Today, we celebrate the third year that The New Savvy has been around.
Anna Haotanto founded the company with the mission of empowering 100 million women to achieve financial happiness. For 3 years, we have aimed to deliver high-quality content through women-only conferences, our personal finance app, e-learning platform and media site.
Our latest venture comes in the form of The New Savvy Shop. It serves as a platform for our community to make a bold statement. All of our products have been lovingly created and designed with the modern women in mind – unapologetic and redefining success on their own terms.
We are overwhelmed by the support that the community has been giving us and we hope to give the same Genuity in return. Get the inside scoop for The New Savvy Shop and how Anna and the #savvysquad celebrate our third anniversary!
Can you describe yourself?
Anna: Resilient, driven and idiosyncratic!
The New Savvy (TNS) is turning 3 next month, what do you think is your recipe for success?
Anna: I don’t believe that TNS is successful yet but I do feel extremely lucky for The New Savvy to be showered with a lot of love by our community. We have also received favorable coverage by Forbes, CNBC, Business Insider, The Peak, Fast Company, INC, The Straits Times, Yahoo among others. That helped us in increasing our reach.
I think what worked for us is that we focused on producing quality content that’s useful and engaging for our community. We always listen to the feedback too.
For example, our flagship conference, The Future is Female conference, was solely organized as many women have written and asked us to conduct courses on investments.
We initially organized a fortnightly financial sharing session to share our experiences and answer each other’s’ concerns. But it was not as scalable and I felt that there are subject experts who can share more on these topics.
Why women only? The New Savvy did a survey of our female readers and 84% responded that they want a women-only environment.
We also work with partners such as MAS, CPF, Singapore Exchange, Far East and produce quality content.
Describe a typical workday for you.
Anna: There isn’t really a typical day for me and the structure is entirely down to me which is different but also exciting. I have always enjoyed having the type of role where every day is varied and typically when you are in a people focused business this happens naturally but now working as an entrepreneur it is down to me to put structure in place and be very disciplined in order to make sure that I can do all the things that I want and need to do in a day.
I have learned that I need to be very strict with my planning and rely heavily on my discipline to plan out my day, setting three of the most important things that I need to do in that day and also noting down any other things that I need to follow up on our emails to be sent. I take time to be grateful for at the beginning and end of the day which is a great way of taking time to appreciate the things around me whilst striving to achieve my goals.
In two to three years time, what goals have you set for The New Savvy to achieve?
Anna: Our bold vision is to empower 100 million women to achieve financial happiness. We deliver high-quality content through education, media, and conferences. We just launched an e-learning platform, personal finance planning app, and e-commerce store. We are currently in Singapore, Hong Kong, and the Philippines.
We are focusing on these few verticals:
- Conferences – Learning & Connections
The New Savvy flagship conference, The Future is Female, is an experiential carnival for women to learn, make meaningful connections and enjoy themselves.
Inspiring thought leaders, leading investment professionals, respected business leaders, and industry disruptors to share investment, financial and career insights. We will focus on being valuable resources, while at the same time pushing boundaries and igniting change.
- Personal Finance app:
A personalized financial management tool to set financial goals, master budgets & expenditure and gain a better understanding of investment styles.
- eLearning Platform:
Our proprietary courses are clear, engaging and practical. They are designed by leading financial experts who are unbiased in their advice. Courses include easy-to-follow exercises and worksheets. They are intentionally modular to ensure that you pay for only what you need, in line with our ethos of providing maximum value to our community.
Anna: A haven for our community to share The New Savvy’s ideals. Collectables include posters, caps, notebooks, cards & more.
What would you say the company’s key values are?
Anna: The Three Ps, namely:
PASSION: Accessible & affordable financial education for every female.
PURPOSE: Change lives by helping people achieve their financial goals. Empower people to live the lives they desire & provide for their loved ones.
PROCESSES: Produce high-quality, unbiased educational content. Have the heart & commitment to serve. Build on principles and integrity.
Can you share with the readers what the company’s newest idea is?
Anna: We just launched an e-learning platform, personal finance planning app, and e-commerce store. We are currently in Singapore, Hong Kong, and the Philippines.
How did you come up with the idea to open a webshop?
Anna: We receive many requests for our t-shirts and caps but I wasn’t sure if we wanted to allocate time and resources to that. After our #SavvyUpTogether dinner, a lot of women asked us about amazing posters. They said that they love it and would love to buy it.
On a more practical and honest note, we are a startup and need as much revenue as possible. So if you have enjoyed all our free content and found our services valuable, please do support our operations by purchasing our swag.
How did the process of the shop go?
Anna: To be honest, I can’t say that I know as it was a project that was left mainly to my wonderful teammates – Gloria, Carol, and Anika. They were helped by Layla and Wei Ting. Gloria spearheaded the setting up of the shop, Carol handled the processes and Anika was the creative director.
I was mostly uninvolved as I was focusing on the e-learning platform. That’s what makes The New Savvy team amazing!
Personally, what do you think makes our shop collection different from other apparel/ merchandise brands?
Anna: We have limited range but it focuses on our community. We focus on great writing and powerful visual aesthetics. The New Savvy is a brand that women desire to be associated with. We are chic, fun, edgy, irreverent, and inspirational.
Hence, it is important for The New Savvy to always have heart, soul and a clear identity. Our community is passionate, ambitious, and vocal. They are change agents that want to improve their lives and change the playing field for women in Asia.
Why do you think people should check out the store?
Anna: The New Savvy Shop is a platform for our community to make a bold statement. One of our own. All our products have been lovingly created and designed with the modern women in mind – unapologetic, and redefining success on their own terms.
During our design process, we constantly ask ourselves what our focus should be. Versatility and authenticity. Every single piece is a reflection of The New Savvy community – strong, confident, edgy, and beautiful.
What does the TNS team want to achieve with the store?
Anna: We want to strengthen The New Savvy team and let our fans rep our movement. We can’t affect great change on our own… but if all of us contribute a little, we’ll be able to empower 100 million women together. We live in a generation where women empower women.
Do you think that there is still a lot of women out there fearing to venture out on their own? (Start a new business, quit “dead-end” job, etc.) If yes, why so?
Anna: Yes as most people fear change and uncertainty. It is very daunting. Working for your own startup can be exhausting, so it’s important to get support. And when things get too much, make it a point to care for yourself.
Starting a business is extremely hard work. 90% or more startups fail. You have to put in 120% on your business. Even then, you might fail. When things get tough, and you are on the verge of failing, passion might not be enough.
My favorite 2 advice for budding entrepreneurs, coming from a practical and less starry-eyed view, which I think needs to be said more:
- Plan your finances
Financially, you might not be as well rewarded as working in a corporate. You may not have enough to invest or prepare for the future as you think of reinvesting your proceeds to the business. Also, you may not be able to afford the same lifestyle as your peers.
It’s better to have some money saved before you start. It’ll lessen the pain and worries.
- Passion is NOT enough.
I hate it when people say, “if you are passionate about something, do it”. No. That’s bad advice because starting your own startup, everything in your DNA gets questioned. You wonder what you are doing and why every day. The highs are high and nothing beats that feeling. But the lows are really low.
I think what is more important is to combine the passion with a systematic process to ensure .that your idea is executed well. Sometimes, you also have to depend on timing and luck!
What is your life motto?
Anna: “If you are going to dance, then darling, make the world spin.”
Have resilience and grit to keep going when the world crashes. Always be humble and be willing to learn. Receive criticisms openly, constantly improve and pivot.
Don’t dwell on unconstructive thoughts or wallow in self-pity. Exercise often and take care of yourself. Be kind and have lots of fun!
You became financially comfortable at the age of 30, what advice would you give women who strive for financial independence?
Anna: Start small, start early. Not starting is the biggest mistake. Educate yourself. Read as much. You can take a look at sites such as The New Savvy, SGX or any other reputable personal finance sites.
Empower yourself financially through education and knowledge. Don’t be afraid, don’t invest blindly and never put your future or finances in someone else’s hands.