by Alexandra Nicole Nuralam

Elisabeth Kurniawan on Lessons of Failure, Resilience & Self-Care

Elisabeth Kurniawan (@elisabethk) is an example of startup founders who established their career in other fields but the tech sector. She had her start in media and fashion, working with brands like Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and Saint Laurent in Los Angeles and New York before returning to Indonesia. The Shonet (short for Shopping Network) founder was also editor-in-chief of, a pop-culture and lifestyle online media company for young women in Indonesia.

Here, Elisabeth shares her career highlights, lessons of failure, and her self-care practices to relieve stress.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’d say that, after years of experience in the fashion industry, and technology, I thrive to continue building the industry through my contribution to technology. I believe that technology will play a huge role to push the industry forward. Currently, I am closing The Shonet, the company that I have built alongside with great partners and a great team. Although we had to say goodbye and made one of the hardest choices, we won’t be regretting what we built and accomplished, and we are looking forward to our next journey in the tech sector. 

What do you consider your greatest career highlight to date?

Some say that the greatest career is accomplishments in titles, progressions, etc. But I think after the past decade, it would be that I got to close a company that we have proudly built. We had the chance to start something, but not all get a chance to close a company. I have learned tremendous lessons from closing The Shonet; if we dare to start something, then we have to be ready to pull the plug and close it in a responsible manner too.

What is the greatest lesson of failure for you?

The greatest lesson for me is, if I had the chance to go back to 3 years ago, I would have chosen to take better care of myself so that I can take better care of others, which could probably lead to a different ending. And secondly, it is that I need to have the courage to make difficult decisions so much faster. 

Do you have any advice for young girls and women who are interested in working in the fashion industry?

If you really truly desire to work in the industry, you must know that it’s not going to be easy, but nothing good ever came easy anyway. Be resilient, extremely resilient. 

What is the most important piece of advice you have ever received to date?

“If you get to choose the easier way out of cheating, choose the longer route out of integrity. Integrity will never fail you in the long run.” 

Talk us through your skincare routine and your favourite beauty products.

I use mostly KOSÉ’s products in my daily routine. In the morning, it’s face wash, toner, anti-ageing cream, sunscreen, and then the eye serum from The Ordinary. At night, it’s face wash, toner, moisturizer and eye serum. I’ll apply the Kosé Sekkisei sleeping mask three times a week.

Do you have any self-care practices that help you cope with stress?

I meditate and exercise every morning. 

What are your hopes for the year ahead?

I hope that 2021 will be a better year for everyone. We are so looking forward to building the next thing in tech and to continue making an impact.

Elisabeth’s Beauty Picks
KOSÉ Sekkisei Supreme Washing Cream, SGD58
KOSÉ Sekkisei Emulsion, SGD49.60
KOSÉ Sekkisei Treatment Cleansing Oil, SGD30
KOSÉ Cream Excellent, SGD116
KOSÉ Sekkisei Save The Blue Toner, SGD73
The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG, SGD11.50