From Beads to Engines

Datin Sri Joanna Lim, proudly Penang born, bred, dispatched and came back to stay, strikes one as “le femme petite”, but it doesn’t just stop there. Instead one can’t help but wonder how from dealing with beads, crystals and costume jewellery, she now is in the midst of setting up an automobile business dealing with the selling of cars and car accessories.

She made time for Essenze recently and over coffee shared some of her experiences and life lessons.

Coming from a small family, Joanna reassured her father that the family business of Syarikat Lean would continue and duly set off to enjoy what the world had to offer. Having completed her basic education she went on to Melbourne for business studies. This was a chapter in her life she had been waiting for, to savour the experience of living independently away from home.

“Perhaps it is that children always want they cannot get and in that sense we were never in want for anything” says Joanna. Her parents had set ideas as to the proper etiquette for girls. This by no means curtailed the close knit bond the family had for each other, maintained till the present.

It was during her undergraduate days in Melbourne that she met her husband , “but I only knew him as an acquaintance then and we probably only met like maybe three times while I was in Melbourne” she explains. Later when she was back in Penang they were re-introduced by mutual friends. Romance soon blossomed and they dated for nine years with the occasional “chaperoning” from Mom.

“When the fun was over and the studies completed, it was easy enough to pack and come back home and get to work”, she states. The first task at hand was to hang her father’s original business signboard – “Syarikat Lean” prominently overshadowing her own signboard – “Jo’s Accessories”.

It all started from a little corner in Dad’s shop which had the crystal display”

That little corner has transformed into a whole store known as “Jo’s Accessories” in Beach Street, Penang, Malaysia.  Jo’s Accessories specialises in a huge range of beads, crystals and various costume jewelry accessories, not forgetting the Swarovski collections as well. One can purchase custom-made accessories or just buy the various essentials to put their own ideas of costume jewellery together.

Currently Jo’s Accessories is a successful “clicks and bricks” business, combining the best of the traditional “shop premises with a doorbell”, to a presence on the World Wide Web. Joanna creates her own jewellery label for sale online.

What astonishes even more is what Joanna has in mind as part of her business expansion plans. From beads to engines! This spritely businesswoman is now laying the foundations for starting up her next business venture which takes her into the automobile industry, specifically with the selling of cars and its accessories. In the near future one can expect to see another “Jo” signboard hanging somewhere  soon!

On being a mom…

“A mom must enable her children to develop their own identity. As mothers we should ensure that the environment they grow up in is a good one. Their nutrition is a priority and we must ensure they are given healthy food and I believe that education is important. Beyond this, the character the child develops and grows into is their doing. I don’t feel that parents should take credit for it or for that matter be blamed for it either.”

She emphasises that teaching children compassion is crucial. Her face beams as she tells of how compassionate and giving her elder son is. (Her eldest son is 2 years while the second son is 11 months) “I don’t take credit for the fact at all. He was born with kindness in his genes. He is so generous with his toys and freely gives his toys away to other children he meets”

“Of what use is luxury when one can’t even sit with a peace of mind to enjoy a cup of good coffee?”

“Joanna treasures all the travels that she and her family enjoyed throughout their growing up years. “We would do so much of travelling that at times we would be travelling to three different countries within a month. There were times when I woke up and had to recall which part of the world I was in”

The most valuable lesson that all these travel experiences has taught her? “That home in Malaysia is best”

“When all is said and done, what matters the most is what you do in that moment and not where you are….. choose to be kind and compassionate and this will create a vibrations of a life well lived.”

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