24 May Small Business Owner: April’s Story
1. What is your business about, and what inspired you to get started?
We Enjoy Simplicity is a lifestyle fashion boutique. Why lifestyle fashion boutique? It is because we promote not only fashion pieces, but also the kind of simplicity lifestyle that we love. We love something really simple but still stands out, be it in our daily dressing, or when designing a landing page, packaging, or photo shoot settings. To us, less is more! Through fashion, we hope that we can inspire people to embrace this kind of lifestyle.
People often said that the way we dress says a lot about our personality, and I totally agree on that! Not everyone likes a sparkly, fancy, or trending European-inspired outfit, some people just enjoy minimalist, casual, and comfortable Korean-inspired look like I do. We may not be a trendsetter in European-inspired look like what H&M, Zara, or other trendsetter online boutiques did, but at least we are competitive in Korean / Taiwanese-inspired look.
My first dip into online business is when I was 17 years old. To be frank, I started off with a simple hope: to earn extra income, so that I can buy things I love with my own money instead of having my parents to pay for it. As I know, we do not come from a wealthy background.
Slowly over the years, I started to love doing business and developed a passion in fashion. This is due to the satisfaction and achievement I gained from doing business as well as sharing the styles I loved to my followers. As time goes by, I started to garner a group of like-minded people to join this business. Since then, our business started to bloom and there are many regulars who love to shop with We Enjoy Simplicity.
2. What are some of the challenges you face as a small business owner?
I think it is the limited amount of resources that we can have at the moment, like:
a) Financial – It is never enough because we are constantly re-investing in new project. During the stage of growing, it is crucial to invest in new things rather than just staying in your comfort zone.
b) Workforce – During peak season like Chinese New Year, I’ve always hope I have extra hands to help out. However,
costs is still an important factor to consider as our business is in the growing stage. So far, the workloads are still manageable with the manpower I have.
c) “Difficult customer” – As a small business, I do realized that some customers do not takes us seriously, especially towards our shopping policy, price, and promotion. For example, we have had customer asking us to offer our items in promotion price although the promotion period is over. This put us in a difficult situation if we do not have a proper shopping policy and SOP, but luckily we have it since I’ve learnt it from my past experiences. We may be a small business, but these establishments of shopping policy and SOP definitely help to put up a better and consistent operation, as well as a fair state to all customers.
3. What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
a) Receiving positive feedback from happy customer!
b) Seeing new projects coming to life from scratch, even on small things like packaging and self-manufacture items. By putting all of them together slowly, it makes me feels like I’m really running a growing business and I’m happy about my achievement.
4. What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
I would called them as mistakes, and usually it is from customer dealing experiences. Although I have been dealing with customer service since I was 17, I do make mistakes for not being careful on my answers given and that have led to even more dissatisfaction from the customer. It was always a good lesson learnt, and they slowly become my collection of case studies that I can share with my future colleagues. Even now, I’m still learning on what’s the best answer to give to a certain question/request asked by a customer.
5. What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
I personally think that skills can be learnt, but traits must be nurtured over times, here are my Top 3 traits to be a successful entrepreneur:
a) Passion in business and passion in selling goods: Passion in business is equally important with passion in selling goods. Without passion in business, a person will not be able to go far in his business. Without passion in selling goods, it won’t be able to obtain the best care from the seller.
b) Patience, commitment, and hardworking: Successful business does not grow overnight, that’s why a big amount of commitment is required to work on something from scratches. If a person quit halfway, he or she won’t be able to create something big. And that person must definitely be hardworking, no businessman / businesswoman is lazy. We even think about ideas/ways to improve our business during bedtime.
c) Being able to take risk and being creative – Many situation of a small business require being creative to stand out, and being creative to create something new for the business often involves a lot of risk, mostly in terms of financial.
Having the below will be a plus points too:
d) Good socializing and EQ – Coming from experience, many situation requires people dealings, and a person without a good EQ can’t associate with people well, especially with customers as a lot of “difficult customers” require good service manners and patience.
e) Speak professionally – Let’s not ignore the fact that nowadays people do judge others based on outlook and the way we speak. The moment you speak may change a person’s impression towards you, especially being able to speak a fluent English or any other languages will definitely be a plus point for your customers / suppliers / business associates. I always encourage my staff to reply customer professionally, be it local or international, and totally discourage them using Malaysia slang, because it might cause customers to think how unprofessional our customer service is for we can’t write a proper sentence. A proper sentence replied will allow customers to think that we do respect them.
6. What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
I enjoy watching movies during my non-working time, be it in cinema or at home. I always like how my mind can take a break from all business hectic and just focuses on what the movie characters are saying.
7. If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
If there is something that you wish to do, just do it and stay focus!
And make sure you understand the stake of owning a business is not easy, and it’s best for you to work out on those five traits I’ve mentioned above.
For more information about We Enjoy Simplicity, visit https://weenjoysimplicity.com/
#ToughGetGoing is an ongoing campaign to recognize and appreciate the “Crazy Ant” behind every small business. We understand that it is not easy to be on this entrepreneurial journey – we had been there and we are experiencing it now, so we want to give as much support as we can to all small business owners by making creative services affordable to them as well as inspire and empower them in any way we can.
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