Billy Lim - Hair is His Canvas!!

IJ Anita Tejwani
Published on: 13th January 2015
Being independent in terms of business and good at drawing and art, with great communication skills and love for hair, Billy Lim sparked with the right choice of career for self! A Hair Salon!! This story goes around the struggles Billy Lim, a renowned hairstyle artist, had to face from his childhood.

“I think of it as a service orientated profession and I strongly believe in the social presence of an individual,” says Billy.

His father passed away when he was still schooling. Being the youngest one in the family, he felt he was looked upon trivially. His elder brother was an engineer by profession. The same was expected from him too, but he was enthusiastic about creating new art and soon fell in love with hair dressing when he turned 18. “I would visit hair saloon very often during my secondary school years,” he laughs.

He was determined about his dream and willing to work hard to achieve it. But that was not enough. He needed a team to work with- to lead networks and a professional set to work in. He then got in touch with some friends who were willing to volunteer but they would leave soon. Setting up everything for a rewarding career took him 3-4 years. “It took too long to share my idea and get a committed Founder and equally committed members,” says Billy. This process of single-handedly working out the documentations, registering his brand, marketing, planning and organising various activities made him a great manager too.
Billy Lim - Hair is His Canvas, dressing
This made him think, and a spark to launch the Malaysian Hairdressing Association ignited in him. “We didn’t have an active association for hairdressers in Malaysia; neither did we have a National Hairdressing Association. The hair industry here was followed by Europe, America and Japan,” says Billy. The need of a national platform for hairdressers and hair industry traders to communicate and share ideas was the fire that gave birth to Malaysian Hairdressing Association. MHA is committed to Education, Exposure and Networking that empowers the hairdressers of Malaysia towards a better future. It got officially launched on 21st February 2005. “I knew to start something with a great vision. Around 30 years ago, it wasn’t easy, but to sustain it is even more challenging,” recalls Billy Lim who has now turned 50 but young enough to work hard each day to maintain the success and all that he has achieved because of his hard work.

While all these challenges surrounded Billy, he would keep himself motivated by reading books by authors like Dale Carnegie and attending seminars of motivational speakers like Robert Kiyosaki and Anthony Robins.

Billy Lim authored the “Malaysia Small-Medium Salon Management” which was one of its kind and pride of Local Hairdressers in 1998. “I never dreamt of it, and only considered it as a contribution to the industry. I felt proud that my books were selling in 2 of the biggest book store chains- the Popular Book Store and the MPH Book Store,” he smiles.

He is the first and the only local hairdresser who conducts salon management seminar. He never had a chance to go to the university to study but he now feels honoured being called by the universities to give talks about personal grooming. “Once in a seminar, a salon owner brought me my book for signing an autograph which really made me feel like a star!” he narrates.

Billy has led many people professionally but keeps a low profile. He states, “Fame or glamour will come along, and that’s not my main expectation.” He also adds, “I was invited to so many red carpet events or launches that I usually choose to use the alternative entrance instead of main door. I think people appreciate us for not ‘where we are’ but ‘who we are’.”

Good hairstyle makes people feel good, confident, satisfied and proud of it. The hairdressing is a culture; it is very healthy and necessary. Hairstyling plays prominent role in developing personality and making beautiful people have a beautiful lifestyle.
“Art, love and happiness is my ultimate vision. Make more people happy beside all the material things they have. To make hair industry and hairdressing profession to network link to each other, each of them shall be a winner in win-win cooperation.”

Billy was offered to set out an outlet of Morris Masterclass International Group in Kuala Lumpur and he became the managing director. It was the first time that Malaysian people got the chance to study international hairdressing programme without travelling out of country. Also along came the World Federation of Supreme Hairdressing School qualification. “I personally am very concerned about the local hairdressing standard and the hair-dressers skills that I think will contribute much for hairdressing to be recognised,” he states.

According to Billy Lim, hairdressing is an art, a business, social work, a lifestyle, and much more. He says, “Head is on top for human, hair is on top of the top.” Billy’s journey with MTH salon started 20 years back and it has furnished in the best ways possible. He has now limited the time he spends at salon but in that time he has his close customers with whom he can discuss about politics, economy, science, philosophy, art, social work, and much more.

“My father inspired me to become a person with clear thoughts. He always said ‘Not to ask anything from anyone if I am not doing anything for them.’ And may be this has kept me moving on,” narrates Billy.

On a scale of 1-10, how inspiring did you find this article?