Today we share the story behind Wandewoo, founded by Sonny Boey. Wandewoo is a gift shop in Singapore for home decor and accessories. He launched his business in 2017 and seeks to inspire city dwellers to style and improve the ambience of their living and working spaces. Furthermore, Sonny goes above and beyond to make sure his products are of the highest quality, made from environmentally sustainable resources and most importantly, uniquely different. In this interview, Sonny Boey shares with us how his entrepreneurial journey began. Read on to find out more and be inspired!
How did you come up with the idea for Wandewoo?
I am someone who loves to seek out beautifully crafted items and follow the latest trends. With Wandewoo, my initial concept is to bring back good old-fashioned techniques like mouth-blown glass, handmade and hand-painted porcelain to create unique, individual pieces that tell a story. If you look at today’s consumers, many of them are seeking to fill their home with individual pieces carrying the hallmarks of handcraft. I want to be able to add to these homes in a meaningful way, by sourcing directly from factories around the world and collaborating closely with their local artisans and designers to develop a curated range of products that are both aesthetically exquisite and functional at the same time. That was my starting point.
Did you start the venture alone?
No. I am blessed to be able to embark on this venture with my two siblings who have been very supportive of my business concept. They have helped me to bring into realization of something that I could not have done alone in a very short period. They believe strongly in my creativity, so I was allowed to focus wholeheartedly in the product sourcing and development while they take care of the rest of the business operations.
What was the hardest part in the early stages of the company’s growth?
In my opinion, a significant challenge was how and where to find the right customers for our products. With a pretty limited budget, we had to create good public awareness of our presence, followed by having to convince the public that Wandewoo is worth their time visiting. Subsequently, the products that make it onto our display shelves are worthy enough for them to spend their money on. Although the feedback from customers has been very promising thus far, I believe there is still a huge percentage of people who are not aware of our brand yet. Hence, we still have to do a lot more to build that up, including expanding our business online so that we could reach out to more people in Singapore.
Do you think luck played a role in the success of Wandewoo?
Luck definitely has a role to play in how far Wandewoo has come, but it is certainly not the main element in the story of Wandewoo. It has been tremendously hard work, persevering through challenging retail times and being resilient in problem-solving by thinking out-of-the-box. We are lucky in ways such that we are blessed with opportunities to work with very reliable and talented artisans, having a very supportive landlord and business partners. They truly believe in the potential of our business. We are also lucky to have a group of loyal customers who truly appreciate our entry and have given us a lot of encouragements and valuable feedbacks.
How has the design and crafts industry changed in the last year?
I believe that the demand for handmade homeware has been on the rise. Designers around the world are choosing handmade techniques over technology. Consumers are moving away from mass production or identikit pieces and seeking to fill their home with individual pieces with the hallmarks of handcraft. This is probably why we are also doing particularly well with our handmade ceramics, whether clean and straightforward, heavily textured, colourful or quirky which demonstrated a return to the rise in the demand for handcrafted ceramics in the home!
What advice would you give to a design and crafts company just starting their business online?
We started off as a brick and mortar store because we wanted to present a place where you can go to when you’re shopping for the home. In this place, you find yourself in a wonderland filled with unique decorative homeware and art pieces that are carefully curated for you. However, we also understand that e-commerce would soon dominate the whole retail market due to the convenience of purchasing within some clicks, so we are currently looking at how we can reach out to more customers online.
In my opinion, apart from making sure that you have a good looking online presence, it is equally essential that your selected online platform is able to provide a seamless buying experience both in terms of high speed and convenience for the consumers. A huge advantage would be platforms which are able to adopt early augmented reality solutions to enable shoppers to interact with the products in ways that are similar to the in-person shopping experience. Only then will there be a truly immersive online shopping experience for consumers.
We hope you enjoyed it and we thank Sonny Boey for this interesting interview.
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