Carisa Mann - Place Solutions - Interview
Posted on August 27 2018
'What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?’
The adventures awaiting during the day ahead! I like to start my day with a yoga and meditation set, so in order to fit that in I have to get up early.
Why did you start Place?
Like so many founders I was disillusioned with corporate life. Few of my friends were happy at the company they worked for and I believed that there was a better way of doing business.
To work for a company that does something you believe in, a company that values and appreciates its employees and that only engages in business that doesn’t harm our environment.
So I decided to start that company.
Everything we do at Place must make economical, social and environmental sense, for everyone involved. Having worked in the building industry for many years I realized there was a gap in the market for green building materials in Singapore. It is always easy to say: ”Don’t use that, it’s not good for the environment” but few people offer viable alternative that not only work but also make true financial sense.
‘What does an average day look like at Place?’
There isn’t really an average day and I love that! I am an all-rounder and truly thrive doing a multitude of different things. So I might be going to people’s homes to advise them on soundproofing windows, work in our assembly workshop, hold presentations for architects and interior designers, speak to suppliers, or deal with importers. Fitting in the admin part is always a challenge but I try to be disciplined with it.
What inspires you?
My husband and his support and unwavering belief in me. He has given up a lot for me to be able to fulfill this dream and I will do anything to not let him down. I also like to read the stories of successful entrepreneurs.
What do you enjoy most with running your own business?
Being in charge. Being able to make the decisions I believe are right. The flexibility. Plus doing something I enjoy and believe in every day – I mean of all the things I could do on this planet I chose THIS.
Can you tell me about a time when you almost gave up, how you felt about that, and what you did instead of giving up?Just recently a key supplier had let me down and my cashflow was not able to survive this hit. I spent an afternoon scrolling through LinkedIn job ads yearning
for a stable income and someone else to tell me what to do. Then I went to see a client and that reminded me of why I do what I do.
It is business worth doing and it is up to me that it gets done. I then got some good advice from my husband and an old business partner and came up with a plan to survive. Just after that things got really moving and I found a much better supplier.
What are the biggest challenges for Place?
The lack of knowledge in the building industry about quality green building products. We need to do a lot of education, and this slows us down a fair bit. The lead times in constructions are very long, which puts pressure on the cash flow of a young company. In addition, we deal with physical products mainly from overseas suppliers so we depend a lot on their reliability.
Any advice for your previous boss?
Don’t try to do too many things at the same time.
Are there any brands, business’ or business leaders that you admire?
What would you like to achieve Professionally in 6 months / 1 year / 5 years?
In 6 months that I can start hiring people, in 1 year that we are profitable, in 5 years that PLACE expands internationally.
Any advice for talent looking to set up their own hustle?
To be afraid is normal. But if it is worth doing, do it anyway. Nobody really knows what they are doing, so you might as well go for it. Plus find some good IT support.
What is your favorite quote?
“Screw it, let’s do it” Richard Branson, and “If you are going through hell, keep going” Winston Churchill