Lynn Lee, co-owner of Awfully Chocolate – The Real Leaders Project

Dhanya, from the Real Leaders team, has been on a roll lately interviewing women she admires. If you live in Singapore, you’ve definitely heard of Awfully Chocolate’s wonderful chocolate cakes. And, today, we present an interview with the co-owner of the successful chain.

Lyn Lee is a co-owner at Awfully chocolate, a successful chain of chocolate parlours. They have branched into other food initiatives, and are running branches across Asia, based out of Singapore. Lyn co-founded a small parlour back in 1988 with her friends when they realized they wanted to create, own and run something for themselves. They perfected a chocolate cake recipe with is a rage in Singapore today in 20 years. The brand and Lyn herself have grown in so many many ways since the initial days. Today Lyn mentors many youngsters.

My favorite bits –

“I told my friends, “I love eating chocolate and there is this idea of this perfect chocolate cake which I just think would be great.”

“We were careful.  It was more like a hobby at that time because we all kept our day jobs.  One of my friends got retrenched, so she was looking after the store in the daytime.  The rest of us would run there after work, or we would go there on weekends.  It was this fabulous adventure and it was great fun.”

“Over the years we learned from franchising that there is no perfect franchise.  Some of them work so well that we’ve become best friends; we’ve become partners.  Now, when we do franchising we actually make sure that we have a staff member who’s prepared to live in the franchise country for six months to one year, whereas previously it would be shorter time and it would be more visits.  Now we treat it as if it’s one of our stores.  We really stay close with the process.  That has yielded better results.”

“I tell people that I’m a mom and I have three kids.  I really try to spend as much time as I can with them, but I just don’t do it in the conventional way and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.  So many women especially – and we want them to have families and we want them to settle down – but I tell them that there must be a way, and don’t be afraid that your way is slightly different.”

“I like to think that if you make the correct small decisions, it is just as good as the epiphany you didn’t have. These small decisions are not hard. Don’t choose the job by the hours you need to put in, or how close it is to you. Sometimes you choose it for the pay package. Think of what you’re going to be doing, what you’re going to learn. Think of the wider things.”

The full version, as always, on