XZQT Style and Magdalene Sewing Centre: Aspiring Woman Entrepreneur 2020/2021


Founder of XZQT Style Pte. Ltd. and Magdalene Sewing Centre Pte. Ltd., Yvonne Ang

Virtue of Success

The success stories of female entrepreneurs are aplenty, but the challenges faced by these  women  are  rarely  discussed.  Recognizably,  the  proliferation of capable female entrepreneurs have brought about  greater  ideas  and solutions to real world issues. They are working  hard  to  run  from  rags  to riches and are truly remarkable and inspiring to budding entrepreneurs.

Yvonne Ang, founder of  XZQT  Style,  specializing  in  customisation  of corporate gifts, apparel, footwear, bags and accessories, is definitely  the spotlight not to be missed.   Mother  to  two  amazing  children,  she  embodies the spirit of new world women  and  beyond,  juggling  multiple  roles  while striving to provide a better life for the family.

Besides XZQT Style as her primary business,  Yvonne  took  over  Magdalene Sewing Centre just last year, a company which supply  school  uniforms  to Singapore schools  for  the  past  20  years  and  is  one  of  the  leading  suppliers in the nation.

Endearing and passionate by nature, Yvonne is also a familiar figure in the Pasir Ris community. She volunteers in The People’s Association as  a committee member of The Palette Residents’ Network – TPRN that promotes neighbourliness and fostering stronger social cohesion  among  residents. Her personal virtues have been duly recognized and is more than deserving to be presented with both the Singapore Prestige Class Award and Aspiring Woman Entrepreneur Award 2020/2021.

Connecting the Dots

Yvonne started her professional career with  a  Diploma  in  Sales  and Marketing and has amassed 17 years of retail experience to some of the well-known brands such as World of Sports, Yonex and Fila. Started out as a Retail Merchandising and Purchasing Executive at World of Sports, her remarkable portfolio has gained her foothold in the management role at Fila (used to be an Italian cult brand now acquired by a Korean company), where she was in charge of overseeing the full suite of processes from material sourcing, design, manufacturing, merchandising,  warehousing,  marketing  to sales.

Back then, she was the  brainchild  of  Fila’s  full  range  of  seasonal merchandise designs, working closely  with  renowned  designers  on  the creation of signature, ready-to-wear collections in Singapore.  Challenged  by cost and profit margin issues, it is a constant quest for Yvonne to source for affordable  and  the  best  materials   without   compromising   merchandise quality while remaining affordable to the masses. She was also nominated to take charge of Fila’s retail store renovation projects where she was in charge of the design outlook of the storefront and oversaw the entire process from ground zero.

“It was a great learning journey at Fila where I  was  exposed  to  a  wide spectrum of job roles and responsibilities.  I  am  thankful  for  the  amount  of trust that was given to me which allowed me to gain deeper insights of how business should be operated.

Looking back and reminiscing the achievements I have had  in  the  past,  it  all starts to connect together. The experiences that I have gained over the past 17 years in the retail industry have definitely help me in setting a pivotal foundation for my own business.” Yvonne shared.

When probed about why she left Fila, she shared that she needed a short break to better position her next trajectory of life.  “I  have  been  working tirelessly for the past 17  years.  In  the  retail  industry,  one  has  to  be constantly on standby 24/7 since shopping  malls  are  operating  daily.  My mobile phone is ever-ringing and even if I am on leave, there are bound to be operational hiccups which I have to handle with care. On top of that my work required me to travel frequently. By taking a break, I am able to spend more quality time with my family, particularly my children.” Yvonne added.

But not long after, she decided to capitalize  on  what  she  does  best  – sourcing,  design  and  manufacturing  products  and  incorporated  XZQT  Style in year 2010, specializing in  customisation  of  corporate  gifts,  apparel, footwear, bags and accessories for small and major events in Singapore.

Navigating Challenges

The business world is  often  portrayed  as  a  highly  competitive  ecosystem  in which you need  to  fight  to  get  ahead.  To  a  good  extent,  that’s  very  true.  At the very beginning, the business was operating on a ‘one-man show’, which essentially meant that Yvonne  had  to  single-handedly  manage  the  business on her own  for  a  period  of  five  years.  But,  not  long  after,  her  staff  strength has grown which helped her delegate  most  of  her  roles  and  lessen  the  work load. At the initial phase of the business, Yvonne was plagued by budgetary constraints, which most  businesses  will  encounter.  However,  over  the  years of working experience, she has built  a  strong  network  of  credible  suppliers and vendors. Her reputable work ethics and bubbly personality made her  an amicable person that led to many opportunities and   contacts   which   have been instrumental to her success.

The support system from her family  and  suppliers  got  her  through  the toughest phase of her entrepreneurship  journey.  They  have  given  her immense confidence to take off the business and make strategic plans which are effective for future business growth.

“At the start and even until now, I had to tread carefully and   exercise financial prudence. My passion has always been in purchasing and merchandising. Using my expertise in  the  retail  industry  and  coupled  with my passion, I knew just how to navigate my way to get my business on track. Of course, I am also blessed with the  support  from  my  family  and  working partners that resulted in the success of XZQT Style.” she recounted.

The prevailing COVID-19 pandemic outbreak puts a  severe  strain  on Singapore’s economy and affecting businesses on  an  unprecedented  scale, and XZQT Style was not spared from the disruption either. The onset of the pandemic has immediate repercussions for Singapore’s events industry collectively. Speaking about the impact that the pandemic first  had  on  the events industry, Yvonne quipped: “In a matter of just a few weeks, physical events are either cancelled or  postponed  until  further  notice.  My  clients started contacting me one after another to put the orders on hold. I had a whopping sixty percent loss. We leveraged  on  Facebook  LIVE  to  sell  our items so as to close the depreciating gap. My staff’s livelihoods are at stake and I have the responsibility to take care of them despite this period  of downtime.”

Late last year, Yvonne acquired Magdalene Sewing Centre (MSC) which incidentally provided her the temporary measures to tide over this crisis and ensure that her staff  remained  employed.  She  shared  that  the  sales  of school uniforms have increased during  this  period  because  parents  are starting to buy school uniforms for the new semester next year. During the Circuit Breaker, some parents have also shared with her that their child had gained weight significantly while staying at home, which they had  to  buy  a bigger uniform size.

Yvonne Ang (second from the left) and her husband, Dennis , helped to deliver meals for the group buy and wants to set a good example for their children.

Empowering Lives

Yvonne also shared more insights  about  Magdalene  Sewing  Centre  (MSC), the brainchild of an Italian Canossian nun and missionary, named Sr. Marcellina, who was gifted in sewing and dressmaking. MSC  started  out  by securing sewing contracts for school   uniforms   to   fund   for   its   missionary work during the early days. Dated back to the heydays, MSC also doubled up as a vocational training centre where Sr. Marcellina conducted sewing dressmaking courses for the low-income families.

Today, Yvonne continues the  legacy  by  providing  employment  opportunities for homemakers with young children to  work  from  home  so  that  they  can continue to  receive  some  earnings  while  looking  after  their  families.  In  fact, most of the seamstresses who benefited from the  employment  program  at MSC had been working there for  a  period  of  more  than  20  years.  Given Yvonne’s forte in the manufacturing  of  corporate  apparels  and  accessories, she also expanded MSC’s  offerings  from  just  uniforms  to  more  product  lines such as PE attires, school shoes and other school accessories such as socks, water bottles and more.

Despite her success, Yvonne has always believed  in  giving  back  to  the society. In line with the Ministry of Education Financial  Assistance  Scheme (FAS) to help financially  needy  Singaporean  students,  Yvonne  volunteered  to offer free school  uniforms  and  extended  a  lower  rate  for  quality  school shoes to students in need.

She also volunteers actively in The People’s Association as a committee member of  The  Palette  Residents’  Network  –  TPRN,  going  above  and  beyond to understand residents’ needs, addressing their concerns and   bridging solutions to their problems. Amidst the COVID-19  pandemic,  Yvonne  and  her family galvanised the band of neighbours to  assist  in  the  distribution  of  face masks and hand santisers to the residents in Pasir Ris.

Given her good relationship with the neighbours and residents of Pasir Ris, she took the lead in supporting the local hawkers by initiating a ‘group-buy movement’. She will collate food orders from her neighbours,  placing  food orders with the hawkers and personally delivers the  food  to  them.  From  a small initiative, it soon  transcended  to  a  movement  of  bigger  cause  with more than 30 participating hawkers across Pasir Ris and  supported  them through over $50,000 of food orders.

“I guess the fundamental virtue not just in business but also in every aspects of our daily lives is to give back to the society. This virtue is manifested in my children at a very young age and I  hope  the  act  of  kindness  and generosity can be ingrained in  their  early  development  years.  Whenever  I can, I will involve my children to volunteer at the Residents’ Corner (RC). Sometimes, I will also ask my children to help out at  the  schools  to  issue school uniforms and shoes to the underprivileged students. My children love it and we cherish the time together rendering assistance to people in need. It is truly rewarding to see smiles on the faces of the recipients, brightening up the room!” Yvonne shared with contentment.

Through her business, Yvonne (pictured here with her husband, Dennis, and their two children) also created custom National Day masks for residents.

Looking back at her journey from the time she was  working  in  the  retail industry, to becoming a mother and embarking on this entrepreneurship endeavour, Yvonne is thankful for all the trials and tribulations.

“Life can be tough but a small gesture of kindness goes a long  way.  The younger generations need to embrace the hardships and learn  not  to  take things for granted. Do this well and anything  you  wish  to  achieve,  be  it working for somebody or venturing in your own business, can then be truly satisfying and successful.” Yvonne shared.

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