Owl Home Story: SME Excellence Business Award & Top 50 Interior Design Award 2022/2023

Picture 1
Picture 1

Owl Home Story is an interior design company in Singapore, managed by Mr Alez Chen. Formed in 2019, Mr Chen shares that Owl Home Story does not specialise in any form of Interior Design as they excel in almost every kind of themes. However, they were known to accept projects from all walks of life including HDBs and private residential, and commercial projects. 

Owl Home Story believes that they were one of the few companies to fill in as a ‘coordinator’ by assisting and liaising with various components between owners and contractors or builders. Understanding that most homeowners today are proficient in searching for direct contractors on their own, some may not have the knowledge or time to find the perfect fit. Hence, homeowners may end up spending beyond their budget instead of saving when they directly engage an Interior Designer. This is where Owl Home Story comes in, by managing the process between homeowner and direct contractors. 

Founder of Owl Home Story, Mr Alez Chen

An experienced veteran in the business, Mr Chen commenced his involvement in the industry in 2008, working for several years before moving onto other trades. While being satisfied and passionate in the interior design business, working for other people didn’t sit well with him. Initially not liking the concept of being in the traditional sales sector, Mr Chen has always been more of a people person where he excelled in Human 

Resources. However, with some encouragement from his manager, he started to devise his own style of sales, focusing on his heart and sincerity to pitch his sales projects to his clients. Although some may have raised feedback on him being too forthright, Mr Chen shares that he would rather be direct than put on a façade which could lead to misunderstandings. This, according, to Mr Chen is a way for him to build trust and maintain relations with his customers, especially when honesty is part of the process instead of hard selling. 

Another reason why Mr Chen wanted to set up his own firm was because of his background. Having only an ‘O’ Level Certificate to his name, due to dropping out of tertiary studies, he faced a range of disdain and discrimination. Owning his own business, Mr Chen

explained, allows him to support other employees from the same educational background as him; enabling him to craft out his own philosophy. 

Some of the difficulties he faced were starting out with low capital which resulted in low marketing power. Mr Chen then relied on his referrals and experiences over the years within the industry to kickstart his clientele as he knew he could rely on the quality of his work to receive positive feedback from existing clients. Mr Chen also focuses a lot on after-sales services. 

Unique business practices of Owl Home Story would be Mr Chen’s guarantee on a personalised design for every client. He also shared that some of his negative experiences came from reusing existing ideas instead of coming up with an original idea. Some of his quirks include helping customers with the conception phase and purchasing process, even asking them to get components from Taobao as a money-saving method. Mr Chen shares that being a people person means that he takes satisfaction from the smiles of his clients, and he would rather choose to create a proper design than a fanciful design that doesn’t fit their taste.   

Mr Chen shares that Owl Home Story also seeks to create unique designs for their customers, and help them save costs instead of pushing for an expensive product, knowing that saving an extra $2,000 could result in supporting a family for a month! 

Starting off with BehindEveryKey, for there is a story of a house ‘behind every key’, Mr Chen rebranded to ‘Owl Home Story. He shares that the word ‘Owl’ sounds like ‘Our’, and behind every ‘Home’ lies a ‘Story’. Owl Home Story aims to be a friend to new homeowners, whereby they will be assisting them in every step of the way, to bring their ideal designs to live and keep it all within budget. In hopes to create an unforgettable experience for both parties.

While acknowledging that the owl’s hoots are soothing to the ear, he also took inspiration from Japanese folklore, sharing that owl is fukurou in Japanese and the word ‘fuku’ means luck; linking it to good fortune. Additionally, due to the versatility of how the word ‘fukurou’ can be written, it also symbolises protection against suffering and hardship.

Therefore, Owl Home Story intends to spread fuku to all homeowners who engage their services. Although marketing efforts were successful during the start of the 

Covid-19 pandemic, there was a loss of business due to the lockdown and slowdown of the economy overall in Singapore. Instead of constantly bleeding money, Mr Chen took the difficult decision to scale down marketing and works overall. However, his pool of referrals remained strong, and with the reopening of the economy, he looks forward to restarting his efforts again. 

Some of his standout moments include being able to hold a showroom for his business during the most difficult times. While his previous experience told him that Interior Design companies could survive without a showroom, he still decided to venture into the unknown and set up one, so clients could enter and have a thorough face-to-face discussion for their projects. Mr Chen believes that being straightforward helps with being upfront with his clientele, instead of beating around the bush which might bleed efficiency. 

A motivating factor in the business would be his family, who stood by him during the good times and the bad and pushes him on to provide the best he can for them. In the future, Mr Chen plans to set up a branch for carpentry and aims for Owl Home Story to eventually become an independent one-stop business. Instead of aiming for profits, Mr Chen sought to focus on quality control of his works, and the first step would be to have his own division where he could control the quality of his products, to ensure maximum satisfaction for his customers. 

Back To Top