Singapore Expats Forum

Fashion Business

Discuss your views about Singapore business & economy, current policies & issues, starting a business in Singapore.
Guest2046

Fashion Business

Postby Guest2046 » Sun, 04 Sep 2005 11:16 pm

I wouldn't encourage yet another fashion business to start here, having just ended my very brief sojourn. Not if you have hundreds of thousands to launch an ultra-posh designer boutique. The prices for mid-range fashion have dipped and people are just looking to buy cheap pieces without quality. As long as it's wearable. The pie is shrinking because the government has been encouraging entrepreneurialship in a world of retrenchment and recession. If you have a day job, stick with it.

The above is actually very good advice. What can you offer? It's pretty much saturated at the moment. Find a niche in some product that's not been exploited as yet.

User avatar
Oriental
Chatter
Chatter
Posts: 150
Joined: Fri, 18 Mar 2005

Re: Not advised

Postby Oriental » Tue, 06 Sep 2005 5:26 am

Guest2046 wrote:I wouldn't encourage yet another fashion business to start here, having just ended my very brief sojourn. Not if you have hundreds of thousands to launch an ultra-posh designer boutique. The prices for mid-range fashion have dipped and people are just looking to buy cheap pieces without quality. As long as it's wearable. The pie is shrinking because the government has been encouraging entrepreneurialship in a world of retrenchment and recession. If you have a day job, stick with it.

The above is actually very good advice. What can you offer? It's pretty much saturated at the moment. Find a niche in some product that's not been exploited as yet.

Encouraging entrepreneurship especially in a world of retrenchment and recession is an excellent move by the Singaporean Government. Through “creative destruction”
Impossible is nothing!

cheng

Postby cheng » Tue, 06 Sep 2005 1:25 pm

Hi Guest0246,

Where did you open your shop?

Cheng...

Guest2046

Far East Plaza

Postby Guest2046 » Tue, 06 Sep 2005 2:31 pm

If you have no prior experience in the retail industry, I really advise you to open your eyes and look. Go work for someone for a bit. Singapore's market is small. There's no question about that. The fashion world is pretty much dead. Look around - how many people do you see wearing clothes that cost over $10 a piece? People prefer to buy cheaper clothes that have little to no design. When it wears out, they throw it out. And that takes quite a long time. High school kids don't have much buying power - yes, quote all the ones with rich parents if you like - what percentage of the population is that? Those who start part-time work or are waiting for university entry don't have spare cash, or they prefer to spend it on gadgets like phones. Working class like to buy neutrals and suits that last. Rich tai tais aren't affected much by the economy downturn, but you need to know how to get them to your store. The only reason the government is encouraging entrepreneurialship is because people are unemployed. A sound move for them. But where is the extra money going to come from once it's set up? With a recession, people are buying less. The economy is stagnant.

You can sing until the cows come home quoting each and every success story. It's a pyramid. Meaning the base has to be wider than the top. There is no base. Look for yourself. The bubble tea shops mushroomed and closed. There were 8 on the street where I lived, and it wasn't a long stretch of road. Now they're all gone. Look at the neighborhood, say Marine Parade Central - small retail fashions are sprouting all over. Coffee shops. Bakeries. You name it. If you go talk to the store owners, they will tell you that sales have been going down.

Go to Far East Plaza, or neighborhoods which may have stores that are open to first-time business owners. Established malls don't usually let first-timers start up unless you have a huge investment backing you up.

Singapore is not Scandinavia. We do not have their buying power, no matter what results from the Great Singapore Sale say. If the economic downturn hasn't affected you, good for you. But don't mislead people with empty talk. I'm all for encouraging entrepreneurialship if it's feasible. But it's not. There is no cash flow in this economy.

If you really want to try, go for an online store and don't import too much stuff at one go. Overheads are low. You may lose a couple hundred to a thousand if it doesn't work out, but it won't kill you.

I've still got tons of merchandise I can't get rid of sitting in my house. It's not that much money, but I'd rather have gone on tour with that. Waste of my time.

coffeetea
Chatter
Chatter
Posts: 210
Joined: Tue, 12 Oct 2004
Location: Singapore

Postby coffeetea » Mon, 12 Sep 2005 12:27 pm

Hi guest2046,

1) May i know that how much is the rental at Far East Plaza??
2) How long have u been there??
3) What is your price range like??
4) do u have any pushcart b4??

Sorry to ask so many question..

regards

Guest

Postby Guest » Mon, 12 Sep 2005 12:37 pm

Rental can be from $20-$40+ psf. What is the purpose of the other questions? I will not answer any questions if I do not know what it's for.

coffeetea
Chatter
Chatter
Posts: 210
Joined: Tue, 12 Oct 2004
Location: Singapore

Postby coffeetea » Mon, 12 Sep 2005 1:52 pm

i mean at Far East Plaza.. how long have u been opening a shop??

As for price range, is your price affortable for the student, since you said that most of them are students. do u know nowsaday students got alot of pocket money??

As for pushcart, just asking... nothing special.

1) May i know that how much is the rental at Far East Plaza??
2) How long have u been there??
3) What is your price range like??
4) do u have any pushcart b4??



Anonymous wrote:Rental can be from $20-$40+ psf. What is the purpose of the other questions? I will not answer any questions if I do not know what it's for.

Guest

Postby Guest » Mon, 12 Sep 2005 2:30 pm

Why don't you just go have a look for yourself and then tell me that students have alot of pocket money? It doesn't count just to see people walking past. Things over $10 are hard to sell there. I hardly think that's alot of money but that's the fact. I've been there, had a store and you haven't. If you don't believe me, that's fine. Don't go by imagination. If you aren't in fact interested in opening a store, then your questions are pointless. If you are, then ask questions with more purpose. Reading in between the lines you are more interested in criticising my business practices and what's gone wrong than just pure curiousity. Trust me. It's different when you actually do it.

linch
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu, 10 Mar 2005

Postby linch » Mon, 12 Sep 2005 4:40 pm

Hello Guest2046,

You mentioned you still have lots of unsold merchandise. May I know what they are? I am interested in procuring some stuff for warehouse sales. Instead of letting your merchandise sit around, maybe you would like to sell them to me. Hope we can work something out.

You can get me at linch@pacific.net.sg

coffeetea
Chatter
Chatter
Posts: 210
Joined: Tue, 12 Oct 2004
Location: Singapore

Postby coffeetea » Mon, 12 Sep 2005 4:41 pm

HELLO!!! u don't sound good... i'm just asking not criticising your business, as there are alot of issues.. Y the ppl there can maintain their business and y can't u?? the services? the display? the items? the size? the colour? the location? the pricing?? there are so many fashion shops there.... if i will u.. i will not open a fashion shop there... u must be special/unique in order to get customers to walk in to your shop.

Once i went into one of the shop.. and saw a nice dress.. so i need sales girl to help me, but u know what.. the sales girl is using her phone, she saw me but not intend to serve me. so i wait for awhile in case that a call from customer, but what i heard is laughting voice. Of cos i will walk away without buying... Do u think this shop will survive.

Another shop - i was looking at the dresses hanging.. when i was looking at the 2nd pic, the sales girl came to me and ask me very rudely... "what u want"? then very very close to me, as if i'm going to steal things.. I don't feel welcome.. of cos again.. i will leave that place...Do u think this shop will survive too???

there are alot of pros and cons around...

I am learning from your mistake..and we are sharing... that's y i ask u.

Guest

Re: Far East Plaza

Postby Guest » Mon, 12 Sep 2005 5:16 pm

Guest2046 wrote:If you have no prior experience in the retail industry, I really advise you to open your eyes and look. Go work for someone for a bit. Singapore's market is small. There's no question about that. The fashion world is pretty much dead. Look around - how many people do you see wearing clothes that cost over $10 a piece? People prefer to buy cheaper clothes that have little to no design. When it wears out, they throw it out. And that takes quite a long time. High school kids don't have much buying power - yes, quote all the ones with rich parents if you like - what percentage of the population is that? Those who start part-time work or are waiting for university entry don't have spare cash, or they prefer to spend it on gadgets like phones. Working class like to buy neutrals and suits that last. Rich tai tais aren't affected much by the economy downturn, but you need to know how to get them to your store. The only reason the government is encouraging entrepreneurialship is because people are unemployed. A sound move for them. But where is the extra money going to come from once it's set up? With a recession, people are buying less. The economy is stagnant.

You can sing until the cows come home quoting each and every success story. It's a pyramid. Meaning the base has to be wider than the top. There is no base. Look for yourself. The bubble tea shops mushroomed and closed. There were 8 on the street where I lived, and it wasn't a long stretch of road. Now they're all gone. Look at the neighborhood, say Marine Parade Central - small retail fashions are sprouting all over. Coffee shops. Bakeries. You name it. If you go talk to the store owners, they will tell you that sales have been going down.

Go to Far East Plaza, or neighborhoods which may have stores that are open to first-time business owners. Established malls don't usually let first-timers start up unless you have a huge investment backing you up.

Singapore is not Scandinavia. We do not have their buying power, no matter what results from the Great Singapore Sale say. If the economic downturn hasn't affected you, good for you. But don't mislead people with empty talk. I'm all for encouraging entrepreneurialship if it's feasible. But it's not. There is no cash flow in this economy.

If you really want to try, go for an online store and don't import too much stuff at one go. Overheads are low. You may lose a couple hundred to a thousand if it doesn't work out, but it won't kill you.

I've still got tons of merchandise I can't get rid of sitting in my house. It's not that much money, but I'd rather have gone on tour with that. Waste of my time.
If you really want to try, go for an online store and don't import too much stuff at one go. Overheads are low. You may lose a couple hundred to a thousand if it doesn't work out, but it won't kill you.

Code: Select all

 You obviously haven't done your homework on internet sales in Singapore, Do you want to execute this person for no reason, Singapore especially in B2C is not even in its infant stage.

Singaporean do actually have cash, not like Scandinavia, that live on credit cards. The culture is far different, but when it comes to wants and needs, I would say Singaporeans have more of a thirst to show off to their neighbours, they are very very materialistic.

Oriental is quite right, in every word and i believe that maybe you are right on some points, of the majority buying cheap clothes of 10$ or so.
after all, Singapores population is small and the majority are on low wages. But the fact there is 48,500 real millionairs in Singapore also points out that if you target the market you want and the correct location, then there is no reason why you shouldn't be successful, other than you are not a very good business person.

My advice to anyone is preparation, and check list do not try to run a business from your memory bank, but from your business ref guides check list. It is a fact that we my wife and i have imported a new drink into Singapore, which is very successful, breaking even within the first 4 months on a 20ft container, if you have the right products you can sell, and believe me our drink is not cheap at 14.90 a bottle, with minimal advertising. One must do their homework and reduce costs to the minimum, and not believe you can throw cash into the business, for the sake of ones ego.

Business is a seedling that has to natured, and all the investment in the world will not make it work, without the right tools of the trade to protect it, also from economic downtown. Pull out all the plugs, and you can sell sand to an Arab. get it right first time Check list!

User avatar
ksl
Governor
Governor
Posts: 6005
Joined: Mon, 19 Jul 2004
Location: Singapore
Contact:

Re: Far East Plaza

Postby ksl » Mon, 12 Sep 2005 5:36 pm

Guest2046 wrote:If you have no prior experience in the retail industry, I really advise you to open your eyes and look. Go work for someone for a bit. Singapore's market is small. There's no question about that. The fashion world is pretty much dead. Look around - how many people do you see wearing clothes that cost over $10 a piece? People prefer to buy cheaper clothes that have little to no design. When it wears out, they throw it out. And that takes quite a long time. High school kids don't have much buying power - yes, quote all the ones with rich parents if you like - what percentage of the population is that? Those who start part-time work or are waiting for university entry don't have spare cash, or they prefer to spend it on gadgets like phones. Working class like to buy neutrals and suits that last. Rich tai tais aren't affected much by the economy downturn, but you need to know how to get them to your store. The only reason the government is encouraging entrepreneurialship is because people are unemployed. A sound move for them. But where is the extra money going to come from once it's set up? With a recession, people are buying less. The economy is stagnant.

You can sing until the cows come home quoting each and every success story. It's a pyramid. Meaning the base has to be wider than the top. There is no base. Look for yourself. The bubble tea shops mushroomed and closed. There were 8 on the street where I lived, and it wasn't a long stretch of road. Now they're all gone. Look at the neighborhood, say Marine Parade Central - small retail fashions are sprouting all over. Coffee shops. Bakeries. You name it. If you go talk to the store owners, they will tell you that sales have been going down.

Go to Far East Plaza, or neighborhoods which may have stores that are open to first-time business owners. Established malls don't usually let first-timers start up unless you have a huge investment backing you up.

Singapore is not Scandinavia. We do not have their buying power, no matter what results from the Great Singapore Sale say. If the economic downturn hasn't affected you, good for you. But don't mislead people with empty talk. I'm all for encouraging entrepreneurialship if it's feasible. But it's not. There is no cash flow in this economy.

If you really want to try, go for an online store and don't import too much stuff at one go. Overheads are low. You may lose a couple hundred to a thousand if it doesn't work out, but it won't kill you.

I've still got tons of merchandise I can't get rid of sitting in my house. It's not that much money, but I'd rather have gone on tour with that. Waste of my time.


Hello Guest2046.

It looks like you are suffering from your failure, pretty badly for no reason, other than your ownself, quite correct to voice your opinions, but one must also look at the errors of ones ways.

Especially in a start up business, it doesn't help to through money into a location and hope that customers will arrive.

You need to build your reputation and customer base, long before moving into a place like you went into. Oriental is right, this is a good time, there is money out there in Singapore, you just have to know how to get it.

Most failures are due to jumping in at the deep end, throwing cash into locations, shopfronts, advertsing, and leashold equipment, like pos, without doing your home work and feasiblity study in the first place.

Did you know that many budding entrepenuers cannot read or write, the clever ones don't waste money, they make the money work for them. You hve learnt a lesson, now you need to identify your errors and correct them.

Take it from me you have not failed, you have just learnt a hard lesson, the next time around you will do it right. Check list check list, keep your cash in your pocket, once you can sell sand to an Arab, you will have a chance.

Guest

Postby Guest » Mon, 12 Sep 2005 5:41 pm

Again, if you really want to know, go to Level 3 of Far East Plaza and look for yourself exactly how many people are able to maintain business. The economy is that bad. I apologise if I seemed antagonistic. But if you will put aside what was said above, here is a detailed commentary with the answers you seek which I hope will help you.

In retail, there are many factors. Location being the most important which was the main factor in the "demise" of my business, presentation, merchandise and customer service. In that order. It's always multifactorial, but if you want to analyse it logically, if the location is screwed it doesn't matter if your presentation is top-notch, how good your merchandise or customer service is. If you want to start, that's my first piece of advice: talk to the people who are already in business around the area. True business people will be happy to talk about it and help you out because they never know if you might be the one helping them next time round. They wouldn't see you as much of a competition because chances are your merchandise would be different and they have their established sources which are much cheaper and have a greater profit margin. If you need to, find a part-time job there, walk around and talk to the store owners. They will spill everything.

As the government says, poly grads are probably more innovative and more willing to try, while college grads are more likely to go back to their professional field. As an observation this is true, but the underlying reasons are not always what people assume. In this day and age, it's better to be the landlord than a store owner who has to rent. You never win.

I was unfortunate enough to have started off with a store that was hidden from view. Because of inexperience and because I was too eager to start even when it's not such a good time to get into the market. I was told many things that were not realized after the lease was signed. But I am very happy to have gotten out while I still can. Remember - talk to the landlord in person - sweet-talking = bad idea. And whatever it is, real estate agents are not on your side. I am not at liberty to disclose where my store was because the landlord might take legal action against me. I agree that there are stores there that can maintain business, but it's only a small percentage. I'm not willing to try again because I have a very high paying day job that I can return to, with very good prospects. I am actually professionally trained with a guaranteed job. I have learnt what I wanted from this "holiday" stint which my landlord so aptly put in the most condescending tone ever when I wanted out (after finding a new tenant). We were paying off his loans. I'd rather use the money for something else and take a bruise to my ego. The small business arena is not for me. That and the market is so bad right now it's not worthwhile for me to get in waiting for it to pick up. I foresee the economy getting worse in the next 2 years at least.

And yes, presentation is very important - I may have gotten more flow with a livelier decor, but it wouldn't have made much of a difference to sales enough for me to maintain business. Ironically it was lucky that I did not spend much on renovations at all. My neighbors in the same street who have spent more than I did are still losing money there after 4 months of business. And they can't bear to cut losses but want to wait it out because they've spent so much on the renovations. At the rental rates, a turnover of at least $6000 is needed to maintain one person's salary. The joke is that they are paying premium (most expensive being $40+ psf) for a very small shop and people think it's a bargain because the rents are $2-3000. If you're paying that much psf, you actually want the area. Seasoned business owners wouldn't go for anything more than $25 psf. One of my neighbors is working another job to pay their store rent because their store's turnover was less than $2000 for months, and less than $1000 last month. Bearing in mind the bare minimum turnover (including rental, cost of goods, their wages) needed to sustain their own living is $6-8000 because there are three people working there. Their family also has to send money from overseas so they have enough to feed themselves.

In terms of merchandise, when I first started off, the prices hovered at around $20 a piece, and that was the maximum I could ever get for my target market. Anything higher was left untouched even though it was very good quality and severely discounted. After a few months, by which time I'd already pulled out, my neighbors have had trouble selling things for $15, and now it's dropped to $10. It's all the same teenage trinkets and stuff. Competition is strong, and by the time people get into that particular stretch of shops, they've either spent the money or think that it's too expensive because the shops are hidden. But hey, more than 20 people have been swindled into renting there. It's the most expensive stretch in the entire building, but business is the poorest there. Our own fault for choosing it.

Customer service. People who shop there have very bad etiquette. You can try being nice (not to say I wasn't) but it doesn't increase sales. Anything over $10 they make it seem like daylight robbery. It's mainly kids who go for window shopping. Even in the same building there are different crowds based on the location. Then there are shoppers who treat you like dirt because they think you're some kind of servant. I've never been rude to any salesperson in my life, or anyone in particular that I've worked with, for, or been served by, so I don't get where it comes from. Are Singaporeans perpetually rude? The first sale I made this lady was upset her daughter took so long to try on a skirt (I had to let her try on a white skirt even though there was one in a different color and size that she'd already tried - it's just the general etiquette that you not try the white ones because it can get dirty). I felt bad that I had to bend the rules because she was the customer and I didn't want to say no. The mother was very impatient and when it came for time to pay she threw a $50 note on the table. Look, I spent thousands on the store and thousands more for the merchandise. I really don't need that attitude from anyone. So you see, it's not a matter of customer service either. You bend over backwards, and sometimes not make a sale. That's ok. That's how business goes. You try to earn someone's money, you cater to their needs. That I understand. But copping attitude from someone who doesn't respect your profession, that's a different story. Singaporeans don't seem to realize a job is just a job. But you should still respect everyone regardless. Still don't get the attitude. So happy to get out and live my life stress-free.

Have emailed poster above who was interested.

Guest

Postby Guest » Mon, 12 Sep 2005 5:53 pm

Yes, I will happily admit to the errors of my ways seeing that it's over. People have to face up to reality and learn from their mistakes. I don't think that it was such a bad thing to happen after all. My mistake was in moving home after living apart from my parents for many years, which is a whole separate issue altogether, but that's another long story in itself, so let's not go there.

But you are comparing apples to oranges quoting internet business and millionaires in Singapore. We are talking about a fashion business in Singapore, which is different to what Oriental was suggesting before. He was actually implying that as long as you do the homework, ANY business would work, which is not the case. You have to realize for people starting out on a business the most common mistake, like the one I've made, is to aim for a market that's already saturated. I.e. fashion clothing and accessories. Niche markets that have not been exploited are a better choice. But all in hindsight. What I'm saying is that it's not advisable to go for a fashion business, not even an online one. I did not say that all business or internet business are unfeasible. I am glad it worked out for your business. I may yet try again in a few years when I can no longer work full-time.

Of course there is money in Singapore. But for particular businesses like young fashion, it's the masses which have little buying power that will drive the market. And most startup businesses will aim for young fashion because for actual physical stores, that's the target crowd. I'm just saying it's not very wise to go for this particular market. Try something else that hasn't been exploited. The original post was actually meant as a reply to someone else's query on a fashion business but I pressed the wrong button, so it may have been taken out of context.

In business you either succeed or fail. No need to feel bad about it. Just have a backup plan and learn from your mistakes.

coffeetea
Chatter
Chatter
Posts: 210
Joined: Tue, 12 Oct 2004
Location: Singapore

Postby coffeetea » Tue, 13 Sep 2005 1:21 pm

i believe in doing homework.... see around the area, spend sometimes walking up and down the place... see if there are afternoon crowds, evening crowds, who are they?? students, office pple, or tourist.

what other shops are selling, if too many compatitor around then u can forget about it.. unless your is unique or lastest fashion. suggest, if lastest fashion, do HIT and RUN... just like the bubble tea.. or do change fashion once there are too many in the market.. Don't bring in too many goods or maybe 3-5 per design.. so that u will not have too many goods on hand..

Display is one way to catch the customer eyes.. even from far... when they come near your shop or infornt of your shop.. it's a good time to get sales...

pricing might be important... but i guess we can play with pricing.. like promotion, free gift, or discount given... so that your goods will turn into cash again... We human will go round and find the best price and quanity products.. if yours is good and best buy... customers will sure come back and look for u. I believe in words of mouth.

eg. once i got a customer who went round the place and saw my items and the same design as the one she saw a few blocks away.. she loves the items. but the shop gives her a very expensive price...she went off and saw mine... the 1st time she ask was how much.. and i told her.. she was shock as mine compare to that shop.. mine is cheaper.. IMMEDIATELY she brought it...A few days later, she brought her friend down.. that's how i got more sales.

Customer service and after sales service is a good way to get the customer trust and good rapport will make the customer come back again.. and sometimes will bring friends along...they will spread good words around.... it's helps too..

Never treat a customer as one time customer unless you want to close the shop soon.

That's my little thoughts..


  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to “Business in Singapore”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests