ISSUE #67 – Guillaume Chabrieres (pictured below), Founder of Chab Events, shares with us about his entrepreneur journey in Singapore, the challenges, and what drives him forward.
How did you become an entrepreneur in Singapore? Can you tell us a bit about your business?
I started out in the media industry in Singapore in 2011, after a while I saw an opportunity to launch a company of my own, a new journey. Back then the Singapore government was already helping entrepreneurs to start their dreams. I seized the opportunity, took the leap of faith and one night in July 2013 together with 3 friends, created Chab Events.
We are in the business of ideas. We create experiences that connect brands to the people who matter most to them. We specialise in crafting bespoke, unique and emotionally impactful projects for our clients in both South East Asia and Europe.
Chab Events is a turnkey corporate event management, experiential marketing and video production company based in Singapore, Paris, Bali and Siem Reap. We work across a large range of industries including healthcare, insurance, banking, luxury and food & beverage.
What was the most difficult and exciting challenge to overcome? What is it that motivates and drives you?
Personally, I feel the most difficult challenge to overcome is in creating your “guanxi” (network in Chinese) in Singapore. Networking is largely based on trust, and so it is the French community to whom I owe the greatest gratitude. The French community has been a fantastic booster towards our ever-growing success, they have provided business solutions and of course, the “Business Accelerator Lab” has been a real learning curve.
The French community has been a fantastic booster towards our ever-growing success.
Through the French Chamber’s mentoring scheme, they have helped me understand how to cope with rapid growth, and also, how to avoid both basic and complex mistakes in the business world. The mentoring service of which I was the 2nd to benefit from, was a monthly occurrence for two and a half years. My mentors, Olivier Grometto and Serge Genetet, have been an incredible help in not only my career progression, but for the growth of the agency too.
As for the most exciting, there is no specific event or victory that I can say triumphs over another. The most exciting element for me, is that I have gone from a laptop and a sofa at home to having office branches in four different countries, to having a company that is doubling in size each year and now has 22 staff in Singapore alone.
I have gone from a laptop and a sofa at home to having office branches in four different countries, to having a company that is doubling in size each year and now has 22 staff in Singapore alone!
My biggest motivation is looking at where we started and where we are now. It makes me feel very positive about how far we have come and also, where we could be five years from now. The term “parcours” sums up the motions of Chab Events. We are consistently climbing, jumping and overcoming obstacles to reach new heights, hire fresh talents and win new contracts! It is most definitely a rollercoaster of excitement and challenges, but I believe it is more about the human adventure rather than the financial one. Year after year, more and more interesting projects come to light, some being supplied by trusting companies helping us to increase our global strategy approach of the market. Furthermore, the quality of work is consistently increasing – no two days are the same! When we look at yesterday and of being scared of projects worth 10,000 dollars, it is now a whole different level of pressure to produce the projects that are worth 1 million dollars! Nonetheless, it’s all part of the Chab Events story!
We are consistently climbing, jumping and overcoming obstacles to reach new heights, hire fresh talents and win new contracts!
What are the next steps for your company?
Expansion! Expansion! Expansion!
We want to open two new offices in the coming years and branch out to new locations. A definite next step for us, is to be established as key players in the South East Asia region. Alongside this, we would like to start up a production site in North America whilst maintaining a stronger presence in Europe (after all, home is where the heart is!).
I am hoping that whilst taking these next steps, the Company will double in size again. Double the staff, double the turnover and a whole lot of double shot espressos to assist with the process!
How did you get involved with the French Chamber? Why?
Around the same time as I launched Chab Events, I participated in the launch of “So Chic magazine” at the French Ambassador’s Residence. This is how I met Carine Lespayandel, Sandrine Perrault, Anne-Sophie Foster and Pascal Lambert. The “Business Accelerator Lab”, free for those who were member of the FCCS, allowed me to face a panel of C-level executives across the industries at the French Chamber of Commerce. It allowed me to understand the challenges faced and the short and mid-term strategies. It was kind of like an advisory session. This added great value to my relationship with the French Chamber of Commerce. I also had the absolute privilege to work with my two mentors, Olivier Grometto & Serge Genetet, from whom I have learnt so much. Overall, the French Chamber of Commerce has been a great boost for my agency and the involvement I have with them will never go unnoticed.
The French Chamber will always have a place within Chab Events.
One of our shelves in the office is dedicated to the directories of FCCS, however there is still space for the directories to come! In other words The French Chamber will always have a place within Chab Events.
Read also: An out-of-the-box experience-sharing session with Chab Events
A few tips for our new entrepreneur members?
I’ll share with you the tips that were shared with me, the ones that I still remember to this day. Firstly, I will tell you that “Cash is King”- Never underestimate the importance of cash flow, make sure the projects you do pay you beforehand. Secondly, always be weary of fake promises.
There is a saying I love and standby in my work; “If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far then go together”. It is better to share part of the pie that can lead you further, than keep it for yourself only to struggle and collapse.
This is why I share part of the pie with my trusted partners Alexis Lhoyer and Louis Bommelaer. Before, during and after our merge with Wanderwine in 2017, Alexis has been a great support and is now officially part of the Chab Events family.
However, It’s hard to manage other locations without a trusted team. Having Louis manage Chab Events France has proven to be a great decision. He is resourceful in the signing and delivery of various projects and the successes of the France company would not be possible without him.
And last but not least, Who inspires you? What is your business motto?
My greatest inspiration is my family. Mainly my father and my brother. My father was in business with Asia 50-60 years ago and re-opened the roads to this side of the world to our family who had previously been in the silk trade with China during most of the nineteenth century. Our family of 4 brothers and sisters have been or are still currently living in Asia and making their mark.
As for my elder brother, he is a true entrepreneur – after having spent 10 years in the business of luxury tourism with “Insiders Experience”. I have watched the difficulties he has faced and overcome and this in turn, inspired me to push forward and fight to achieve my goals. Without this level of motivation and inspiration I wouldn’t have the drive to make Chab Events a success.
I also have to thank MacGyver and his Swiss knife for teaching me how to utilise the bare minimum and remain optimistic.
The motto that drives all of us here at Chab is that “If plan A didn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters.”
Entrepreneur Spotlight with Guillaume Chabrieres of Chab Events
Published in FOCUS Magazine — Issue #3 2018 “The Innovation Issue”
Find out more about the French Chamber’s Platform for Start-ups & Entrepreneurs here!