Meet Lelian Chew, founder and luxury event planner & concepteur at The Atelier & Co., and member of the Robb Report Singapore Thought Leaders community
Switching careers while one is at the top of the game might seem unthinkable, but think of it as simply a second shot at life. Lelian Chew would know. She spent almost a decade at Goldman Sachs as a private banker, servicing Asia’s elite, before landing herself in wedding planning.
It was a serendipitous pivot. To date, it’s been 10 years since Chew built a name as the go-to planner for the ultra-rich, orchestrating lavish milestone events for them. Her company the Atelier & Co. doesn’t so much change the game, but elevates it. For the romantic at heart and perfectionist, no request is too big or small. With her team, she will go the extra mile, even if it means putting air traffic on hold or battling a typhoon to make magic happen on an untouched private island. Sounds a little much? Maybe so. But it is someone’s big day after all, and it should be what it is: a dream come true.
Why are you passionate about what you do?
Nothing feels more rewarding than seeing our clients happy, especially when I see them catch their first glimpse of the fully transformed world that we have built for them. Over the years, my passion for this work has only grown stronger, and I still feel the same excitement as I did at the beginning of my journey.
That’s great, considering the risk you took in quitting your job.
I embrace risks as part of the entrepreneurial journey. I stepped away from a stable career to venture into an unpredictable world of weddings, flowers and events, but looking back, that risk was instrumental in shaping my success.
That said, what do you fear the most?
My greatest fear lies in the thought of not being able to fulfil the dreams of my clients. The fear of falling short is the driving force behind my continuous strive for perfection.
With that, comes success. What does success mean to you?
True success encompasses both professional and personal fulfilment. It is the ability to pursue one’s passion and purpose, making a positive impact on the lives of others, and it is about embracing a sense of gratitude and mindfulness, cherishing the small joys and fostering personal growth.
Name one thing about you that will surprise most people.
I have a deep love for singing and performing. As a child, I used to be very active with extracurriculars at school, whether it was organising the school’s prom or performing in staged productions. My childhood dreams serve as a reminder that even though life may take a different course, our passions remain.
What kind of advice would you give someone already so successful?
Success can come with a new set of pressures. It’s essential to remain anchored to your core values that have guided you on your path to success.
If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
It would be to foster a greater sense of empathy. It encourages us to listen actively, seek to understand different perspectives, and approach disagreements with a willingness to compromise.
Photography by Eugene Lee, Enfinite Studio
Hair & Makeup by Sophia and Victoria, Suburbs Studio