5Qs with Joanna Lau

Joanna

Our 5Qs series is a chance for you to get to know more about folks in the Singapore Global Network community, where we pose 5 questions to exciting individuals to find out more about what they do!

6 July 2020 / By SGN

1. What is your favourite place in NYC?

Hudson River Park! After spending a lot of time indoors this year, I’ve really enjoyed being outdoors and Hudson River Park on the westside near Battery Park offers beautiful river views, especially at sunset. With the World Trade Center and Statue of Liberty as a backdrop, it is simply stunning!

2. What is your favourite food in NYC?

Japanese food, especially sushi. I reckon the Japanese food quality in New York rivals Japan. There are countless Japanese restaurants in the city that are authentic and high quality. My frequent go-to sushi place in the city is DOMODOMO. It serves quality sushi at a decent price point.

3. What is the most exciting part of your job?

As JEMMA’s Founder & CEO, I built an online direct to consumer handbag brand from scratch to where it is today. It has been my greatest challenge, and the most exciting experience I’ve had in my life despite the constant ups and downs (*not for the faint-hearted!).

I went from a frustrated consumer looking for better handbag options for working women like myself, to a passionate women’s advocate. I really care about how women could benefit from their daily necessity – handbags – and giving women better options that allow them to carry everything they need and still look beautiful.

Building a fashion e-commerce brand in New York is exhilarating because you are competing with the best of the best in one of the largest markets in the world. It’s a sink or swim game daily and you either live for the challenge or quit. I have chosen to live, love, and succeed.

ImageJoanna was invited to University of Pennsylvania to speak about JEMMA and female entrepreneurship

4. What do you miss most about Singapore?

Definitely Singaporean food and the comforts of being home with family and friends! Singapore has and always will be my home, and as they say, home is where the heart is! I try not to be too far away from home, so I tend to visit Singapore pretty often.

ImageJoanna enjoying the Singapore skyline at a rooftop bar with her husband Jeff

Tell us one fun fact about you

I love golf and have been playing since my primary school days. Growing up, learning, and competing in golf have taught me a lot about life, discipline, and performing under pressure. I have also met and built many great friendships on the golf course – some are my best friends. I love the game of golf because I think it’s a great lesson on life and a sport you can keep playing till you’re old!

ImageGolfing has been Joanna’s all-time passion since her primary school days

If you are interested in connecting with Joanna, please send your request here. SGN will be happy to make the introduction.

(Photo credit: Joanna Lau)


About Joanna Lau

Joanna came to the U.S. to attend New York University 13 years ago. She started her career in Wall Street trading after graduation, but her love for creative risk-taking and her handbag obsession eventually drew her into the hard grind of fashion entrepreneurship. As the Founder & CEO of JEMMA, a fashion e-commerce handbag brand, Joanna shuttles regularly between Singapore and New York, where the brand is based. A Siglap girl at heart, Joanna still misses her Kway Chap with ice cold Milo! Joanna is pictured here with her favourite POPPINS Backpack Tote from JEMMA


Don’t stop here, check out these other great reads…

From 3 to 120: How a Swiss innovation company built top-performing tech teams in Singapore
Poised for accelerated growth amidst COVID-19, the Singapore tech scene is thriving …
From Myanmar to Singapore (and back): former A*Star researcher and consulting firm founder and MD Dr Myo Thida shares her incredible journey
In her decade-long journey from Myanmar to Singapore and back, Dr Thida …
Singapore Brands Going Overseas: Heritage Brands Gone Global
Growing up in an Asian household meant that you would most likely …
Bean There, Done That: Venezuelan Coffee Roaster Marian Aguilar Perks You Up with Good Coffee
For us, coffee is how we kickstart each day. For Marian Aguilar, …
Investing in The Right Hustle: How Koh Shiyan Is Tapping into SEA’s Potential
Southeast Asia’s startup ecosystem has matured over the last 10 years with …
Women in Tech: Uplifting Sisters in Cybersecurity
Magda Chelly has made it in the world of tech as a …
5Qs with Lyon Liew, Simulation Technical Director, Pixar Animation Studios
Our 5Qs series is a chance for you to get to know …
A Journey Away from Singapore…and the Turns That Took Me Back
After spending nearly ten years in the United States, Valentina made her …
Food For Thought: How Kausmo Redefines The Dining Experience
Ever wondered what goes on your plate? Kausmo (derived from the word …
Raising little travellers: Vaiva and Thea’s favourite kid-friendly spots in Singapore
In this Meet Our Expats series, we connect with Vaiva, who’s originally …
Harnessing the Data Revolution: Madhu Shalini Iyer on Investing with Data Science
Growing up in Singapore as a teenager, Madhu Shalini Iyer shares her …
Indonesia’s Omnibus Law: A Magic Wand amidst a Global Pandemic?
Our story has the makings of a palace intrigue – a piece …