Ming Bridges, Founder of Rentadella
Recovering and rediscovering her passion
After a year of discovering herself apart from her identity as a singer, something that she held onto for a long time, she started Rentadella after reigniting her passion for fashion from the age of 12, which was when she knew that she wanted to have a sharing platform for fashion and had designed a whole website on paper. At 18, she revisited the idea again, but knew she would not be able to do both singing and starting a business properly at the same time.
When she saw businesses like Rent The Runway in the US and rental companies in Australia popping up, she said, “I felt, well, jealous! I knew that it was what I wanted to be doing and literally started Rentadella overnight.” Her new found confidence in herself and burning passion to start Rentadella was all the motivation she needed. “It actually didn’t even feel like a choice – I just started doing it before I knew what I was doing. I had no clue what to do, but 100% faith that I would just figure it out along the way.”
What is Rentadella?
Rentadella Packaging Boxes, Below Their Rental Dresses
The fashion rental company targets mainly women around the ages of 25 to 40, but they also pride themselves in catering to all women for all seasons of life. Prom season for 18-year-olds is huge for Rentadella, and they also do very well with mothers of brides. Their most popular styles at the moment would be Registration of Marriage (ROM) dresses. However, prior to COVID, wedding guest dresses were extremely popular. Rentadella started off as a company which did predominately casual, party, and cocktail designer items but Ming quickly realised that people saw more value in renting formal wear. “The feeling you get when you help someone feel beautiful for their special event, and buying beautiful pieces that you know many people can wear is wonderful! I love fashion and shopping – and it’s nice knowing I can buy a piece to wear and know others will get to wear it for their special events as well.”
Leveraging her current network
Ming Bridges Used Her Network from the Entertainment Industry to Gain Exposure
Learning to ask for help
Rentadella’s Dresses, Arranged According to Colours
Hiring employees was a massive challenge to Ming. “Trusting other people with your baby (my business) and to do a job you’ve been doing everyday is very difficult, especially when you have no experience in training. I’ve had to trust my gut but once again, have also made mistakes and found people to talk to about how one goes about conducting proper interviews. I believe in setting a probation period, not only to make sure your employee is the right fit for your company, but also to make sure that they are also happy working with you. I’ve never worked for anybody outside of the entertainment industry, so I have no experience regarding the employee / employer relationship, it is something I am continually asking for advice on.”
Through her entrepreneurship journey, Ming has learnt that being extremely clear, both with her customers and staff has been important. “I’ve learnt that sometimes you need to be respected more than you want to be liked. That there are a lot of people out there who are ready to help you on your journey but also a lot of people who don’t want you to succeed – it’s figuring out who is who. That you cannot do everything by yourself. To make sure you do the numbers. And also the research – there are a lot of grants available in Singapore to help first time business owners that I had no idea about! That rest is important, and working less but more efficiently is much better than busying yourself 24/7 with things you don’t do much.
Sometimes, just jumping headfirst and allowing yourself to make stupid mistakes helps because that is the best way to learn what you want to do.”
Adapting with the times
Rentadella’s Showroom and Fitting Room
On juggling it all
Ming Bridges, on How She Manages All Her Responsibilities
When asked how she balances her personal and professional life, Ming says, “I am not good at juggling – I’m very much an all-or-nothing person. I’m either working, or on holiday. I walk at 7am every morning with my parents and dog, so no matter what I see them everyday. I work closely with my mum and she’s my main confidant when it comes to making decisions with Rentadella, so spending time with her has never been an issue. For my own mental health and to spend time with my fiancé, I try my best to shut off work by dinner time so I can relax and unwind with him – this usually involves watching mindless TV to shut off my brain. I think a lot, so it helps having something non-specific to focus on if that makes sense! I also try my hardest not to eat too much sugar during stressful periods as I’ve noticed a correlation between my breakdowns and how much sugar I’ve been consuming!”
Prioritising, working hard, and playing hard
For anyone looking to start a business, Ming’s advice is to start small and make mistakes quickly to minimise the amount of loss. “I learned the hard way that the things that may work in Australia, may not work in Singapore! Do everything yourself first so that if anything goes wrong, you know how to fix it. Metaphorically, I may be the one on the microphone but if my drummer calls in sick, or my saxophonist, or pianist, I know how to take over. Read up on rules and grants that Singapore offers to help you start up. Be bold like you have nothing to lose, knock on EVERY door. Be relentless. Even if you get 1 out of 100, that is huge!”