It's no secret that Singapore is the top pick for expats when it comes to relocation... and it's no different for the hair and beauty industry.
Many quality Japanese and Korean salons have popped up in recent years as more and more competent Japanese and Korean stylists relocated to Singapore for work. As National Day nears, we speak to a few of them to find out why they made the move to Singapore!
The answers we found were surprising(ly entertaining) so read on to find out what they are.
Just like how the grass is always greener on the other side, Singapore is often portrayed as a paradise in Japan and Korea.
Yes, we Singaporeans know that much of this is advertising but many Japanese and Korean stylists genuinely see Singapore as heaven on earth!
I love Singapore! It's a place where safety is never in question, career prospects is good, food is yummy, people are nice with a strong expat community here to act as a support network and a place you can learn English.I hope to be able to stay here for a very long time!- Nicky from Zinc Salon
When you look at it from that perspective, Singapore does seem pretty attractive, doesn't it?
Very commonly, we hear that people want to come to Singapore to get a higher pay. This stylist however took the chance to escape from his overbearing parents who was trying to control every part of his life... even after his marriage!
My mom was breathing down my neck so much I couldn't wait to escape from her clutches! Better career prospects in the paradise we see as Singapore was the only way I could leave home with her blessing!- Nik Kim - Nik Kim
Now, who can relate to that?
You know how they say love makes you do crazy things?
Sometimes, that includes moving hours away from home.
I came over to Singapore because I was deeply in love with my Singaporean boyfriend, who is very nice to me, good-looking, and loves me alot!Now, we're happily married!- Tomomi from Allumer Japanese Beauty Salon
With so many eligible Japanese and Korean stylists and beauticians in Singapore, it is no wonder why matchmaking agencies are sprouting up to link them up with locals!
Singaporean customers are very kind, respectful and courteous.They don't treat us like helpers, the way some customers treat us back home.- Mari from Pro Trim Salon @ Causeway Point
It isn't just Singaporean men who are attractive. Apparently we are pretty nice compared to people in their home countries.
Yes, I know we like to put ourselves down but actually, most of us are pretty decent people who respect our stylists. We are open to foreigners and readily accept people from other nationalities as our own. We don't judge them or scold them when they do not know how to speak perfect English.
Instead, we smile, call every one "Aunty" and "Uncle" and even take selfies with them so the supportive environment made the Japanese and Korean stylists feel very welcome.
Home to people of all races, religion and nationality, Singapore is a melting pot of cultures where you can find Indians, Malays, Chinese, Eurasians and even Europeans, Australians, Kiwis and Americans living peacefully all in one place.
Singapore is so exciting as I never know who will walk through the door and let me work my magic on them. It could be an Asian, a Caucasian expat or even a Middle Eastern lady who needs my expertise to manage her hair!- Megumi from COVO Japanese Hair Salon @ Katong
This gives the stylists a chance to work with many different clients as they get exposed not only to Asian hair types but even Caucasian hair due to the huge number of expats who live and work in Singapore.
I love working here because I don't just pick up English here, I meet many different people from different places who teach me some of their languages so I learn a little bit of Mandarin, a little bit of Malay and even a little bit of Tamil along with Singlish of course!- Manami from Walking on Sunshine
Since English is a language that is widely used in Singapore, many foreigners enjoy coming here to work or live in order to improve their English skills. So it isn't just English they're exposed to.
Many of them pick up Mandarin, Malay, Tamil and even UK-accented English or French Accented English if they deal with a number of expats! Additionally, due to the presence of Singlish and abundance of foreigners, locals are used to meeting people whose first language is not English. They are patient and kind to others while they learn to communicate.
I love travelling as it opens up my mind and lets me fully immerse into another culture.Singapore is a perfect place to live, work and travel because there are so many gorgeous destinations around Singapore I can have direct travel linkages to!- Asha from Style NA @ Compass One
As Singapore is a transport hub to many ASEAN countries, a lot of stylists like to come here to work and jet off to neighbouring countries like Krabi, Bali and other parts of Indonesia / Thailand when they are able to take a break!
Japan is far too cold for me in most months.I love it that Singapore has summer all year round!- Tomo from Flamingo Hair Studio
While locals may complain about the heat and humidity that doesn't seem to end, Japanese and Korean stylists LOVE coming here for the year-long summer. Some, like Tomo, even wonder if they're born in the wrong country as she loves waking up with the sun rays in her face and wearing light summer clothes all year round.
It sounds like a joke but it's not.
Yes, we still work very hard in Singapore but at least there is some room for us to breathe, even go to yoga or take a short break from work at times. - Satoko from Michaela Japanese Hair Salon
Korean and Japanese stylists work A LOT harder back at home where they get clients one after another without rest. The rigid systems make it difficult for them to take any off days so they work almost 365 days a year. Here in Singapore, they find themselves taking a breather, getting similar or slightly higher pay without working their health to death.
Singapore has had a lot of progress in many areas. There are however not enough stylists to push forward innovation with regards to hair and beauty. Hence, we hope to come in and fill the gap to grow the industry together!- Hye Jin from LeeKaJa Korean Hair Salon
Despite our world-class status as a must-visit destination, Singapore is not yet seen as the fashion capital of the world with our ladies too busy handling the demands of work and family to maintain themselves well in the hair and beauty arena. There are also not enough Singaporean stylists with a high enough level of skill and service to push the industry forward.
As the hair industry is much more developed in Japan and Korea, there is an opportunity for them to fill the gap and share what they've learned in their home country with our Singaporean ladies.
I love Singapore food especially chilli crab and chicken rice!- Shun from Shun Sakurai
Known to many as a food-loving city, Singapore's colourful cuisine is one of many reasons why people choose to visit. Not only is there an abundance of local dishes that are available here, but Singapore is a one-stop destination for cuisines from around the world. You can have Punjabi food for breakfast, Turkish food for lunch and Italian pasta for dinner!
The only problem? Many stylists find themselves gaining weight months after coming to Singapore thanks to the nonstop eating!
Intrigued by some of these stylists?
Check out our article on which Japanese and Korean salons to try in Singapore here!