My Shop: SME Excellence Business Award & Aspiring Women Entrepreneurs Award 2022/2023
My Shop is an online retail company that specialises in manufacturing clothes. Even though they have a physical store in Bangkok, most of their clothes locally are sold on online e-commerce platforms through livestreams. Long before Ms Yvonne founded My Shop, her parents and aunt was already in the cloth manufacturing business, this gave her a head start in understanding how the business is like. She previously owned a few boutiques in Bugis Village and Novena Square 2.
Prior to starting her own business and knowing about live streams, she was helping with her family business in Chong Pang and her parents were the first generation owners. It was known as “Shikibo International Trading Company” back in 1979 and they provided alteration and manufacturing services for clients. This company is still operating today and they provide alterations of Sari and traditional costumes for Deepavali, Malay Baju Kurong for Hari Raya, Chinese Cheongsam for Chinese New Year and many others including bedsheets, sofa covers and even curtains making. Ms Yvonne has that magic touch in alteration and have a faithful line up of followers who queue to get their clothes transformed. My Shop caught the eyes of many netizens after some ex Singapore Airlines staffs remade their Kebaya into baby clothes. An unintentional upload of the making of SQ baby doll went viral and that landed Yvonne multiple interviews with local newspapers and social media platforms.
Having been a Performing Artiste and being in the modelling industry for over 10 years, Ms Yvonne is familiar with the space and the social media platform, so turning her clothing business into an online business made sense given her expertise. Ms Yvonne saw prospect in every crisis and made new opportunities out of it. She started getting into live streaming back in 2018, and when the Covid-19 pandemic was at its peak, she started taking the business more seriously as she noticed a change in customer’s spending habit. With the advancement in technology and digital space, Ms Yvonne believes that e- commerce and livestreams are here to stay.
Apart from selling clothes, Ms Yvonne also diversified her business into other sectors, such as snacks, skincare and hair products just to name a few. The diversification of the business took place last year as Ms Yvonne did not want to be like other companies and blindly follow whatever is in trend, she wants to establish her branding into a one stop shopping place. They will not only cater to the ladies but also be able to provide something for their husband and kids, namely MyPopcorn which as the name suggests, sells popcorn, and MyCosmetic which sells make up products.
Ms Yvonne has been very open about her cosmetic treatments and procedures and her followers like her for her authenticity in the space as compared to other social media figures which may shy away from the topic. Ms Yvonne believes that everyone is beautiful, but they should also have the power to change their appearance should they want to, and these things are not out of reach thanks to MyCosmetic, where customers are confident in who they are.
When starting MyPopcorn, Ms Yvonne had to go through multiple rounds of testing before finally getting the right formula. Getting import license for the processed food items and food appliances were also a hassle for her as she had no prior experience in the business and had to learn everything from scratch. Ms Yvonne had a lot of faith and personal conviction in her vision for the company and their products, believing that the market will respond well.
My Shop’s physical store in Platinum Mall, Bangkok focuses on wholesale and retail services. This provides them with the opportunity to meet with tourists from all over the world, namely Philippines, USA and even Dubai, who are all potential clients for the business. Due to the lower cost of rent in Bangkok, Ms Yvonne is able to hire over 50 staffs to help with retail and admin operations of My Shop. Ms Yvonne and her husband, Ben will travel once a month to oversee their operations in Bangkok. As the Singapore market is smaller and more localised, there tend to be less tourists and hence they’ve implemented different business strategies for Singapore and Bangkok.
Live-streaming is not a difficult business to get started but not everyone has the stomach for it. In order to succeed, you’ll need to have a strong mentality in order to ignore the negative comments. By committing to 8 hours of live sessions twice a week, you are practically putting yourself out there for people to criticise.
Customer service is also a very important part of business, the team at My Shop limits themselves to having 2 livestreams per week so as to not compromise on delivering the goods in time. Despite her busy schedule, Ms Yvonne still manages to make time for her family, she does livestreams on Monday and Tuesday, on Wednesday and Thursday she will go down to the store to oversee operations and make sure orders are fulfilled before spending the rest of the week with her family
Ms Yvonne’s proudest achievements so far was being able to diversify her business and coming up with new ideas and new products, she also managed to garner a strong pool of returning customers who constantly supports her livestreams. There have been instances where people would come up to her and thank her for getting them through their darkest days by watching her livestreams. Ms Yvonne believes that a good company not only needs profits but also needs to have an impact on the community.
Having been in the live-streaming business for almost 5 years, Ms Yvonne and Ben has some advice for young entrepreneurs who aspire to be like them.
1. Work hard and be yourself, be genuine and authentic.
2. Let your business be an extension of who you are.
3. Have the perseverance to keep going in the face of challenges.