Stay True To What You Believe In

The Malaysian Women's Weekly
April 15, 2007

“Stay true to what you believe in.”
Wendy Lor, 40s, Jewellery designer

Can you succeed without compromising on your personal beliefs? Yes, says Wendy Lor. She faced a challenge when she decided to follow her father and grandfather’s footsteps and become a jeweller: her unique artistic ideas were untested and new to the market. Even her father was baffled. “When he saw my designs, he asked, ‘What’s that?’.”

Despite the risk of bucking tried-and-tested conventions, she believed that as an artist, she had to interpret her vision honestly. After graduating with a Visual Arts degree, she did an apprenticeship at a jewellery-making factory to learn the ropes. Her salary was a humbling RM350 per month, but she hung on and today, she is one of the few jewellers who knows the entire manufacturing process by heart.

Tenacity Pays Off

Today, WendyLorArtisans’ offbeat gold and silver creations (wedding bands shaped like a bowl and plate, anyone?) are widely admired for their wit and originality. In fact, a random encounter showed her the way to address the lack of resources.

At a book shop, she struck up a conversation with a young man who shared her passion for jewellery making, but lacked the knowledge to develop his skills further. Ignoring the fact that he was a school dropout, she took him in as an apprentice. “It was more important to me that he was sincere about learning.” Following her instincts paid off: he is now her trusted factory manager.

The experience showed her how even through the simplest action, we all have the power to impact other people’s lives meaningfully. So instead of guarding her skills jealously, she has made the “teach and share” philosophy an integral part of her business. “After all,” she says, “I’ve come this far because I stayed true to what I believed in.”

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