Faces Behind the Business - Align.Co
Our first feature is a homegrown leather merchandise entrepreneur, Eunice Yeoh, founder of The Align.Co who began her journey through selling pins.
In 2019, as Eunice began her second year of law studies, she diligently searched for a journal that was reusable and refillable. She wanted a notebook that can act as both a planner and journal, to consolidate her doodles and school notes. In the midst of her search for such a journal, she discovered the Midori system, a Japanese creation of traveller’s notebook. However, as the Midori-styled journals were rather expensive, Eunice decided to try her hand at making her own dream journal. She started experimenting with various kinds of fabrics and mediums, and finally settled on using leather for her products because of its aesthetic appeal and durability. She also loves the feel and texture of leather on her hands, apart from its distinct smell.
Having made her own journal which she posted on Instagram, this accidental hobby bloomed into a business when it garnered attention from acquaintances and the rest, as they say, is history.
Starting a business for the first time, all by herself, without financial assistance from family, Eunice was afraid but she is grateful to have supportive friends who believed in her capabilities of turning an idea into a successful business. She says, “they lent both moral and tangible support, from offering car rides to source for materials, giving honest design feedback.”
When the nation was hit by the Covid- 19 pandemic, Eunice faced many challenges, one of them was customers’ hesitancy to purchase non-essential goods. Selling through social media platforms did not do justice to her leather pieces too, because when customers can touch and feel the leather themselves, it makes a difference. Postponement or cancellation of Bazaars, Weekend Artisan Markets and Live Embossing Events also resulted in a drop in sales. However, this did not waver her determination in learning, Eunice says, “the bright side is that while I’m stranded at home, I get to attend online courses to upskill myself and put some of those new product ideas into reality.”
When asked about her goals in the near future, Eunice mentioned that she wishes to take on more corporate orders. To achieve that, brand visibility is key and she hopes to reach wider customers through the MCOMart platform. She also hints, there are Work-From-Home Gift Sets -which corporates should consider.
Eunice also hopes to potentially partner with major local florists as a go-to gifting solution for same day gift set deliveries, a way for last minute buyers to rejoice. Plus, she wishes for more collaboration with other leather merchandise makers, to be able to support one another and diversify the product range. This enterprising business owner also expressed her intention of doing more in-person live-embossing events, where initials are embossed on leather door gifts at live events, which COVID has put a halt to.
As the interview came to an end, Eunice advised people who would like to start their own businesses:
“Don’t be afraid to start small. I started off selling pins to save up enough money to buy my first piece of leather. The sooner you start, the sooner you get the big mistakes out of your system. You have incredible advantages over past generations - resources and knowledge are at your fingertips, so have the courage and you’ll find that opportunities are endless. It’ll come with its own set of challenges but it is important to not allow yourself to be discouraged by the ups and downs of starting a business. While you may not find the immediate success you desire, you will attain new skills and experiences that will prove to be invaluable in the long run.”
Visit Align. Co Leather Good at:
Whatsapp at: 011-1032 3702