Exclusive Story by WeirdKaya – Reproduction requires proper crediting and backlink to us. Kindly acknowledge the efforts of our editors in sourcing and conducting interviews.
Diving into a job can be like hitting the salary jackpot, but it’s not all rainbows and money stacks. The grind for success in a high-energy workplace can adversely affect one’s life, eventually leading to burnout.
Meet Juju, a young man who traded his lucrative but highly stressful job at a consulting firm where he worked at for seven years for a peaceful life while designing kimonos.
Started off in digital marketing
Juju, who prefers to keep his real name under wraps, graduated with a bachelor’s degree and went to work straight at an international consulting firm in management consulting.
Shortly after, I discovered a more creative space in another arm of the firm called digital—website and app design—and tried my hardest to get in despite not having any educational background in it. But with determination, I eventually got into digital marketing.
A few years into the job however, 29-year-old Juju felt like his life was stuck in the rut and not going anywhere.
“People left while I remained doing the same work over and over again. Something felt missing within me,” he explained.
Regaining the spark
During the exclusive interview with WeirdKaya, Juju mentioned that he felt he was supposed to do something else with his life. So he decided to give his hobbies a shot.
“I started singing, dancing, and fashion design activities. I even began working on developing an alternative life, secretly hoping it would take off so I could leave the world of consulting,” Juju said.
“However, I found it challenging to allocate time and mental space for all of my passions, leaving me feeling exhausted and having little energy left to invest in his personal pursuits.”
Juju continued recounting, “A few years passed, and I ended up becoming a manager. At the same time, work got even more challenging.”
In the face of escalating challenges, he found himself removed from a demanding project, where it was the last straw for him.
That was when I realised I wasn’t where I truly belonged and that my hobbies weren’t cutting it. I knew I had to change my life and everything I was used to,” he said.
Escape to Japan
Wanting to have a fresh lease of life again, Juju took a six-month unpaid leave to explore new opportunities instead of quitting his job right away.
I’m going to do everything that is not Juju, whoever Juju was at that time.
To kick off his new chapter, Juju took a significant step by booking a three-week trip to Japan the month after the borders reopened post-MCO (Movement Control Order).
“While at Japan, I discovered true liberation and it challenged every aspect of who I was, be it my fears, assumptions, or perspectives. I felt free again,” he recounted.
Months after his Japan trip, Juju officially resigned from his job and went on to establish his own kimono business, which he still operates today.
Why the kimono?
This was the question I had in mind when Juju told me the type of clothing he went for after walking away from his consultant job and I had to ask him about it.
“I chose to start my own kimono business because of the profound influence Japan had on him. Upon my return from there, I felt the need to create a personal brand and the kimono was the perfect symbol for me.”
Every time I put on a kimono, it signifies two essential messages: ‘You’re loved and safe’ and ‘work on yourself‘.
“But before I ventured into the kimono business, I sought a second opinion from my followers online and they were on board with the idea,” he said.
Slow and steady
Being a one-man army in any business is never easy, and Juju knows that well as he’s the one managing everything from designing to marketing and sales.
Realizing the high failure rate of businesses, he approached the venture with a sense of probability while avoiding the delusions of guaranteed success.
“I did the financial side first, calculated how much I needed, and then invested the most basic amount,” he explained.
Most of the factories that I wanted to work with rejected me because the MOQ (minimum order quantity) they required for someone to order from them wasn’t enough.
“But I don’t let anything hold me back. I’m always moving forward and finding ways to make my business better.”
Juju added that when he mentioned his decision to leave his high paying job to embark on a new venture, his friends stood by him and often encouraged him to keep doing his best.
However, his mother was a little hesitant about the news at first.
Though he sensed his mom’s hesitation about his decision, he assured her that he would show it would pay off in the end.
‘High pay doesn’t guarantee happiness‘
Despite pulling in lucrative five-figure earnings back then, Juju’s quick to point out that it didn’t bring him the peace or happiness he craves.
Juju also said, “I often get bombarded with questions like ‘Why are you leaving your ideal life for something else?’ Some even said I was crazy.”
To me, that’s a price I have to pay for the sake of my mental health. Whatever I sacrifice now, I consider it to be an investment in my life because I know something bigger will come much later.
However, Juju admitted that the sudden change of career was rather tough for him at the start, where he now has to be extremely mindful of his spendings, as opposed to living a comfortable lifestyle previously.
While leaving a job with a guaranteed monthly paycheck feels secure on paper, having your own business doesn’t exactly work the same way.
“When you’re in a creative mode, spicing up your product with stickers and all, you’re not thinking about the expenses. It’s only when you do the math that you realize how much you’ve spent, throwing off the money game.” Juju said.
Making things look good is cool, but you’ve also got to keep the cash flow in check.
“I eventually figured out all the details—how much I’m okay with investing, the risks I can handle without the financial stress, and the amount that leaves room for essentials like food and peace of mind.” the cheerful lad explained.
‘Be patient and persistent’
“I’m a perfectionist. I’ll do things, and I’ll make sure everything is on point, as you know, I’m a consultant,” Juju admits.
But he later found out that it didn’t work well for his business because, in his own words, “being a perfectionist gets nothing done.”
“So now, I’ve decided to abandon every single aspect of being a perfectionist and instead focus on getting things done.” Juju said.
When something will happen, it will happen. There is no rush. In fact, the key is to always be patient and persistent.
“My advice for others would be to pick out the good parts and let go of what doesn’t work for them.”
Check out Juju’s amazing kimonos here: