Mingyu Interior: SME Excellence Business Award & Top 50 Interior Design Award 2022/2023
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Co-founder of Mingyu, Mr Henry Tan
When it comes to giving interior design consultations and renovations for new or existing homeowners, Mingyu Interior is there to cover your bases. Conceptualized as a one-stop solution, Mingyu Interior also provides complimentary services for selecting the right furniture to enhance your living experience or finding cost-effective appliances to lighten the burden on your pocket.
A business focused on the local market at the moment, Mingyu Interior had experience working overseas in countries like Thailand and Vietnam, being involved in commercial projects like resorts and hotels. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr Henry Tan, co-founder of Mingyu, made the decision to switch the focus back to a local foundation instead of spreading internationally to have a sturdy base in the Singaporean market.
Before he started Mingyu, Mr Tan shares that his father used to run a construction company, with himself following his father around and being engaged in light construction since the age of 8. Being able to engage in minor renovation works such as toilet installations and tiling by the age of 15, he joined an M&E company after serving his National Service to broaden his view of the world. Expanding his knowledge by observing different concepts and designs, his experience in working in condominiums and other forms of housing aided in his goal of setting up his own business.
A man brimming with ambition, Mr Tan believes that being a staff, or an employee, would not bring him the financial freedom for retirement at his desired age. Thus when coming up with his own business and combining it with his set of connections, he could both help the company grow in revenue and profits, while also helping his clients get their dream homes.
Some difficulties he encountered when starting up Mingyu Interior was the lack of active clients, and in the Interior Design business, the name and reputation of a designer bring business to them. As trust in this industry has taken hits from time to time due to a minority of scammers and conmen, Mr Tan relied on the support of his friends and business owners to showcase his talents and abilities in the industry to them. To further expand his reach and influence, Mr Tan also joined a networking platform called Business Networking International (BNI) to train himself to be a better business owner, and attract more business and trust from the public.
Looking into Mr Tan’s day-to-day responsibilities as a business owner, he plans the daily work schedule planning to meet clients, as well as job timetables. He also handles manpower and logistics matters, to ensure a smooth flow of man and material. Some of Mingyu’s unique selling points is Mr Tan’s personal handling of the company’s projects with the clients. As networking and meeting clients are part of his portfolio as stated earlier, Mr Tan takes up a project and communicates directly with the clients from start to finish, neither hiring a construction supervisor or a manager to take over, with the only time he would engage a supervisor being site works for aid in monitoring works.
Instead of simply the finished products, Mingyu also provides photos of ‘Before’, ‘During’ and ‘After’ the processes to ease the minds of their clients during the installation period. This also helps them to change their works in case of unsatisfactory work, and cancels the need for the clients inconveniencing themselves to personally visit the site. They will also help to source materials during the planning phase for free, before providing clients with the construction invoice.
Mr Tan shares that using apps to handle their paperwork eases their burden on the administrative work. Using Zoom to conduct meetings and using Ninjavan to send samples to the clients are also part and parcel of Mingyu’s processes, something uncommon among interior designers.
As Mingyu goes around by word of mouth, most of their new clients are friends of their existing customer base. By using BNI and a constantly circulating referral from their friends, it helps Mr Tan to educate his staff on how to promote and engage the clients with the knowledge and introduction of Mingyu to prospects. Mingyu also guarantees lifetime services to their clients, assuring that any issues related to workmanship and even wear-and-tear would be advised by Mingyu’s staff at no charge. As communication is key, Mr Tan has never changed his phone number over ten years, allowing clients from back then to contact them, as well as their children!
Apart from learning how to do business and improve his running of the business, Mr Tan also learns how to create and focus on Mingyu’s unique selling point, making Mingyu a highlight on that special focus. Mr Tan shares that Mingyu is focusing on aluminium-modelling kitchens, creating a solution for homeowners with termite or water issues. For example, Mr Tan also shares that come 2022, carpentry would be one of the greater demands in the market, and thus to adapt and evolve the company, he would steer Mingyu that way. As the millennials are the up and coming generation to get married and move into homes, Mingyu would prepare modern aesthetics for them to fit a changing style.
Due to the pandemic, Mingyu was forced to let go of some staff. However, they retained their own dedicated renovation specialist teams, as well as a carpentry team. Managing projects one by one, they do not have an in-house designing team to avoid reusing the same idea, instead of hiring freelance specialists who are good in condominiums, apartments, or landed properties respectively.
Some of Mingyu’s highlights involve receiving five projects during a month in the pandemic, and even with constraints and safety measures in place, they managed to complete all five even with limited resources. Their ability to survive as a business, and obtain an office and a showroom were also milestones for the company as a whole.
Personally, Mr Tan finds great satisfaction in seeing homeowners smile when they come to view their house. A motivating factor for him, Mr Tan does his best to free up his schedule to be present at the end of each project, part of his dedication to seeing a project with a client to the end. Mr Tan’s future ambitions include hitting an ambitious revenue flow, which would lead to them being able to afford a warehouse that can double as a larger showroom for Mingyu to showcase their works, thus creating not only good publicity but a venue for future clients to experience what their house could be!