Elevator Pitch: Meet Melinda Khor of Sommar Beauty Spa
Singapore/ Venture/ Profiles

Elevator Pitch: Meet Melinda Khor, Co-Founder of Sommar Beauty Spa

Melinda Khor Sommar Beauty Spa

Charting and changing one's career path is never a walk in the park. A daunting if not confusing time for many, shifting careers involves the reimagination of one's own held beliefs of what and how a job is and should be, and taking the actual concrete steps to reestablish oneself in a discipline that's new or unknown to them.

For Melinda Khor, leaving the military to build her own legacy in the beauty industry is a journey that is anything but ordinary.

Prior to her career shift, Melinda bore the rank of Military Expert 1 in the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF), where she worked on the maintenance of F-16 fighter jets. While beauty and wellness were things that Melinda never considered her main priorities at the time, her work in the military had eventually caught up to her; she noticed her recovery had slowed down as she aged, compelling her to take a step back and focus on her physical and mental health.

Now, Melinda is the co-founder of Sommar Beauty Spa, a haven where women’s well-being takes centrestage. Melinda is committed to the advancement of knowledge of well-being and wellness among women in Singapore. And while her experience and skills in the military may vary from her new role in the beauty industry, Melinda has found that her work in these two fields share a common denominator, still: rooted in passion and her desire to help other people.

The Beat Asia recently caught up with Melinda to talk more about her journey: from her time in the RSAF and her shift to the beauty industry to the establishment of Sommar Beauty Spa, its focus on the Bojin technique, and her mission of making customers feel good and confident about themselves.

What does a day in your life look like as co-founder of Sommar Beauty Spa? Please walk us through your usual day!

Usually, our day starts at 6 AM-7 AM for a hearty breakfast and then straight to the gym or Pilates classes as we find starting the day with physical training helps us focus and kickstart our mental and physical engines. As Sommar Beauty Spa’s schedule is by appointment usually, there will be a check-in with all our specialists for a short meeting to prepare for every long-term customer’s areas of concern, and also working closely on pre-service consultation with our new customers.

What pain point does Sommar Beauty Spa hope to address?

The mission of Sommar Beauty Spa has always been the elevation of the collective knowledge of holistic wellness for women in Singapore. In Singapore, we understand that many women are extremely busy with work or family and often neglect [their] health and wellness. Sommar Beauty Spa’s specialists are all equipped with many years of experience to help our customers by providing a genuine and authentic service.

You went from being a Military Expert 1 who maintained F-16 fighter jets in the Republic of Singapore Air Force to a co-founder of a beauty spa where women's wellness takes centrestage. What were the challenges you experienced while in the liminal or transitional stage between the military and the beauty industry?

The technicalities and skills needed in both industries might be drastically different, but for me, both career paths stem from a place of passion and a need to help others. While I was in RSAF for the past 4-5 years, beauty and wellness were never my top priority as work was intensive and required a lot of shift work, which meant I was not able to adhere to a proper sleep schedule and adhere to a healthy circadian rhythm. As I started to age through the RSAF, I realised that my body’s recovery for work and training started to slow down drastically, and my pre-menstrual symptoms got worse. It got me to start to prioritise my wellness and recovery more.

Initially, the challenges were mainly absorbing the vast literature, techniques, and skillset but putting faith in working on my passion in wellness helps me to work through any initial hardship.

How did you work through your own doubts?

In any endeavor in work or business, there will be uncertainty and doubts, but my husband/partner and I believe that being disciplined in adhering to healthy daily habits and mindset, and constantly improving on [our] customers’ experiences is what is important to staying on the right track to achieve our mission for Sommar Beauty Spa.

Taking the leap to make a big career switch can be quite daunting for most. How has your family and loved ones’ support been like when you were starting out on this venture? What did you appreciate the most from them during this time?

All of our friends and family members were incredibly supportive. When I first started prioritising wellness and saw how it positively impacted my life, I started helping out my friends and family when they shared with me similar issues they experienced daily. I am extremely grateful that many of them would take time out of their busy schedules to be my model for many wellness classes I attended.

Who would you say are your biggest influences or mentors in life and in beauty?

My biggest influences daily would be my team at Sommar Beauty Spa. Their passion, hard work, and wealth of knowledge to help all our clients are a constant reminder that I need to improve myself too.

The spa prides itself as an exponent of Bojin therapy, a technique with roots in traditional Chinese medicine. For the unknowing, how would you describe the Bojin technique? What would you say are its benefits to you, personally, and to those you've introduced it to?

To put it simply, the Bojin technique is able to reduce knots, and release deep muscle tension that is hard to achieve with hand massage, simultaneously improving the blood flow, helps with contouring of the body lines, and improving proper lymphatic drainage of the body.

What are your personal favourite treatments at Sommar Beauty Spa and why?

If I had to choose, it must be the Pro-Revive Face Bojin and Pro-Slim+ Tummy Bojin! Pro-Revive Face Bojin helps with the signs of facial ageing, and tension release in the head and front neck region, hence allowing me to age gracefully.

And Pro-Slim+ Tummy Bojin is a must to help me detox, improve my gut health, and most importantly, help to shape my waistline! I find that my gut health (digestion and bowel movements) has improved dramatically ever since I started regularly doing Pro-Slim+ Tummy Bojin.

What do you want customers to feel every time they enter and leave Sommar Beauty Spa?

Confidence. When they enter Sommar Beauty Spa, they feel confident in choosing us to be their wellness partner. When they leave, our mission is to elevate our customers' knowledge in beauty and wellness to establish confidence in their bodies' abilities for recovery and anti-ageing to take on challenges in their daily lives and drastically improve their beauty from within.

What is your beauty and wellness philosophy?

My beauty and wellness philosophy would be prioritising the equilibrium of your Output and Input of physical and mental energy. The more we commit to the hustle and bustle of work and family, the more important it is for us to prioritise our physical and mental well-being and its recovery.

What have been your learnings thus far as Sommar Beauty Spa’s co-founder?

Ever since Sommar Beauty Spa started and through working closely with so many of our customers, we realised that providing a genuine tailored service that understands each individual’s areas of concern is of utmost importance. It is incredibly gratifying for us to be able to see drastic positive improvement and elevate our customer’s’ lifelong beauty and wellness journey.

What advice would you give women who also want to make a big switch in their careers?

For us, it has always been about putting in my full effort at where my passion is. A big switch in career will always be daunting for everyone. I would recommend anyone to not be afraid to be a beginner again and have faith in their efforts. Have faith in their efforts and not give up.

There is a quote that always keeps me motivated when struggling at any new ventures, be it [a] new sport or skill: “It may seem difficult at first, but all things are difficult at first.” - Miyamoto Musashi

This article has been edited for clarity. Learn more about Sommar Beauty Spa and its treatments by following its Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Enjoyed this article? Check out our previous Elevator Pitch profiles here.

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