Ms Rina Lim grew up in a humble household. Her father worked as a factory worker and then as a taxi driver. Her mother had to hold two jobs to supplement the family income and to bring up three children, Rina and her two elder brothers.
In secondary school, Ms Lim acquired a keen interest in all things creative. After completing her O-Levels, she decided to study in Nanyang Polytechnic. She then worked as a graphic designer for a couple of design agencies upon graduation where she gained valuable experience that later came in handy when she decided to become an entrepreneur.
It was not her original intention to start a business; however, encouraged by her friends, she joined them in setting up a creative agency named 19Blossom. At that time, Ms Lim was only 23. Working at her first business venture taught Ms Lim to overcome multiple challenges. 19Blossom grew from a small windowless attic in a shop house to become an established and recognized creative agency. Ms Lim stayed with the company for four years but eventually decided to part ways with her ex-partners due to differences in their mindsets. She had to start everything from scratch again, this time on her own. That was how her new company, Quirk, started off.
During the first couple of months, Ms Lim worked from home. After that, she decided to rent an office, even though she was not sure if she would be able to pay the following month’s rent. She had to do all the work herself, from cleaning and office maintenance to sales, business development, design and production. At times this meant working until 3 in the morning, catching a few hours of sleep before returning to the office next morning. Over this difficult period, her strong belief that she would succeed continued to motivate her. Fortunately, she had clients who knew her from her previous venture and trusted her to do a good job. Ms Lim believes in the importance of being sincere and having high quality standards, as a good reputation is paramount to a company’s success. She also believes strongly in perseverance and in believing in oneself. Today, Quirk has an established customer base. Over a short span of 6 years, Ms Lim managed to grow Quirk into an integrated communication agency that has completed more than 700 projects for more than 200 clients, including multinational companies and government agencies.
Ms Lim does not cite any particular entrepreneur as her inspiration. What inspires her instead is the fact that Singapore, despite its small size, has managed to grow many successful entrepreneurs, some of whom have established their brands internationally, such as Charles & Keith, OSIM, and BreadTalk.
Being an entrepreneur does not mean that the person is always motivated and passionate about what he or she does, according to Ms Lim. Reflecting on her own experiences, there were times when she felt like giving up. What helped her was constantly reminding herself of her primary motivation for starting her company, and getting encouragement from peers who also ran their own businesses or even from her clients. She believes that a successful entrepreneur should not stay in his or her comfort zone or listen to naysayers. She feels that is also important to learn constantly, even from one’s staff and clients, no matter how big one’s company is or how long one has been in the business.
Ms Lim strongly believes in giving back to society: she works closely with non-profit organizations, such as the Yellow Ribbon Project, the Society for the Physically Disabled, Singapore’s Children’s Society helping them to do their work better.
Ms Lim was one of the Honourees of The Spirit of Enterprise (SOE) in 2013, and in 2014 she joined the SOE’s Board of Directors.