Cover Photo: Courtesy of Powella

Tatler speaks to Sital Gill Phichitsingh and finds out how she manages her beauty boutique, Powella, as well as her two young kids

Sital Gill Phichitsingh is a force to behold. From balancing her time between family and her own company that she operates from Thailand, Sital will stop at nothing to put the business she founded right in the heart of the beauty industry.

Powella is an online beauty boutique that aggregates the best natural, cruelty-free beauty brands worldwide for customers to shop on one platform.

However, Sital had never dreamed that she would end up being an entrepreneur.

"I was born in Hong Kong and then moved to Singapore shortly after because my mom is Singaporean. I grew up there and went over to Australia for high school and then university," the 32-year-old said.

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She continued by saying that she graduated with a double degree in law and commerce at Monash University in Australia with the full expectation that she would become a practising lawyer.

However, life had different plans for her and Sital saw her law career moving out of reach after she met her husband and subsequently moved to Thailand. 

"I studied and passed everything to be able to practice law in Australia. My certification isn't transferable so if I tried to practise in a different country, I would have had to get all that again," she said.

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However, instead of panicking, Sital decided to turn to her commerce degree and figure out how she could make a career out of it. 

"I moved into a private equity company and there I was moving stakes and dealing with fashion and the business. That's where I learnt about how to start a business," she said. Sital continued to learn about the ins and outs of businesses as she progressed through her career and different jobs.

However, a few years later, Sital, who has eczema-prone skin, found herself using a moisturiser from Olive Skincare that she could not find easily in Singapore. It was the only product that was working for her skin and her inability to find it in Singapore gave her the idea to try to bring in some of these products and then sell them locally. 

"I didn't even really think about it. I bought almost $5,000 worth of this cream to sell to some of my friends and family. I was so sure it would work," she said with a laugh.

Unfortunately, it did not. "No one really wanted to buy the products and I was making this huge loss. It was just sitting in my house," she said. 

It was then that Sital started joining some Facebook groups and taking courses to learn how to sell her products as well as how to source and market them.

In 2015, Powella was born; and she was finally able to put natural and clean beauty brands on the shelves of retailers and in the hands of women who needed them the most. 

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"The name Powella was actually the name of one of my grandfather's favourite racehorses. My grandfather loved the Scout Movement and what it stood for so he decided to name his horse after the founder, Robert Baden Powella. As a man, Powella stood for inclusivity and he believed in always being the best version of yourself. That's why I wanted to give my brand this name," she shared. 

Today, Powella has introduced brands such as Holistic Hair, Remic, Lily Lolo, Bodhi Bloom and more. They have also managed to sell their products via beauty retail giant Sephora.

"If you never take a risk, you will never get to where you want to be," she said soberly. "Take a calculated risk. Not a gamble."

While Powella is one of Sital's greatest joys and achievements, her two young kids remain her priority. Due to the pandemic, she is now stationed in Thailand with her family where she balances work life as well as family time with ease.

Below, in her own words, the super mummy shares how she manages it all.

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What is a typical morning like for you?

I usually start my day at 7 am. I have a mango smoothie with flax seeds, cinnamon and yoghurt for breakfast and then I take a shower. After that, I like to spend some time playing with my kids before I start work. Usually, at the start of every workday, I'll make time to read sites such as The Economist or Bloomberg just to stay up to date.

How do you unplug?

Every Friday or Saturday, my husband and I will switch on some classical music and I will sing. We will usually light candles and open the windows so there's a breeze. It's really refreshing for me to spend time with my husband. Other than that, I usually like to make a hot chocolate and have it out on the balcony to just destress.

What is one item that has changed your life for the better?

My A4 diary. When I was younger, I was gifted a really horrible pink diary to help me manage my workload. It was really ugly. But I used it and till today, I still use A4 diaries for everything. In fact, I'm quite traditional in that I always like to write things down and that I prefer pen and paper.

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How do you stay motivated?

My kid's school fee bills keep me motivated! But honestly, my kids do make me want to be the best version of myself. Especially for my daughter. I want her to see strong women going out to work and managing their families and just doing their best. I just want her to have a great role model.

What is the last thing you do before you go to bed?

I usually try to watch at least one episode of Homeland and then I make time to cuddle with my husband.

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