John Tham
Director, Salon Vim
Corporate Sponsor:
Babes Pregnancy Crisis Support

Who are you? Tell us a bit more about yourself!

I am a believer of ‘dreams do come true’, I have proven that to myself and I will continue to build my dreams. I have the cutest dog tintin and the loveliest fiancée Tricia.

What’s your story? Tell us about a life-changing incident.

I quit academics at 16 as I really was not made of “study-material”. After which, I was caught in between being a chef vs. hairdresser, in the end I found that true calling was hairdressing. I started as an apprentice for 2 years and then worked in a Japanese salon for 4 years but I felt a constant need for greater progression in my life. Lucky for me, I met my current bosses Riz and Gary. They gave me the opportunity to be where I am today which I am so grateful for. After in the industry for 6 years, I felt did not have a platform to showcase their work to end-consumers; but we have so much passion for what we do! And that’s when I decided to tap on social media to help grow our industry. With the trust that I got from Riz and Gary to spearhead this project, we have been highly successful in showcasing our work with on social media. With a little perseverance and out-of-the-box ideas, I’ve been able to change the hairdressing industry. And so with not much academic qualifications, with lots of belief and hard work, my dream has come true to what I am today.

Why 50for50 and why now?

I was approached for 50for50 through a friend, and when I heard of the idea of what they wanted to do, I immediately said yes. With all the blessings that I’ve received in the last few years, I feel it’s about time that I do something and hopefully bring a change to someone who needs it.

What gets you up in the morning?

I wake up every morning knowing that it’s a brand new day to continue the work that I do and be driven by my passion. I am truly eager to contribute to the hairdressing industry, to have new ideas and keep changing the impression that people have of hairdressers. I want to be able to influence and bring hope to my fellow peers to be leaders and game changers in their own right. And knowing that I can change someone’s hairstyle and lift their spirits or give them the confidence they need is good enough for me with the little impact that I make everyday.

Why this cause out of so many causes?

I chose to work with Babes as I want to be able to create opportunities for people who might need it. Through a friend, I came to know of this organization who helps single pregnant teens, and often times, due to their family situation, they end up leaving school and perhaps not following through with further education. For someone who quit school at 16, I can understand how important and useful a skill can be. Through my fundraising, I hope to create a programme with Babes for the girls who wish to take up hairdressing as a skill, through supporting their training and giving them the guidance that they need to succeed in this world.

Any experiences with charity or non-profit work before?

This is my first time.

What kind of change are you looking to bring about as a changemaker?

I am someone who’s experienced first-hand all kinds of social taboo, I never followed the typical educational route and being a hairdresser in our Asian culture is sometimes frowned upon. However, I have made my way so far today despite not being the norm. I want to make a difference to all walks of people who need it, for them to understand that you can be lost sometimes, but you can definitely find your way out of it. And that being a skill-based worker doesn’t mean that my life is worse-off than a white-collared office worker. With Babes specifically, as we are working with teens, it is very important that we work towards giving them support with a hand-up and not a hand-out, which is why we want to help give them skills for the future. They are young girls and their future is bright.

What is your big idea on how to raise funds for 50for50?

I will be working with my marketing team to create an in-salon campaign which raises funds through the services that we do. My biggest assert are my clients and our salon can be a great platform to spread the word to a wide audience. Also, I hope that friends on social media would be kind enough to render me the support that I need!