It is evident from the joy that she radiates as she talks about her daughter that Chryseis Tan loves being a mother. “She is so independent,” she says with a laugh, before elaborating on why she describes the one-and-a-half-year-old as such.
Little Arianna Kyla, she explains, is so accustomed to seeing mummy and daddy (Chryseis’ husband of four years, SM Faliq SM Nasimuddin) leave for work daily that the toddler will simply coolly bid them goodbye when they leave the house – no teary farewells for this independent girl.
Taking care of a child while running her various business ventures is no easy feat without help from others, be it from a family member or a hired staff, Chryseis admits. “Honestly, help is so important, I’m not going to discredit that,” she says, at the same time expressing her admiration not just for working mothers who multitask but also mothers who choose to focus on being stay-at-home mums.
“There’s no right or wrong, it really depends on the individual. Being a mum is also a full-time job and please don’t discredit that, it is not easy taking care of a child. If you are able to multitask, if you can do it, go for it,” she encourages women who are deliberating starting a family while also building a successful business.
It would do well to heed Chryseis’ advice on entrepreneurism. Born into a business-oriented family, she has proven time and time again that she has the chops to build a business or two from the ground up. When not working on the upcoming Four Seasons in Okinawa, one of the projects in Japan that Berjaya Corp Berhad – the Malaysia-based conglomerate founded by her father Tan Sri Vincent Tan – has in the pipeline, she can be found giving her all to her F&B and beauty ventures. As the head and founder of the Curate Group, she is looking at adding four more outlets to the company’s repertoire, which currently comprises seven restaurants including Sushi Den, Park Grill and Bar Shake.
She also has plans to grow the offerings of LUMI Beauty, the beauty brand she launched in September 2020, alongside expanding the brand’s presence in Southeast Asia and other parts of Asia. “I think we will try to do physical stores,” she mulls, as the brand is only available online at the moment. “We’ll start with Malaysia first. We’ll do it step by step.”
For Chryseis, who is turning 34 this coming October, her entrepreneurial journey began during her teen years. She recalls being assigned to the science stream class after scoring straight A’s in her PMR (the now-abolished Malaysian public examination for lower secondary students) but she rejected this to pursue commerce.
There’s no denying that entrepreneurship is in her blood. She names her business tycoon father as one of her biggest inspirations. “All my father talks about at dinner is business,” she shares with a smile. “He always tells us to be persistent. Even if you think your business is failing, don’t give up. He had so many businesses that were losing money for years but he managed to break even and after that, they did well. He always tells us that we just have to persevere and try to make the best out of the situation.”
Her mother, Puan Sri Esther Tan, is someone she similarly looks up to. “Without her, I wouldn’t be who I am today. She always encourages me. She tells me to just go with what I feel. That’s what I would like to teach my daughter, too. Go with what she feels and just take up any challenges that come to her. Don’t be afraid. Never fear failing because failing is always the first step to success.”
Does this mean Chryseis is grooming Arianna to be an entrepreneur as well? The little girl is her “mini-me”, after all, which she admits as much. “Everyone knows she looks exactly like my husband. But character-wise, she’s like me. She likes to go out, she’s more outgoing. But it’s funny, when she goes out, she’s a bit quiet. Yet when she’s home, she wants to go out,” she chuckles.
She additionally shares that she would love to launch a baby product range with her daughter. “I’ve always wanted to do baby products but, of course, I thought, the right time is when I have a kid. This is something I would like us to build together, like a mummy-daughter thing. I hope in the future, she will take on the business.”
However, this doesn’t mean that a future in entrepreneurship is set in stone for little Arianna, as Chryseis adds, “But even if she doesn’t like to do business, it’s completely fine. I just want her to be happy and let her do whatever she likes. Because we have to move on from back in the day when your parents told you what to do; be a doctor, be a lawyer. We have to move on from that stigma. I would like her to do what she enjoys in the future because the most important thing is for her to be happy.”
(Main image: Serpenti Viper earrings and Serpenti Viper necklace from BVLGARI; Outfit from LOUIS VUITTON)
This cover story first appeared in Prestige Malaysia’s March 2022 issue. Read the full story and e-mag for free on Magzter.