This husband and wife duo are founding partners of Employees Only Singapore and Hong Kong. Josh enjoyed great success as Director of Worldwide Operations for the Pangaea Group and Sarissa, a stalwart of Singapore's nightlife industry, has launched hugely succesful venues in Singapore including Bang Bang and Employees Only with Josh.
You were born into the food and beverage industry. What's kept you sticking around?
I actually spent most of my 20s trying to get out of the industry and ‘go legit’ as I thought I could ever have a normal life if I stayed in F&B. I worked as an actor, sold real estate and even worked on Wall Street but finally realised that F&B was where I was most happy and that if I built a career and enjoyed my job, some of the sacrifices would be worth it.
What elements of your nightclub knowledge have assisted with the Asian success of EO?
I think entertainment is entertainment in the end. I've always moved between doing restaurants, bars, nightclubs and hotels. There’s a common thread that runs through all of those things - people are looking for an experience when they go out. It’s not only about one element as you have to be able to excite all of their senses if you want them to keep coming back.
What challenges do you think the HK scene will present?
Every city presents unique challenges. The best way to overcome that is to thoroughly research the market before deciding to open. Just because a market doesn’t currently have a particular brand, doesn’t mean they want it or will welcome it. I think HK has a very evolved restaurant scene so we are focusing on adding a few more dishes to the EOHK restaurant menu.
You’ve just launched LuLu’s Lounge in Singapore and then straight onto EOHK, whilst also making huge waves in Singapore in a short time. What’s your key to success?
I treat every day as if it's just the beginning. I don't look at the previous weekend's success and think ‘wow, I've done it!’. Instead, I start from scratch and try to build on that success. I ask myself a series of questions what seems like a thousand times a day on how something could be tweaked to be better, what went wrong, how do I envision a certain evening going, and how will that vision be executed. It's quite exhausting, but very satisfying when it all comes together.
You’re a member of the CRIB Gala Committee. Tell us more about your role and how you mentor female entrepreneurs.
The CRIB Gala is a wonderful annual event that raises funds for various charities to benefit disadvantaged women and children, and raise awareness for the CRIB Society, which is a non-profit that provides incubation, mentorship, and networking for aspiring female entrepreneurs, which I of course believe in and am passionate about. I was honoured to be on the Committee for this year's CRIB Gala, which was a big success and greatly benefited Emancipation, non-profit organisation helping to disrupt the business of child sex trafficking.
What’s one key piece of advice you give to budding female entrepreneurs?
Always ask questions, truly listen to the answers, and be thoughtful with the knowledge given to you but stand by your decisions.