We had the good fortune of connecting with Sherri Tan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sherri, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I love this question! I am more risk tolerant than most people I know in the sense that I will take the plunge if my heart/instincts says it’s the right thing to do. This has served me well in my life + career and I have reap the rewards of those risky decisions even though they might not make sense to people around me at that time. A mentor from my Wall Street days once told me that: “In life, you have to choose your battles wisely. Don’t just choose the ones you think you can win, but only choose the battles that will gain you a ton of upside if you win”. Those words has stayed with me and I think about risks the same way. Over time, I have refined the approach and will add that I only take risks where I have a reasonable chance (more than 40%) of success based on what I know of my own ability. For example, I took a huge risk coming to the U.S. for my undergraduate education when I cannot fully afford the entire tuition+room&board even after receiving a full tuition scholarship from my college. I’ve never left Malaysia (or even the island I’m from) at that time, I don’t know anyone in the US at all that I can reach out to for help if needed. But still, I thought it could be the adventure of a life time. Over the years, I realize that if you believe you can make something happen, you usually can. Back then, I made it work with working the maximum of 20 hours/week allowed and also managed to find a philanthropist who made an exception and gave me a loan for the remainder that I need. In my career, I had a lot of pressure from my very stereotypical Asian parents who wants me to be an engineer or “something solid like that”. The rebel in me told them I can’t put together an electronic circuit to save my life so it’s just not an option I can work with at all. I was fortunate to discover my passion for sales and trading in college, but the odds are against me since Wall Street firms do not tend to hire sales & trading interns or junior analysts from liberal arts college. I was determined to find a way to realize my dream, and it did turn out to be very rewarding professionally. After almost a decade on Wall Street, I took another risk by walking away from a financially rewarding career, went to business school and then moved to Los Angeles and invested in a bridal store that I rebranded and repositioned. It is a life-style driven decision that is not popular with my conservative asian parents. It definitely did not make sense to anyone since I have 0 experience in the fashion or bridal industry. Yet the investor in me saw an opportunity, I trusted my instincts and went for it. Now 4 years later, I’m grateful we are still thriving and weathered the COVID Storm fairly well. All in all, trusting my instincts has worked out well for me and I do enjoy looking at risks and making appropriate decisions on them. Like Marie Kondo says, as long as it brings you joy! 🙂
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Fleurish L.A. is born after a complete rebranding and repositioning of an existing bridal store I acquired in 2017. My investments usually include other partners but Fleurish is 100% my baby which I can take in any direction, so I am especially excited to have the opportunity to incorporate my personal believe in profit with a purpose into it. For every wedding dress we sell, Fleurish L.A. donates a prom dress to a high school girl in need. As each bride transition into the new phase of their life as wife and mother, we thought their best gift to another girl is to help them flourish into womanhood, rounding out a beautiful cycle of femininity. We primarily donate to the LA Unified School District for their “Prom Day” event where they work with underserved girls in the community. In 2019, I also started bringing my golden retriever to work and he’s now our unofficial therapy dog keeping our environment fun and chill (in case any brides are stressed out with their shopping).
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m a beach bum so I’ll definitely be taking them to the various beach towns along the coast – Malibu, hanging out around the Malibu Country Mart, Santa Monica & the pier catching an amazing sunset and checking out the various events the pier has to offer, Venice Beach and Abbot Kinney, then on to Manhattan Beach/South Bay, the Palos Verdes peninsula with those awesome cliff views, then down to Laguna Beach. I’d of course also take them to Shibumi, a kappo-style Japanese restaurant I’m partly involved/invested in which was on Jonathan Gold’s list and was awarded a Michelin star last year. The DTLA arts district is pretty cool, Two Bit Circus is a personal favorite. So much good food in the area! Lastly, korean bbq at Genwa! I never fail to bring all my visitors there for the best galbi in town! 😀 The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to give a big shoutout to Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) https://www.seo-usa.org SEO is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing supplemental educational and career support to young people from underserved communities. SEO has multiple career programs and the one I participated in help bulge bracket investment banks recruit student of color for summer internships. As a female student of color at a liberal arts college, my chance of getting an interview directly with those firms in my division of interest (sales and trading) are practically 0. (Trading floor at investment banks are traditionally >95% white male dominated). SEO help made that possible, I interviewed with them, was accepted into their career program, placed with an investment bank in the area of my interest (sales and trading). In addition, I was provided 3 mentors: one from SEO’s career program, one SEO alum at the bank itself, and another SEO alum from a competitor investment bank. SEO interns have an over 90% rate of receiving a job offer from the company they are placed with, so my career path was basically set once I have been accepted. I will not be where I am today without this organization, they have my eternal gratitude. Thank you again SEO! Proud to be an SEO’04
Other: Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/fleurishl
Photographer. for all pics (except the one with the asian couple): Lisa Ruschioni https://prettyboldphotography.com Photographer for the couple at a private estate (asian couple): Joy Strotz https://www.strotzphotography.com