the formula for a balanced life, I look forward to a long, creative and rewarding adventure.
Fashion stylist Min Luna can be seen regularly on local top celebrities’ IG stories because for them, she is a style magician. She styled two shows at KLFW2017. She is currently shooting #klfashionpolice with Mr. Stailista for her upcoming YouTube project. Follow her @minluna on Instagram for live show updates https://www.instagram.com/minluna/.