Moving to Shenzhen

I took a crazy leap of faith and moved to Shenzhen, China.

Leaving my profession

Back in 2015, I left my comfortable and stable job as a pharmacist to pursue my web design business full time. Matt and I established our web design agency RubyCoded in 2014 and the business was enough to make sure we won’t go hungry.

Since then, some friends have remarked at how brave it was to make such a career switch. It looks like an easy decision but it actually took me two years of hesitation before I plucked up the courage to do so.

Being self-employed was filled with uncertainties. Will I have enough to feed myself? Would this business take off? How long can I sustain this? All sorts of doubts filled my mind before I made the leap, but since doing so, I came to realise that the fears were unfounded. That was what some of my friends who have taken the leap kept telling me.

“Just do it. What’s the worst that could happen?”

Instead of being afraid and anxious, I was kicking myself for not having taken that leap of faith earlier. It felt like I was afraid of a creepy shadow, only to realise that the I was the one casting the shadow.

Going to Shenzhen

Web design work took me to Shenzhen for a photoshoot for a client. That was my first trip to China, and I was drawn to the city. My initial impression of Shenzhen was that it seems like the perfect blend of Malaysia and Singapore.

Doors open when you take chances. Take your chances when doors open. One thing led to another. Matt and I found ourselves given the opportunity to start a cafe in Shenzhen. We jumped on it and grew the Flight 151 from four staff to team of 30.

“Doors open when you take chances. Take your chances when doors open.”

Running our own cafe was a steep learning curve for both of us but we learnt a lot within a short period of time. The cafe did well but due to certain circumstances, we decided to move on from Flight 151.

I joined a startup working on consumer electronics after I left the cafe. It was a completely new industry for me. Another steep learning curve, but I soaked it all up like a sponge. I love tech and the electronics industry. That’s why I write on BakingPixel. Yet it was a completely different thing looking from inside out rather than outside in.

Product development

I immersed myself in all aspects of the supply chain, including industrial design, product development, supply chain management, product compliance, developing new clients, relationship management, marketing, and logistics.

This is just a very general overview of the various aspects of getting a product from concept to the hands of a consumer. I had no prior experience in most of this work so I had to learn fast.

I was lucky to be part of a team that has many experts who I can learn from. An award winning product designer, who has several prestigious Red Dot and Red Star awards to his name, led our industrial design team. A veteran engineer headed the manufacturing team, bringing ingenious solutions through his expertise as an inventor.

We also have a team of software developers. I got to develop an app, working on the initial concept, UI and UX, and then overseeing the app development and testing stages.

My training as a pharmacist and years of working experience in the retail and service sector helped me immensely as well.

Brand strategy

As I worked on more projects, I realised my true passion lies in building brands and product lines. Rather than pouring all my time and energies into developing a couple of products, I now work on the product development in a consultancy role. This allows me to give input on several concurrent projects while concentrating on creating brand strategies.

“Life puts us on paths that sometimes double back to previous roads.”

I’m now working full time on RubyCoded. Instead of providing only web design services, we now help clients build brands that consumers love.

We provide branding and marketing services with an emphasis on innovative new products. We create new brands or refresh existing ones. We also manage the online presence of the brands.

RubyCoded distributes products for brands we manage. We also provide sourcing services for many other products. Get in touch if you are interested to find out more.

Shenzhen beyond 2020

I have many stories about Shenzhen to share, and many awesome places to recommend. With Shenzhen bring named as the second of Lonely Planet’s top 10 cities to visit in 2019, I foresee an influx of tourists in the year ahead.

If you are interested in visiting this beautiful city, stay tuned for more articles about this city that I’ve now come to call home.

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