Have you ever felt a sense of envy towards your peers, who knew exactly what they wanted in life? Like that “mad scientist” friend who slogs in the laboratory or the writer who draws inspiration fervently from every corner?
Fear not, a renaissance soul like you and me who never stops redefining passions has a way out as well. Sabrina, the CEO and founder of PINC, is one such living example, who is slaying it as a #girlboss.
Venturing out of her first wholesale apparel business at 15, Sabrina shares with us her life story and journey on building PINC, a social commerce blockchain platform that incentivises content creators and provides a personalised experience for shoppers, while empowering marketers with concrete data to quantify influence; all in one place.
Surely, this prized possession did not come easy. Sabrina recounted how it all started when she was an adolescent, sitting at Starbucks with her all-time favourite VOGUE magazine:
“I was looking for an idea, and it happened. I was flipping through the pages when I found this must-have bag,...and I didn't know where to buy it! That's when I [thought to myself], ‘if only I could click and purchase [that].’"
From that passing moment, Sabrina evolved her ideas into reality with her previous startup, SAUCEink, a magazine that readers could click and purchase.
While it did not come to fruition, it allowed her to leverage on the experience and build PINC with added frills (from AI, blockchain to gamification) on a different interface. What’s special about PINC is that Sabrina wittingly tapped on the void that social media users like you and me do not get rewarded for generating content.
“Through PINC, I hope that you will realise what you share has to have value. When you post something on our platform - a picture, a story, even a simple click of the like button - you're giving away valuable data and other tangible benefits to the platform you interact on,”
From our exclusive interview with Sabrina, here are three things that we learned from her journey of trial-and-errors.
1) WRONG HELPS US FIND THE RIGHT: EXPERIENCE ALWAYS HELPS.
Let’s face it - The fear of failure is so real that it can disincline us to try.
“Life is full of ups and downs. Sometimes ridiculous reasons lead you somewhere you least expect.”
When asked how she fell into the fashion scene, Sabrina divulged that she had always been known to have too many interests, not being able to focus on one thing at a time. But to all the fellow too-many-passions millennials out there, experiences help to redefine what we need, and what we don’t.
Use that energy in you to test your ideas fearlessly. With an eye for opportunities and an entrepreneurial mindset, Sabrina’s passion for Counter-Strike turned into an idea to experiment with game server hosting.
“I bought physical servers, installed the software, put them at co-location centres, sponsored top clans, [and] rented out the other game services.”
This gaming experience value-added to her vision for PINC.
“When we talk about gaming, it's the logic behind the appeal. That instant gratification that you get when you finish a quest, or just attaining that new armour and completing your set. These are behaviours that when we understand what our users want, we can retain them.”
The variety of interests and experiences helped Sabrina give a better perspective of what PINC is to become, such as the culture within the organisation and also what she needs to focus on.
“The apparel wholesale gave me an understanding of how the process flows. It helped me better understand the difficulties our merchants face and gave me some ammunition when speaking to them.
At the same time, with a technology background, she was able to step out and do front-end work when needed. Coupled with her mass communications qualification from MDIS, having this knowledge of media was definitely an advantage for her in this industry.
2) KNOWING WHO YOU WORK WITH IS IMPORTANT
“Finding the right people makes a huge difference.” – but how?
PINC takes on a pro-community building approach when it comes to their company culture.
Sabrina puts it in eloquent terms - noting that it is always good to work with someone who could provide expertise that you may lack in certain areas, but most importantly, that the person has to be trustworthy and reliable.
PINC’s core belief of acceptance built the closely-knit team, and this is demonstrated by how they embrace one another’s quirks! Sabrina gleefully shares some cool facts about the PINC team:
“Edmund produced and launched his music single, scaled a mountain and jumped from a plane… Grace has been a grassroots leader for ten years since 17! Francis manages my rage quits!"
PINC is made up of people from various walks of life. Making an effort to understand one another’s working styles, quirks, caffeine rages will make all the difference - it’s not just about the skill sets or the impressive resumes.
“See, your certification, or your ‘passport’ is less important as compared to who you are as a person; your attitude, your beliefs, and experience.”
3) PASSION HAS TO BE COUPLED WITH HARD WORK
By Sabrina’s outgoing demeanour, it was hard to believe when she described herself as a timid girl, who spent a lot of her time on television and computer. This led her to the idea of owning a company, so she did not have to interact with her superiors.
“Boy, was I wrong. Now, I have to deal with even more people, and I've learned to say "no" as well.”
This does not deter her from continuing the pursuit of entrepreneurship, however. Sabrina asserts, “Passion is not enough to succeed. The combination of passion and determination with a lot of hard work is vital to anyone's success. In a startup, stress gets to you. You do more than just a 9-to-5 role.”
The grind never stops as Sabrina is set on bringing PINC to greater heights everyday.
“In developing PINC, I envision the day, where we will be able to address such imbalances, when equity is in the ecosystem and that society justly rewards content creators and provides respite to brand owners. In the era of big data and blockchain technology, I believe that PINC will be the solution and beacon of hope."
Want to get to know Sabrina and the rest of the PINC team better? They’re growing their team now! Check out the latest opportunities here.