May Phua’s six-figure Korean mattress business

The former MediaCorp actress aims to expand the business internationally 




After deciding not to renew her contract with MediaCorp last June, local actress May Phua has been busy working on her new venture – the 38-year-old, together with her Korean business partner, has brought in Acebed, a leading mattress brand in Korea, to Singapore.

In a phone interview with xinmsn last Friday, May let on that her investment is worth a six-figure sum and that the company aims to enter the international market in the future. “The headquarters will be based in Singapore and we will slowly expand [the business] to Hong Kong, Taiwan and more countries in the region,” she added. 

This is not the first time that the acclaimed actress is dabbling in business-making. Due to her hectic schedule during her time in showbiz, May pulled out from a furniture business with her friends after a five-year stint. 

In late 2013, May suffered from spinal cord displacement which caused her legs to become numb while walking or driving. As she did not wish to undergo surgery, the mother of two started researching on the different types of mattresses in the market. Through her Korean friend who had already launched the business at the time, May found out about Acebed’s unique “Zero-sinking” feature.

“It is not a small business, so I specially did market research. We discussed the details for a year before taking the plunge,” she reiterated.

Currently, the warehouse and office are located in Woodlands while the mattresses are fully manufactured in Korea and exported to Singapore. Late last year, Acebed received encouraging response at its pop-up shop in Robinsons. The company is also in talks with other departmental stores regarding product stocking.




Business is taking over time with kids

Although her business is getting on track, managing it is just as – if not even more – stressful for May.

“I don’t have fixed working hours. We have an online store, so I’m constantly paying attention to my business. Most of the time, I just need my mobile phone or a laptop [to do work],” the actress explained.

While her original intention for quitting showbiz was to spend more time with her two sons, May’s entrepreneurial endeavour has inevitably affected her role as a full-time mum. Thankfully for May, she has an understanding mother-in-law who shares her childcare duties and helps to look after the kids. 

“Occasionally, I’d bring my 10-year-old son to the office and he would ask: ‘Why do you have to prepare proposals? Mummy, are you very stressed?’ Then I’d tell him that I’m not somebody’s employee now and that I’m working for myself!” she shared.

May’s last appearance in a local drama was Ch8’s The Caregivers last year. When asked if she plans to return to the small screen, the ambitious thespian revealed that she did receive invitations to participate in several dramas over the past six months. Her main concern, however, is juggling between her filming schedule and other commitments.

“If you have noticed, I still appear in variety shows and various public events. I think it’s good to remain in contact with my ex-colleagues,” the actress emphasised.

This interview is translated by Dang Hui Ling. 

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