Image consultant Tina Liu Tin-lan has managed to pack a lot into her working life. She has been a singer, fashion stylist, art director, radio personality and executive, actress and writer, and even started her own music label, all before she decided to open her consultancy in 1994. She credits it all to one thing: timing.
'The '80s was a wonderful time. I really came back at the right time,' recalls Liu, who had the good fortune to return from Vancouver armed with a degree in film and communications, as Hong Kong filmmakers were churning out movies by the hundreds. From being a contract artist at TVB, Liu soon found herself on movie sets, in front of and behind the camera, working with directors such as Ann Hui and Tsui Hark.
'Looking back, it seems like I've done a lot; it's been a very rich life and I have no regrets. Although the jobs may seem different, they are all on the communications platform. I've just followed my interests,' Liu says.
Her long journey of self-discovery has made it easier to prioritise her time and efforts. 'Time management is important, but what's even more important is priority. You have to make give-or-take decisions. Now I only take jobs that interest me because then you have the drive, the inspiration and the curiosity to do a great job,' Liu says.
As the owner of a small business, it has often been hard for her to be away from work for too long, but last year she took the first step in claiming some time for herself. 'I needed a break and I happened to see this short appreciation course at the London College of Fragrances. I spent four days just listening to people talk to me about fragrances and smelling all the different scents. I promised myself then that I would walk away from work every year for a break,' she says.
This year, that short trip stretched to 17 days in London in September, attending two fashion-related courses and spending the time in between at museums, West End musicals, seeing friends and shopping. 'I had a great time. There was no need to rush. Although it was quite tiring, it was great being able to tick things off my to-do list. It was time well used. Now I've decided to make this time for myself every year. It's important for someone in my line of work.'
Lady Bangle Watch
'I bought this last year because I realised that all my watches were steel or white and I didn't have anything in this colour. I generally buy watches as fashion accessories.'
Pacer and Ventura
'Hamilton does a lot of vintage designs, which I love, especially with their non-conforming shapes. I bought these watches online because the local distributor didn't stock this line.'