Find out what it is like to have your own online store.
Naiise is an online store that serves as a platform for both established local and international brands to showcase their creative products. They aim to improve everyday life by selling well-designed products that are useful to people. Youth.SG had a little chat with Dennis, the entrepreneur behind Naiise.
Who: Dennis Tay, 30
Occupation: Owner of online store (Naiise)
Studied: Bachelor in business, majoring in entrepreneurship at Singapore Institute of Management-Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University
Tell us more about yourself.
I’m the founder of Naiise. I have been interested in design for a long time and I believe in the values and principles of design, especially the benefits that come from a well-designed product.
How and why did you become your own boss?
I enjoy it very much. It forces me to keep moving forward and be more creative. I founded Naiise because of my vision to create a design-centric society where people appreciate local design as well as design from all around the world. I believe that it betters people’s lives as there are a lot of good things that design can bring.
Describe a typical day at work.
Every day at the office, I will oversee the key strategic goals that Naiise has to achieve and make sure that things run smoothly. On top of that, I do whatever the rest of the team does as well. We do our best to share the workload.
What is your most memorable experience?
My most memorable experience would be working together with the team. When we had our pop-up stores last year, the team would come together to conceptualise and build the space, as well as help with visual merchandising and of course running the store itself. It is during these times that I got to work very closely with them and understand them better as colleagues and as friends.
What difficulties do you face?
I think I have been very lucky to have very supportive parents who always encourage me to try my best and not give up. That helps a lot. A challenge was how we started the business. Naiise is purely a bootstrap business, so we never had funding and everything came from my own pocket. It got very demoralising because I was alone when the business first started and I handled everything from delivering the customers’ goods to managing the website and doing the marketing. It was basically a one-man gig that went on for about a year. After that, I had my first employee and Naiise started to grow. You encounter a lot of disheartening moments but the important thing is you do not give up.
How long have you been doing this and how has the industry changed?
I have been in the field for about 10 years. I worked in a creative agency in the past. However, after a few years, my other partners and I decided to close the business and pursue other avenues. The situation is definitely different now especially in terms of support. Singaporeans are more open to local brands and businesses. As local business owners, we need the local economy to support us, because if we cannot get that, it becomes very difficult to get bigger.
What motivates you in your work?
My team. As the founder, I look out for my team of 10 people like they are my own children. So I work really hard to help them develop their skills, and also financially, to turn what they are doing into a sustainable lifestyle. They drive me to work very hard every day, in order to help them and the business grow.
Do you have any advice for youths considering this job?
Work hard and never give up. Sometimes it might not make sense to you in terms of the returns. Sometimes it can get really tiring when you have to work odd hours. However, if you really believe in your dream, you keep pressing on.
There isn’t a specific requirement in order to be an entrepreneur. It’s okay to be good at just one aspect of the business and find others who can help complement your skill sets.
Patience, being hardworking and determination are very important qualities to have.
Mondays to Fridays, 11am to 8pm
$1,000 to $4,000 a month
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