Hello, thanks for clicking in to my heartfelt entry. While social media is meant to connect us, sometimes it feels too curated and image-centric; people might not have time to read, or words get lost in space.
People often ask me why I started this (somewhat unique) business. Long story short (if you hadn't known before): At my own wedding, I had worn the hotel's batik robe for getting ready, and I was saddened when I got the photos. Despite all the details that go into wedding planning, I had missed out on the getting ready attire for makeup and hair, which I can't go back in time to redo.
It was then I realized, there wasn't much importance placed in the getting ready part, and no one was selling bridal robes. Hence after my wedding, I decided to learn sewing from my MIL, and started creating bridal robes that I would have worn on my big day!
Fast forward, Bells & Birds is now 5 years old. I had to make lifestyle adjustments when I went full-time 2 years ago, because when I had a full-time job, I kept 'pumping' money from my salary into B&B. I was very idealistic, overspending on marketing.
After struggling for almost a year, we had an opportunity to be stocked at TANGS Orchard, and that was a dream come true for me. I've hung out and shopped at TANGS since I was young, and always fantasized about my brand being in my favourite departmental store.
What was supposed to be a 3-month pop-up grew into a year, and this was a fulfilling but very trying period. I knew it would be difficult learning about the retail sector, but manpower was my biggest issue.
It was tough retaining good staff, a pain training disinterested staff, and just all around managing people. Like what we often hear, manpower is a huge pain point.
Today, we have our own pop-up store at OUE Downtown Gallery – a small but cosy space that I like. Getting to know the CBD crowd, being closer to our customers, watching the hustle and bustle at lunch, then enjoying the quiet afternoons to catch up on work.
2020: The next stage
I place a key importance in customer service. Regardless of the sector we work in, customer service is a make-or-break. I enjoy serving customers, sharing about our story, hand delivering orders as a surprise, and maintaining a great relationship.
I've had my share of difficult cases, and reflect on how it could have been better dealt with.
For me, this is the year to:
Learn - take stock of all the events that happen, our customers' needs, create more products that will continue to re-invent the meaning of loungewear.
Grow - I often try new things, to know what works, or not. I hope to take the brand to new heights, with a goal to expand regionally. Along with the business, I am also evolving personally – learning how I can better manage expectations, time and people.
At this point of writing, we are looking for a bigger shop space, perhaps a permanent one now. It is definitely scary yet exciting.
If you are our customer, I sincerely thank you for loving and following us. And if we haven't met before, I hope our paths cross someday. Thank you for being curious enough to read till the end :)
Images courtesy of Perk by Kate, for Perksquad