Former beauty queen, Lee Yvonne is a ball of fire when it comes to her passion!
Hi Yvonne! Tell us more about yourself.
Hello! My name is Lee Yvonne and I am not your average one trick pony. I am an emcee, host, model, entrepreneur, and a wanderlust. I take pride in my work because when I’ve set my mind on doing something that I am passionate about, I give it my all.
Describe yourself in 1 sentence!
I am a real ball of fire.
Let’s talk about your latest venture, Zarrel! How did your company started out? Have you always been interested in fashion?
I’ve always had a thing for fashion. I started my own blog shop when I was 22, but 3 years into the business, I decided to close it down because I got too exhausted running the whole show on my own. When I started venturing more into hosting, modeling and having my own talent management company, I didn’t have enough time to focus on my e-commerce business. It was a shame that I had to close it down.
Being in the entertainment industry, people tend to have certain expectations of us. We are expected to look good and dress well all the time and that is where my perpetual problem comes into the picture; always running out of clothes to wear.
I have always wondered how cool it would be if there was a service that offered an infinite wardrobe to ladies who are always on the go, want to look and feel great all the time, but without breaking the bank.
So, when my partners, Ken and Sue Jinn approached me 2 months ago and explained the concept of Zarrel to me, I quickly jumped at the chance because I could really relate to the subscribers who use our service.
Zarrel is the first Infinite Fashion Closet Subscription in Malaysia. Its a partnership between myself, Ken and Sue Jinn. The 3 of us are the key figures attending to our respective roles to roll-out this solution to ladies who are in need of more clothes.
Basically, Zarrel offers its subscribers a wide range of clothing on a loan basis by paying a fixed monthly subscription fee. It aims to provide a solution to ladies who dream of having a massive wardrobe to play with and are constantly keeping up with the latest fashion trends without having to spend a bomb.
Share with us how the name ‘Zarrel’ came about! Any interesting moments thus far?
Zarrel came from the word, ‘apparel’. In brief, Ken, my partner, has always been intrigued by how powerful words are especially when they are used to profoundly express our feelings. The letter Z is magical to us because if you flip through the dictionary, you would realise that there are not many words that start with the ‘Z’ alphabelt. Hence, making it rare and special, just like the concept that Zarrel is offering!
What is your vision for Zarrel?
One of the ways to express ourselves is through the way we dress. Your clothing choices reflect how you feel about yourself. We want to empower ladies by offering them an infinite closet where they can step out of their comfort zones and be adventurous with styles they have never explored before.
Any advice for aspiring business owners like yourself?
Do not belittle any opportunity. Even the smallest rock adds height to the tallest mountain in the world. Also, it is very important to stay grounded and humble no matter how much you have achieved in life. Remember and appreciate the good things that people have done for you and always be ready to reach out and help people who are in dire need of support and encouragement.
Do not forget that everybody starts from the bottom just like how you and I did, and therefore, it is important to help those who want to help themselves.
As Miss World Malaysia ’12, tell us more about the beauty pageant industry. Was it a fun ride?
Hell yeah! It was one of the best times of my life. A free holiday to a country I’ve never visited before and staying with a bevy of beauty queens from all over the world, is like a dream come true!
Sadly, the pageant world is heavily misportrayed by people especially the media.
It is not as catty as what most people would like to think. To be honest, I actually found the good in people through my experience at Miss World. Genuine friendships were formed during my 5-week stay at Ordos, China with over 120 beauties from all around the world which I still keep in touch with over Facebook. These strong and empowering beauty queens taught me so many things which I didn’t see in myself and know I was capable of. From them, I learned of my self-worth and understood myself better as a woman. It is vital for women to stick together to lift each other up to make real differences in the world.
You are a model, emcee and entrepreneur – how do you juggle your time?
Well, it’s tough to juggle between so many things at once. I can be pretty ambitious at times and try to seize every opportunity that comes my way. That being said, it is also very important to keep your life balance in check and take only what you can manage because you don’t want to end up being all over the place and not delivering or performing at your optimum level. Setting your priorities right is also crucial for your own time management.
Do you have any life mottos?
Yes, I do. I live by this motto by Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group.
“If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later.”
Tell us how is a day in your life like?
I treat every day as a brand new day – a chance to start all over again as it presents a different kind of opportunity for me. If you really want to know how I normally kick start my day, let me share with you.
I am always running around like a headless chicken because I try to squeeze in as many meetings or activities that I can in a day. Time is never enough and I wish we had more hours in a day.
Usually, my day begins with a trip to my favourite hawker stall located just right outside my condo. I will take away mixed rice and eat while I drive. (I know it’s a dangerous practice and it’s a habit I’m trying to get rid of :P)
I am always on the go; rushing from one meeting to another, therefore, having food or snacks stored in my car is important to give me the energy to keep going especially when I am braving the traffic.
After a hectic day at work, I like to wind down at home by listening to some oldies or lounge music and have a cup of coffee while enjoying my own privacy and company.
Who is your main inspiration?
People who never give up no matter how many times they have fallen.
Where do you see yourself in 2 years’ time?
Like they all say, life is unpredictable. I can’t tell you where I’ll be in the next 2 years, but what I can tell you is, I will definitely be a better version of myself in 2019! 🙂
What is the ideal weekend for you?
Exploring a new country or chilling at home, pigging out and watching some series on my laptop.
Tell us what makes you smile the most?
Seeing my parents smile from cheek to cheek over the most random things.