Behind their wisecracks and sometimes irreverent banter, Joseph and Daniel Lor mean business when it comes to taking their family’s leather accessories brand to new heights. Find out how they’re working towards financial success — to huat together with their team — with peace of mind.
As second-generation entrepreneurs, what’s the biggest lesson that Joseph and Daniel Lor have learnt?
“Don’t join your family business,” Dan quips, and both brothers burst into laughter. He then adds in all seriousness: “It’s super hard work. But it’s actually very rewarding as well.”
The Lor brothers work at Tocco Toscano — a local leather accessories brand founded by their father more than three decades ago.
Leading the company as chief executive officer (CEO) is Joe, 38, who took the helm in 2016. Dan, 35, is the financial controller, having joined the family business in 2019 from the wealth banking industry.
Over the past several years, Joe has come to understand that running a company and managing people are “extremely difficult, but also very important”. “You need to put in the work and make a lot of sacrifices… Business is not just about talent, but also the grind.”
When he first took over from their father, Joe worked more than 100 hours a week and slept on a safari bed in the office every day as he tried to turn the company around.
The company has since come a long way. Today, Joe and Dan are focusing on growing the brand in Southeast Asia, and targeting the US as one of its next locations.
"The Endowus platform is seamless and easy to use. And we like easy, because we’re just too busy doing other stuff."
For now, though, the Tocco Toscano team remains relatively lean, which means the brothers also lead various departments within the company, on top of their main roles.
“Because we’re an SME (small and medium-sized enterprise), we do a lot more than just our designated roles,” Joe notes.
Given this, time is especially scarce for them. Joe and Dan work seven days a week — which is why they decided to leave the planning of their personal finances to experts they trust, including Endowus.
This is despite the fact that Dan is actually more of a “hands-on” investor — if time permits. “I like to do my own research and analysis into the investments that I go into. But since I started working with my brother, I have really little time to handle my own finances because of my workload,” Dan says.
Investing made easy
Both of them like how simple it is to use the Endowus platform. Dan took less than five minutes to open his account on Endowus, for instance. Having used other investment platforms with cumbersome processes, he appreciates the seamless and user-friendly experience on Endowus, from start to finish.
It helps, too, that the duo’s Endowus client advisor is approachable and easy to talk to.
Dan describes their client advisor as transparent, honest, and reliable. “The recommended investments offer stable returns and the fees are pretty low as well,” Dan says.
Before Endowus, the Lor brothers had always wondered how best to use their CPF savings aside from buying a property in Singapore. “To be honest, we didn’t really know what we could do with our CPF until our advisor introduced us to all these investment funds and portfolios that we could use our CPF savings to invest in,” Dan says.
As for Joe, entrusting his wealth management to experts like Endowus is the ideal, fuss-free approach for someone like him who is not “that great'' at investing — he rates his own financial savviness a four out of 10.
In a nutshell, their Endowus experience can be summed up in one word — easy. “And we like easy, because we’re just too busy doing other stuff,” Joe says.
"We’ve always wondered how best to invest our CPF savings. We didn’t really know what we could do until our Endowus advisor introduced us to all these funds and portfolios that we could use CPF savings to invest in."
Growing the company is always top of mind for the Lor brothers, who practically live and breathe Tocco Toscano. Most of the profits are already being reinvested into the business. As Dan puts it: “We wake up thinking about the business; we go to sleep thinking about the business.”
Yet, despite the long hours and hard work, the brothers wouldn’t want it any other way.
Joe relishes the challenge of cultivating the brand and standing out in the industry. “I’m always chasing the next level… You need to up your game a lot more… I love it. I do this not even for the money; I do it for the competition,” he says with a laugh. “The competition is never-ending, but that’s the fun part, right?”
Seeing people carrying the company’s products on the streets also gives him a sense of accomplishment. “All the small things make me happy. When you’ve built the brand to a certain level of desirability, to me that’s success,” Joe says.
Does the stress of running the family business keep them up at night?
“It’s more of a self-imposed stress now, to do well for everybody that we’ve convinced to join us on this journey,” Joe says.
“I want to be able to pay for their all-expenses-paid (business) trips, give those multi-month bonuses, and just find ways to say, ‘Thanks for following me on this journey. Let’s huat together.’”
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