In celebration of Singapore’s resilient spirit, Arman Shah highlights home businesses that popped up during this challenging COVID-19 pandemic.
With documented history as its shining testament, Singapore is, by any creed or degree, a survivor.
This little red dot on the world map has endured countless challenges in its past to become the economic powerhouse that it is today, and a tough new customer in the form of the global COVID-19 pandemic won’t be the one to dim its resilient spirit.
In the midst of the circuit breaker that was implemented by the local government to minimise the spread of the virus and flatten the curve, countless savvy home businesses mushroomed across the city. Here, we highlight eight that you should know and support.
Jocelyn founded buds&bloom with the belief that everyone can and deserves to be loved, in a simple and affordable way, without having to break any wallets. Offering a range of floral gift ideas, she sells bouquets and pressed flower photo frames and phone cases.
When the circuit breaker was announced, she had to cancel all sales; but, she made the best of the situation by selling some photo frames to raise money for the Society for the Physically Disabled. Now, she’s back in the swing of things and taking orders.
2. Dreamers Records
Music has always been a huge part of Dee’s life, and whenever she travelled, she’d make sure she visited as many record stores as she could possibly find in every city. This passion triggered her dream to open her own record store one day.
That dream never really seemed feasible until she had way too much time on her hands due to being quarantined and out of work. Today, she sources records from overseas suppliers and sells them in Singapore, making it cheaper for her and other music enthusiasts alike.
3. Elephant and Baby
Karina started her kids’ apparel and accessories business to try and earn extra cash. She thought it was nice to have a side hustle as a stay-home mother to three kids, so she sourced for wholesale items that she could buy in bulk and sold them online.
Because she doesn’t operate from a brick and mortar shop, the circuit breaker didn’t affect her business much. As a matter of fact, an abundance of orders came in from parents who were looking for kids’ clothes but couldn’t leave home to shop because of the quarantine.
4. The Good Fat
Nur and Najib are all about making artisanal food accessible, in particular delicious butters that are distinct in taste. With flavours like Kombu Butter and Black Garlic Butter, these butters can be spread on toasts or enjoyed with meats, seafood and pastas.
They embarked on this entrepreneurial journey because most artisanal foods they’re curious about were not halal. During the ban on home-based businesses, they used the time for R&D and now they’re getting orders from baking enthusiasts and non-bakers alike.
5. Jewelry by Alethea
Formerly an intern at Chopard, Aletha has always had a love for jewelry. She also ran her own events company for 10 years, but after events started being cancelled in February because of the circuit breaker, she used all the spare time making jewelry.
While most people are typically exposed to round white pearls, her creations celebrate the unique shapes of baroque pearls in their many colours. She also likes showcasing the classic jade in a more modern way. Customisation services are provided as well.
6. Knotty Jungle
Somewhere in the middle of the circuit breaker, Laura felt down and unproductive. To feel creative and inspired again, she revived her knitting hobby using leftover supplies from her own wedding and created beautiful plant hangers and macrame wall hangings.
Giving any home a nice bohemian touch and jungalow feel, her creations were an instant hit with friends. She gifted them to those within her social circles at first, but when she saw potential in starting a side business, she started taking orders online.
With eight years in wedding services – specifically in henna doodling – Qidah took a hit when weddings were postponed indefinitely due to circuit breaker restrictions. At the start of the pandemic, however, she realised that food businesses were doing well.
So she started one which specialises in rempeyek, a crunchy old snack originating in Indonesia and beloved by many in Singapore. She took orders during the last week of Ramadhan to test the market and has been receiving overwhelming orders ever since.
An English tutor, Sakina started sewing as a form of therapy after giving birth to her twins in 2014. When there was a shortage of facemasks for frontliners in the US during the virus outbreak, she was inspired by those who rallied to sew more masks for them.
A self-proclaimed fabric hoarder, she began with sewing masks for her family in Singapore at first, especially after seeing how dull the mass-produced ones were. Very quickly, orders for her colourful creations came in from people outside her social and familial circles.
By: Arman Shah
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