Joy Reveals Entrepreneurial Success Can Be as Simple as Pursuing What You Love
Born in Malaysia and growing up in complicated family dynamics, Joy fought depression within herself while holding space for family members who suffered the same. She followed a career path in the corporate world that placed her living from Australia to Singapore to Canada - and somehow, she ends up in Tulum, spiritually fulfilled with her wildly successful skincare brand - Wyld, which stands for What. You. Love. Doing.
Joy shares her story of resilience. She demonstrates the power in pursuing what you love can guide you through a journey of discovery and recovery.
Roots - Seeds - Love & Connection
Joy and I met at my favorite cafe in Tulum, Mexico - Italdo. Seating is all outdoors at this popular spot, with tables full surrounding ours. I greeted her with a hug. My arms were fully wrapped around her petite frame. But don’t let her stature fool you. As I’ve learned, there is a lot of fight inside her.
It’s surreal to be here in the mecca of wellness and spirituality, now knowing that it’s been a long hazy road for Joy. And as soon as we began, I honed into her voice, and the world around us faded.
Her story takes me to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where she was born.
“When I was a little girl, I would follow him everywhere.”
Joy’s father was an entrepreneur who owned several businesses in Malaysia. He had a chain of video stores where Joy would help at the cashier. A manufacturing company, where Joy would help with sanding blackboards, distributed to schools and universities in Malaysia. He also owned a karaoke bar where you’ll find Joy right on stage, singing song after song till the wee hours of the night.
Joy came from an enormous family. Her mother was the second wife and a business owner, running a chain of video stores that sold Chinese films, while her father sold Hollywood movies.
“My mom was a bad-ass entrepreneur. She would have me in one arm and my brother in the other while walking to work in her stilettos.”
But the realities of being the second wife were too much for her mother to bear. Often looked at as the mistress rather than a wife and mother; she was terribly unhappy. When Joy was nine years old, she left without saying a word.
Joy’s father had been in and out of depression, but when Joy’s mother left, he fell deeply into the dark and never returned from it.
I recognized the Malaysian accent in Joy’s English, which I have a soft spot for. Some of my mothers’ closest friends are Malaysian, and I only have warm and friendly memories of them. Joy’s story starts with sorrow, but her tone of voice is steady, comforting, and familiar, like an older sister.
“I was devastated. She used to take me and run away from time to time” - this time, she didn’t take Joy with her.
“Looking back, I understand, there was a lot of generational trauma - I would be the first generation in our family to be conscious of it and do the work to heal. It ends with me.”
At the age of nine, she stepped into the role of the nurturer, consoling her father through his depression. Every night he cried, and she would be the shoulder to lean on. Even though she had just lost her mother, she had no chance to grieve the loss.
“I come from a large family. When my mom left, I lived with my stepmom, three half brothers, and a half-sister. But growing up, I never felt like I fit into the family. I felt like an outsider. When I was 14, I was kicked out of the house by my brothers and started to live on my own.”
I was saddened and amazed. How did Joy overcome the childhood trauma and step into the strong businesswoman that she is today? The server steps up to our table, delivering her fruit and granola bowl. For a moment, I pulled out from her past and realized I needed to take a deep breath. I had no idea she had such a forsaken childhood.
From the age of 14, she cemented her reputation as the wild child of the family. She showed little interest in school, and all the temptations and distractions an unsupervised teenager can get into, she did. Ultimately, her rebellious phase subsided, and she began studying communications at University. Her passion for the subject grew and kickstarted a high-flying career in public relations.
“Though I seemingly had a successful career, I felt depressed, empty, and unfulfilled. I grew up in an environment where I felt I was never good enough - and as a child, you’re extremely impressionable. And I started to believe it. That’s why I am a big advocate of self-love, how to rewire and reprogram our subconscious beliefs so we can heal. Through my healing - now I’m thriving - It’s possible. Anything is possible.”
After graduating from university, Joy started to work for one of the top PR agencies in Sydney, Australia. One thing she thanks Australia for was the influence it had on Wyld’s marketing and branding. Women in Australia were fearless when it comes to starting a business.
“Beautiful brands, created and built by women, from scratch, they just had a knack for it, all through great marketing - I got inspired by that.”
Despite the inspiring women around her, Joy yearned to live in a culturally diverse community where people are celebrated for their differences. She went to a British international school back in Malaysia, a stark contrast from the culture in Sydney.
After five years in Australia, she had plans to go to Canada but took a pitstop in Singapore. There she took on an opportunistic job in corporate communications for Sony in the Asia Pacific and ended up staying in Singapore for five years.
“I loved my time there, but I just don’t know, I wasn’t happy. I would just cry. I felt empty, unfulfilled, like a zombie.”
Joy pauses, her eyebrows pulled closer together, lips pursed, and I recognized that sadness.
I had been there - unconsciously walking through life, but what your mind can’t grasp, your body will tell you.
On top of this feeling, news came from Malaysia that her father had passed. He had threatened to kill himself numerous times before, and every time, he would reach out to Joy, and she would fly back, convincing him otherwise and try to get him help.
She knew this was coming, and when the day arrived, she felt as though parts of her died inside and became numb.
“We were always close, but we haven’t been in each other's lives for a while, and I had some resentment towards him. I remember I was in the supermarket the last time he called. I told him I was busy, knowing that he wasn’t coherent. I tried calling back, but no answer - a few days later, he was gone”
Joy looks back and sees that she was traumatized by his passing. For a long time, she held a lot of guilt and wished she did more to help him.
“I couldn’t get through to help him; I was young. Now I know, I had to heal myself first.”
Joy remembers coming back from being posted in the States, and Sony was about to offer her an expat package in Japan.
“I knew if I stayed, I would make a lot of money..”
But feeling unfulfilled and still devastated by her father’s passing, she decided to resign, packed up her life, and left Singapore for Canada.
“You know, there’s a difference between searching and seeking. I felt empty and was seeking to be whole, moving from one city to the next.”
After settling in Toronto, she went back to University to study for her postgraduate and started working full-time with a PR firm. During this busy time, she began to envision her ideal lifestyle. This vision led to the start of her entrepreneurship.
“I was always fascinated by skincare. I grew up with very dry and sensitive skin, so I was very mindful with what I use, and I would always look at the ingredients” And finding organic products and being in the world of clean beauty became a passion.
Wyld began as a side-hustle. It started with one product - the Charcoal Konjac Sponge, and now the company is valued as a seven-figure business.
The goal was to be in 20 stores in year one. By the end of the year, they were in over 100 stores.
“As a kid, people used to insinuate that I was lazy, unmotivated, not creative. But I really hustled. I was inspired and energized by the business.” Wyld gave her a kind of confidence she never had before and helped her break down limiting beliefs.
LOVE & CONNECTION
As we both smiled at this turning point in her story, we took a brief break and took a sip of our coffee. Her hand attracted my eyes as she picked up her cup. I’m reminded that she experienced a beautiful ceremony yesterday, and this delicate crystal hand-poked tattoo was marked on her right hand.
“The idea of spirituality didn’t even occur to me.” - until she met her dark night of the soul.
Throughout the days of successfully scaling her business, she had felt chronically alone. She didn’t feel fulfilled despite her achievements.
Being entangled in a couple of complicated “situationships,” as she puts it, only highlighted the heaviest limiting beliefs that she carried.
“I recall feeling like I didn’t belong anywhere” Believing this, she went to seek external validation from her relationships.
When the situationships crumbled, these beliefs came down on her like crashing waves—drowning her to a point where she felt a deep sense of meaninglessness and into the dark night of the soul. But from the dark comes a beautiful transformation when we let go of what we had identified with that no longer serves us. We begin to move in the direction of who we aspire to be.
Joy had a kind of spiritual awakening while in meditation. She saw clarity in her life and began to see her wellness practices as a spiritual one. Through meditation, plant medicine, journaling, yoga, and support from a compassionate, conscious community, she began to cultivate the love inside herself.
Joy rode the waves of childhood trauma, which led her to the shores of self-love.
Now, she lives in Tulum, surrounding herself with like-minded souls. Inevitably, with inspiration from the people around her, she will take her spiritual practice to new heights.
The relationship she has with Wyld has deepened as she incorporates her healing experiences into her business. Wyld’s next product, Moon Dew, draws inspiration from the moon phases and serves as a way to connect with the natural rhythms of mother nature.
It’s this kind of connection to nature and her self-awareness that guides Wyld to success. Joy shows an incredible amount of strength in her courage to be open and vulnerable. To me, Wyld is not just a name to her business; it’s a mantra that we can all live by. Remember, What. You. Love. Doing. can act as an inner compass to a more joyful life. “The search begins within ourselves. We are all born whole - it’s in our hearts. We need to follow our hearts.”