If you’re the sort of person who enjoys being regularly pummelled and kneaded by strangers – and will happily fork out S$20+ for the privilege, you will no doubt have considered buying (or indeed already bought) a product from health and lifestyle company Osim International (SGX: O23). Famed for its high quality full-body massage chairs, such as the curiously named uDivine App, the company also makes foot, back, neck and even eye massagers, to allow massage lovers with big wallets the same de-stressing experience from the comfort of their own homes. But that’s not all. Ron Sim, founder and…
If you’re the sort of person who enjoys being regularly pummelled and kneaded by strangers – and will happily fork out S$20+ for the privilege, you will no doubt have considered buying (or indeed already bought) a product from health and lifestyle company Osim International (SGX: O23).
Famed for its high quality full-body massage chairs, such as the curiously named uDivine App, the company also makes foot, back, neck and even eye massagers, to allow massage lovers with big wallets the same de-stressing experience from the comfort of their own homes.
But that’s not all. Ron Sim, founder and CEO of Osim also owns ONI Global Pte. Ltd – the sole franchisee of vitamin and health supplement store GNC (General Nutritional Corporation) in Singapore, Australia and Malaysia.
ONI Global also owns the franchise for health supplement chain RichLife in China, Brookstone in the USA as well as a 45% stake in the luxury tea boutique brand TWG Tea (The Wellness Group”).
One of seven children born to a struggling family in Singapore, Ron Sim learnt about determination and hard work even as a small child, when he would sell prawn noodles door-to-door and wait tables on a fishball noodle stand to help support his family.
Sim took on an even wider variety of jobs – from working at shipyards and construction sites to selling encyclopaedias and insurance in order to earn money to fund his tertiary education. Indeed, proving to have quite a flair for sales, Sim turned down numerous job opportunities.
Instead, Sim decided to start his own trading company in 1980, selling household goods, such as knife sharpeners and drying racks. When this was forced to shut during the 1985 recession, Sim was undeterred and looked instead to the healthcare sector.
In 1987, he started a company called “Health Check & Care”, which, despite selling luxury lifestyle products such as massage chairs during a recession, proved a hit. Sim realised he needed to build an external economy and renamed the company “Osim” in 1994, believing it needed a more memorable and marketable name to realise his dream of becoming an international brand name.
But did you know…
- Osim gets its name from the surname of its founder – Ron Sim. The “O” represents the world.
- Mr Sim is listed at position 21 on the Forbes’ “Singapore’s 50 Richest List 2013 and is currently reckoned to be worth a cool S$1bn.
- The company has won many awards including the “reddot Design Award 2011” for Osim’s uVenus ambient air purifier.
- Ron Sim practises what he preaches regarding healthy lifestyle choices, working out regularly and having competed in numerous marathons and triathlons. What’s more, Mr Sim encourages his staff to do so, too – offering the tempting prize of “a week off work” to any staff members who compete in and finish Singapore’s annual International Triathlon.
- Mr Sim is currently looking to sell his Good Class Bungalow (GCB) in upmarket Bin Tong Park (featuring home theatre, swimming pool, tennis court and spa) for a whopping S$117m – or S$2,500 per square foot of land. If successful, his property will set a new record for Singapore real estate.
Today, the name Osim is synonymous with high quality massage chairs as well as high-end health and life style products – from air purifiers, vacuum cleaners and treadmills, to health supplements.
Osim has over 1,100 outlets in 28 countries throughout Asia, Australia, Africa, the Middle East, UK and North America – quite an achievement for that young boy who sold noodles at the age of nine.
Indeed, having worked hard for what he has, Sim offers this piece of advice to any young entrepreneurs: “If you want to win, be prepared to lose. Every loss is an opportunity; you learn something from every loss. We lose, many times”.
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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore contributor Alison Hunt doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned.