Elim Chew, founder of 77th Street

Elim Chew says her success as an entrepreneur is due to the example set by the revolutionary hairdresser Vidal Sassoon, who died this week, aged 84.

“He inspired me because I saw that a humble hairstylist can transform the industry and take his business worldwide,” Chew told The Story Exchange after learning of Sassoon’s death.

Vidal Sassoon

Sassoon helped “cut away sexism and patriarchy,” The Independent wrote in an obituary this week.

Chew says that Sassoon’s lasting influence led her to first start a hair salon and later 77th Street, a fashion and accessories business that she has expanded throughout Asia.

Chew studied at one of Sassoon’s hairdressing schools in London in the 1990s. She was a millionare by the time she was 27, and her company today employs 50 people. “He will always be my inspiration,” Chew told us.

Watch Elim Chew’s story below.