Inner Strength, Inner Fortress

Even as I write this, my heart goes out to the good people in Russia and Ukraine.

Let us continue to hope and pray that this senseless conflict comes to an end quickly with minimal loss of lives.

With Women’s Day just around the corner, I thought it would be good to talk about inner strength or inner greatness.

By inner greatness, I don’t mean Penny Essentials Chocolates in the tummy.

Although it did begin with butterflies in the stomach.

Here’s my story.

Left: All dressed up and ready to paint the town red! I can’t remember much about the evening except that it felt incredibly hot and airless.

Right: One of the many bazaars or souks. This is in an old part of town. Looking at this picture now, I can still remember the sights and smells.

We (my husband Andrew and I) spent 7 wonderful years there and felt it was time to start a new chapter.

Only we didn’t know where to begin.

My background was in IT and auditing.

All my life, I’ve worked for other people.

What did I know about starting a business?

How am I supposed to do everything- from finding suppliers to stock management to marketing plus other responsibilities I probably didn’t even know existed?

I had no network, no immediate business mentors and a finite amount of capital for mistakes and errors.

To minimise risk, I spent many late nights researching various kinds of businesses.

I also joined several business and online groups, and discovered like-minded friends who were willing to share their knowledge and collaborate on new ventures.

Before I know it, I had become an ‘entrepreneur’, firmly strapped to the train of the rollercoaster of self-employment.

Through many ups and downs, I had two very able companions beside me.

My best friend and life partner Andrew who’s always there when I need a sounding board, and help manage the family and household when my attention is needed elsewhere.

And my mom, who would patiently listen, counsel, support, and encourage me to explore new things and take action.

Without both of them- the soul and foundation of my business- I would have been flung off the train a long time ago!

It was such a privilege to meet Datin Winnie Loo. Through her life’s journey, I’ve learned that women can truly have it all: As a nurturing mother, loving wife and successful entrepreneur.

One thing I’ve learned: Self-love comes before inner greatness.

Before you can see further, you must be able to lift your eyelids.

Before you can lend a hand, you must have the strength to extend your hand.

For me, self-love comes from eating well (including enjoying fine chocolates), exercising often, managing stress levels, having enough rest, keeping a close circle of friends and doing things that make me happy.

Yes, I know it can sound rather elitist. I prefer the term ‘blessed’ and make no apologies!

Left: When we were just starting out, one of our clients included Penny Essentials Chocs in her CNY hampers. It makes me so happy whenever I think about it.

Right: One of our very first gift packs. I placed each sticker individually to see how it would look and feel like.


To all women out there: as Daughters, Sisters, Wives, Mothers and Leaders- we all have a role to play.

No matter where you are, how old you are, or how many gifts you think you have- your role is no less important.

Your unique gifts and talents were given to you for a reason.

You are in this place and time for a purpose bigger than you can imagine.

The saying, Women hold up half the sky, has never been truer.

Discover your inner greatness.

Share your inner greatness.

Inner Greatness from Penny Essentials Chocolates. In Celebration of International Women’s Day 2022. 3 Large Bars (75gm each) of our most popular flavours. Now just RM69. Regular price RM99. Packed in an elegantly designed box. Promo valid until 31 March 2022.


Penny Choong

Penny Choong is the founder of Penny Essentials and leader of Savvy Oilers, one of the largest essential oils community in Malaysia and is a champion of holistic health and wellness. From pilates and chocolates to financial workshops, art classes and gourmet collaborations, Penny’s philosophy on wellness is as wide-ranging as it is inclusive – for a good reason. To her, wellness comes in many forms, all viable, as long as one finds purpose and joy in it.

The most important element to wellness, however, is connection, which is why today, she leads a community of over 38,000 people who support each other in staying the course on their life-long journey to holistic well-being.

While centred on the use of essential oils and natural products as a way of life, Penny’s varied initiatives and engagements include wellness workshops, meditative art sessions, co-creation with artisanal brands, entrepreneurship sharing, and, most recently, chocolate making.

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