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Anything but the law: Graduate leaves behind legal career to set up lip-tastic business

"It's just a different type of feeling when you're working on something that you like"

The pandemic, for most, affected people negatively and disrupted lives.

For the 26-year-old Ivor Lim Xian Z though, it was a window of opportunity to pursue what she truly loved. Alicia from WeirdKaya had the chance to interview her about her journey.

If you follow her on TikTok, you may know her as the girl who “tries things so you don’t have to try”. In this article, we cover her journey from when she first started studying law to where she is today.

Law graduate quits law to pursue her true passion and start up a business during the pandemic

Peer pressure made me do it

It was tough. The only reason Ivor decided to study law was because of peer pressure. Her time in the UK completing her bar was not an easy one as she shared, “Law is not hard if you love it, and I didn’t love it nor have passion for it”.

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My friends would be getting legal internships during the summer break and all I wanted was to get out of there.

She recorded an experience of her lecturer publicly putting her down during an advocacy class on her YouTube.

In the video, Ivor’s lecturer commented that “if it’s too difficult, perhaps you [she] shouldn’t be pursuing a career in law”.

Law graduate quits law to pursue her true passion and start up a business during the pandemic
Screengrab via youtube @ivor xian z

She also often shares on her YouTube channel her thoughts about studying law.

Thankfully, though, her friends who did bar school with her in the UK helped her pull through it. 

It was not until the ending years of her time in the UK when she realised that she actually wanted to study music and film production.

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“I only realised then that people actually could make money out of producing music and film but it was already too late”, Ivor mentioned in the interview.

Thankful for COVID-19 in some ways

However, things took a turn when COVID-19 hit Malaysia and everything was put on pause. Ivor had the time to rethink her career in law and crawl back to her passion.

I didn’t have time to try out other things. So after graduation, I thought that law was the only way out.

“I was applying to more than 50 law firms. All my friends had secured employment except for me. Thankfully, MCO happened.”

A business is born

As everyone was, Ivor had much time to kill during the beginning stages of the lockdown. On top of that, she couldn’t secure a job. That was when the idea to start a small lip balm business with her boyfriend, Chew Hoi Meng, sprouted.

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Anything but the law: graduate leaves behind legal career to set up lip-tastic business
Provided by ivor. To her left, is business partner and boyfriend, chew hoi ming.

Known as HYGR, the idea of her lip balm brand came about because she and her partner wanted to create something that people will need to use in their daily life.

Being that she has dry lips too, this idea was perfect for their business. Now, their lip balm shade ranges from 3 different colors. They later branched out to producing deodorants too.

However, her parents certainly doubted it in the beginning. Fair enough, since Ivor graduated in law without knowledge in business, or cosmetics. It was also a valid doubt since businesses were seen dying in the MCO. Yet, they still went ahead with it.

Over time, she proved to her parents that one can delve into something you have not studied for as long as you have determination and passion for it.

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It really takes time, but be patient with your family and they’ll support you eventually. My dad even help send some orders during Chinese New Year.

Video from TikTok @hygr.my

“My brand got viral on TikTok during June last year (2021). It’s 100% safe to say that if it weren’t for the pandemic, I wouldn’t be where I am today”, she expresses.

1 person, 3 jobs

To sustain herself, Ivor is now working 3 jobs, including being the owner of HYGR, a content creator and a social media content producer for a skin center in KL as her full-time job. 

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“I’m thankful for landing a job without any former credentials in the related field. It’s just all about how much you are willing to learn, the right time and the right opportunity”, she adds.

However, juggling 3 jobs is not easy.

Ivor mentioned she and her partner contemplated selling their business and sticking with doing a  9-to-5 job. Yet, they persisted because of their customers who cheer them on.

Law graduate quits law to pursue her true passion and start up a business during the pandemic
Screengrab via youtube @ivor xian z

One of my customers told me not to stop doing what we are doing, if not they wouldn’t know where to get their lip balms from”, she laughed.

“I am grateful to see how my business impacts people. That is what keeps me going no matter how busy I get.” 

Dealing with being burnt out

For her, the work doesn’t stop. Every time she goes somewhere new, she will think of it as an opportunity to shoot some content, even during her vacations.

This disrupts her experience of enjoying what she is doing at that time fully.  

On top of that, she adds that she doesn’t get more than 6 hours of sleep a day ever since HYGR went viral. 

“Thankfully, my full-time job at the skin centre is flexible. So I only go to the office 3 days in a week.”

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Anything but the law: graduate leaves behind legal career to set up lip-tastic business | weirdkaya
Screengrab via youtube @ivor xian z

She adds that she uses the time when she works from home to shoot her content and run HYGR.

To balance it out, she goes swimming and exercising to let her mind be completely focused on one thing, instead of multitasking like she always does.

At the end of the day, doing what you love is what matters.

Her words of advice:

Choose passion over money. If you don’t know what your passion is, keep trying new things.

Head on over to her YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok to get to know more about her journey.

To know more about HYGR, follow its Instagram and TikTok.