Jean Yip

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Jean Yip
Jean Yip.jpg
Born1958
Alma materAllan International Hairdressing School, Vidal Sassoon (London)
Spouse(s)Mervin Wee (m. 1986)
ChildrenCheryl Wee, Rachel Wee, Russell Wee

Jean Yip (born 1958) is the founder of the eponymous beauty and wellness company - the Jean Yip Group - that has grown to become an iconic name brand in Singapore. With beginnings as a hairstylist understudy to Sylvia Kho[1] in the 1970s, Jean opened her first salon at Katong Plaza in 1982.[2][3] Jean is also the mother of former actress and entrepreneur, Cheryl Wee.[4]

Background[edit | edit source]

Early life & family[edit | edit source]

Jean grew up in the Bugis area where she had lived in a three-storey shophouse along Malabar street.[5][6] Her grandmother, Hoong Xi, ran the famous Yip Kee chicken porridge cum zi char stall[7] while her father owned a hardware business.[8] Jean’s childhood trips to the salon with her grandmother contributed to her early interest in hair and beauty.[9]

Marriage to Mervin Wee (1986)[edit | edit source]

Jean Yip and Mervin Wee pictured in 1986. Photo from Young Parents.

Jean met her husband, Mervin Wee, in 1975 while on a blind date.[10] Jean’s father took an instant liking to Mervin, to the point of telling her that he was the man she should marry.[11][12] At the time, both of them were sixteen-year-olds who had a shared passion for hairstyling.[13] Mervin eventually joined his future wife's salon in 1984.[14][15]


Mervin proposed to Jean in 1985 after ten years of dating.[16][17] They got married in January 1986 at the Mandarin Hotel.[18] Heeding the advice of her grandmother, Jean and Mervin spent about HKD$35,000 (S$5,860) on a carefully chosen antique kua (a Chinese wedding garment) from Shanghai.[19][20] Considered as a family heirloom, Jean’s daughters have also donned their mother’s kua on their respective wedding days.

Jean Yip and her second daughter, Rachel Wee. Rachel is pictured wearing her mother's kua and the jade necklace heirloom. Photo from Women's Weekly.

Children[edit | edit source]

Jean and Mervin have three children[21] - Cheryl Wee, their eldest daughter,[22] Rachel Wee[23] and Russell Wee.[24][25] In 2018, Jean passed on one of the Yip family heirlooms to her second daughter, Rachel. The heirloom is a jade necklace that Mervin had gifted to Jean before he left for London to learn professional hairdressing.[26][27]

Education[edit | edit source]

After secondary school, Jean secretly enrolled in a nine-month hairdressing programme at a local hairdressing school despite her father’s objections.[28][29] She sought financial support from her mother to afford the $3,000 programme.[30] Jean’s father eventually acknowledged her passion and urged her to “learn from the best”.[31] Heeding her father’s advice, Jean moved to London and enrolled in the prestigious Allan International Hairdressing School and the Vidal Sassoon academy.[32] She worked at various salons in London for two years before heading back to Singapore.[33]

Career[edit | edit source]

Before founding Jean Yip[edit | edit source]

Jean kickstarted her career in Singapore by first becoming an understudy to Sylvia Khoo, an established bridal hairstylist in the 1970s.[34] As a testament to Jean’s skills, an appointment with her would have cost $500 - which was reportedly $200 above the market rate at the time.[35] After her stint as an understudy, Jean worked at a family-owned salon in Marine Parade.[36]

Jean Yip Group[edit | edit source]

In 1982, Jean opened Jean Yip Hair Studio at Katong Plaza.[37][38] She was barely 24 years old at the time. Since then, the Jean Yip brand has expanded across Singapore, with over 70 outlets across Malaysia, Indonesia and China as well.[39][40] As of 2020, Jean Yip has a team of over 800 creative hairstylists and professional beauty therapists.[41][42][43]

Awards & accolades[edit | edit source]

Year Award Title Awarding Organisation Refs.
2016 Singapore Tatler Award for Business Singapore Tatler [44]
2015 Top 10 Most Inspiring Businesswomen In Singapore Top 10 of Asia [45]
2003 Entrepreneur of the Year Award ASME Singapore [46][47]

References / Citations[edit | edit source]

  1. "A bridal headdress by Sylvia Kho". Roots.sg. Accessed on 31 March 2020.
  2. Jean Yip Singapore. “About”. Facebook. Accessed on 13 March 2020.
  3.  “Jean Yip Group”. SUPERBRANDS VOLUME X. Accessed on 13 March 2020.
  4. Hon, Jing Yi. “Mata Mata star Cheryl Wee to work for mom Jean Yip after series ends”. TodayOnline. June 27, 2015. Accessed on 17 March 2020.
  5. Chow, Cecilia. “Jean Yip’s hair-raising foray into property development”. EdgeProp. January 10, 2020. Accessed on 16 March 2020.
  6. Cheong, Suk-wai. The Sound of Memories. Singapore: National Archives of Singapore, 2019. Retrieved from Google Books.
  7. Leong-Salobir, Cecilia. Urban Food Culture: Sydney, Shanghai and Singapore in the Twentieth Century. New York: Springer Nature America, 2019. Retrieved from Google Books.
  8. Tan, Lauren. “The Fairest of Them All”. Prestige. November 4, 2016. Accessed on 16 March 2020.
  9. Chow, Cecilia. “Jean Yip’s hair-raising foray into property development”. EdgeProp. January 10, 2020. Accessed on 16 March 2020.
  10. Mervin Wee and Jean Yip”. Blissful Brides. Accessed on 13 March 2020.
  11. Molok, Natalya. “Here’s why this family heirloom Jean Yip owns is so meaningful to her”. AsiaOne. May 13, 2018. Accessed on 13 March 2020.
  12. Jean Yip’s husband sold his car and ate pork floss for a month to buy this for her”. Young Parents. May 8, 2019. Accessed on 13 March 2020.
  13. Faizal bin Yahya. Singapore Perspectives 2011: Our Inclusive Society: Going Forward. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing, 2011. Retrieved from Google Books.
  14. Jean Yip Group”. SUPERBRANDS VOLUME X. Accessed on 13 March 2020.
  15. Jean Yip Group”. Singapore Memory Project. Accessed on 17 March 2020.
  16. Molok, Natalya. “Find Out Why This Family Heirloom Jean Yip Owns Is So Meaningful To Her”. Women’s Weekly. May 7, 2018. Accessed on 17 March 2020.
  17. Mervin Wee and Jean Yip”. Blissful Brides. Accessed on 13 March 2020.
  18. Tan, Lauren. “The Fairest of Them All”. Prestige. November 4, 2016. Accessed on 17 March 2020.
  19. Jean Yip’s husband sold his car and ate pork floss for a month to buy this for her”. Young Parents. May 8, 2018. Accessed on 16 March 2020.
  20. Natalya, Molok. “Find Out Why This Family Heirloom Jean Yip Owns Is So Meaningful To Her”. Women’s Weekly. May 7, 2018. Accessed on 16 March 2020.
  21. Tan, Celine. “”This Baby Saved My Life”, Says Seven-Months-Pregnant Cheryl Wee”. 8 Days. January 30, 2018. Accessed on 13 March 2020.
  22. Wee-Salter, Marianne. “Young Love: Introducing Cheryl Wee and Roy Fong, Society’s New It Couple”. Tatler Singapore. Accessed on 16 March 2020.
  23. Rachel Wee and Ken’s Mermaid-Themed “Crazy Rich Asians” Wedding in Singapore”. the WEDDING scoop. September 24, 2019. Accessed on 16 March 2020.
  24. Quek, Eunice. “Jean forced daughter to return to her studies”. The Straits Times. March 10, 2010. Accessed on 17 March 2020.
  25. Durai, Jennani. “Dancing salsa in Barcelona”. The Straits Times. September 11, 2013. Accessed on 17 March 2020.
  26. Jean Yip’s husband sold his car and ate pork floss for a month to buy this for her”. Young Parents. May 8, 2018. Accessed on 16 March 2020.
  27. Molok, Natalya. “Find Out Why This Family Heirloom Jean Yip Owns Is So Meaningful To Her”. Women’s Weekly. May 7, 2018. Accessed on 17 March 2020.
  28. Jean Yip Group”. SUPERBRANDS VOLUME X. Accessed on 13 March 2020.
  29. Low, JingYi. “10 Power Women In Singapore And The Experiences That Shaped Them”. Vulcan Post. 2015. Accessed on 13 March 2020.
  30. Tan, Lauren. “The Fairest of Them All”. Prestige. November 4, 2016. Accessed on 16 March 2020.
  31. Low, JingYi. “10 Power Women In Singapore And The Experiences That Shaped Them”. Vulcan Post. 2015. Accessed on 13 March 2020.
  32. Jean Yip Group”. SUPERBRANDS VOLUME X. Accessed on 13 March 2020.
  33. Tan, Lauren. “The Fairest of Them All”. Prestige. November 4, 2016. Accessed on 16 March 2020.
  34. Tan, Lauren. “The Fairest of Them All”. Prestige. November 4, 2016. Accessed on 16 March 2020.
  35. Tan, Lauren. “The Fairest of Them All”. Prestige. November 4, 2016. Accessed on 16 March 2020.
  36. Jean Yip Group”. SUPERBRANDS VOLUME X. Accessed on 13 March 2020.
  37. Soh, Kristen Juliet. “Internationally-Acclaimed STRIP Is A Local Beauty Brand? We Share More About Them & 4 Other Singapore Brands We Love”. Daily Vanity. August 5, 2015. Accessed on 13 March 2020.
  38. Company Overview”. Jean Yip Group. Accessed on 16 March 2020.
  39. Loh, Genevieve. “‘We don’t live for ourselves’: Motherhood helped Cheryl Wee fight eating disorders”. CNA Luxury. Accessed on 16 March 2020.
  40. Jean Yip”. Tatler Singapore. Accessed on 13 March 2020.
  41. Jean Yip Singapore. “About”. Facebook. Accessed on 13 March 2020.
  42. Company Overview”. Jean Yip Group. Accessed on 16 March 2020.
  43. Jean Yip Group”. SUPERBRANDS VOLUME X. Accessed on 13 March 2020.
  44. Cheok, Susanah. “Singapore Tatler award for Business 2016---Mervin Wee And Jean Yip”. Singapore Tatler. November 8, 2016. Accessed on 17 March 2020.
  45. Top 10 Most Inspiring Businesswomen In Singapore”. Top 10 Asia. October 25, 2015. Accessed on 17 March 2020.
  46. Jean Yip Group”. Singapore Memory Project. April 27, 2015. Accessed on 17 March 2020.
  47. Milestones”. Jean Yip Group. Accessed on 17 March 2020.