Over the past 2 months, many have been staying at and working from home due to the circuit breaker (CB) imposed to fight off the current global outbreak. On June 2, CB finally ended, and we have recently entered recovery Phase 1.
In the following weeks, we will be featuring some of our customers as they share how they are embracing this new normal, and what they look forward to in a changed future.
Though more economic activities are gradually opening up, many businesses in the retail, F&B and home-based industries are still unable to fully resume operations in their brick-and-mortar stores.
While the outbreak has brought about economic disruption on an unprecedented level, some business owners see this as an opportunity to rethink and explore the business in other ways.
To kick start this series, we have Adelia, an entrepreneur and owner of two businesses, 3 Trees @ Hills Pte Ltd and Forest Jewelry. Adelia shares with us how she is embracing new strategies, adopting technology to her business and what the future entails for her after the CB.
Adelia is wearing pieces from her Garden Collection
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Hi Adelia, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I started my entrepreneurship journey after a short work experience after my University studies in 2010 distributing an Australian jewelry brand in Singapore. After five years, I decided to start my own company 3 Trees @ Hills Pte Ltd distributing confectionery items to Duty Free Clients and my own jewelry brand, Forest Jewelry was born in 2017. I am a proud “paw-rent” of my bratty 2 year old malti-poo, Kiwi, together with my husband. In my free time, besides pandering to her whims and fancies, I enjoy going for gym workouts with my buddies and improving my spiritual walk through reading, bible study classes and attending church activities.
The outbreak has reshaped norms around the world. What would you say is the greatest/biggest change you have made in your life/work routine during this period (which would most likely remain as a norm post CB)?
As a business owner of brick and mortar shops for the last decade with a strong focus on the tourism industry, the outbreak has indeed caused a severe impact on my business. Before the pandemic, I was very busy going around my shops to ensure that stocks are well-replenished/displayed, corresponding with my retail staff on how to improve as well as gathering feedback from the ground and liaising with my respective business clients.
For the first week of the CB, with the temporary closures of all my retail outlets, I was at a loss of what to do so I simply rested. A couple of weeks later, I told myself that if changes need to be implemented, it should be now. So, I dived into work to launch my Forest Jewelry products on both my website and Lazada stores. I also signed up for a photoshop course (which I thoroughly enjoyed) to help me in my e-commerce journey.
Setting up an e-commerce store is a completely different experience from running a brick and mortar store. My days are now spent thinking of creating content, preparing for launches of my new jewelry pieces, organizing photography sessions and enhancing my digital marketing skills. It is a steep learning curve but I love it!
To learn more about the backend e-commerce business, I also took up a part-time e-Commerce packer job in a big establishment. The job was physically tiring but it taught me to appreciate the invisible hands behind each package a customer received and also how with E-Commerce, the possibilities are endless and boundary-less.
As the recovery phase kicks off with Phase 1 of post CB, what is one thing that you are concerned about, hopeful for, or even looking forward to in a changed future?
While I am looking forward to the reopening of my retail stores, the challenges ahead will be a marathon race particularly for the high touch travel retail industry which I am in. In my recent trip to Terminal 4 to prepare for the temporary closure of the terminal with Terminal 2 next in line, the unprecedented silence of the terminal hit me hard where in the past I would take for granted the usual hustle and bustle which was always very much a part of Changi Airport.
However one positive of this global pandemic is that it is the catalyst for me which I am sure as with many other businesses, to speed up my online presence which I started some months back but was not a top priority then. The process of creating an online presence and learning the know-how was sparked by this unfortunate situation. While it is still early days in my e-commerce journey, I am looking forward to learning more, experimenting more and to go into the direction of creating a successful e-commerce platform.
Starting something new / change can be intimidating. Any tips/advice to share with others on how do you embrace a new beginning/normal?
I attended a 3-day virtual business summit where many great and inspiring speakers such as Gary Vaynerchuk, Brian Tracy and Jenn Chia came onboard to share their know-how and experiences with us. One of the key takeaways from this summit is that there is really no perfect time to make changes, we cannot let our insecurities hinder our step forward because no matter how small or imperfect a baby step is, it is still a step forward.
Though the CB was only implemented in April, I had already witnessed the crippling effect of the outbreak on my business since the start of the year with dwindling tourist footfall, reduced operating hours of shopping malls and countries imposing border and travel restrictions. It was a very difficult and anxious time as my business was highly reliant on tourists. I take some comfort that I accelerated my e-commerce as I could have just hit the pause button and done nothing and not embrace the need for change.
As Leslie Dwight so rightly said “What if 2020 is the year we’ve been waiting for? A year so uncomfortable, so painful, so scary, so raw that it finally forces us to grow…. A year we finally accept the need for change. Declare change. Work for change. Become the Change.”
We believe the CB had been a tough time for many. Can you share with us what you miss most about CB / a fond memory from CB??
The CB has been a time of deep learning and reflection for me. The past few years, I led a very hectic lifestyle juggling business expansion and operations. This constant busyness was beginning to take a toil on my physical and mental health which was also affecting the relationships around me.
However, during this CB, I was forced to take a hiatus from all the rush. Though I was occupied launching my e-commerce platforms, I also had more time to rest, relax, read and learn. Before the CB was implemented, I went to the library and borrowed over ten books in a typical “Kiasu-ism” mentality. I also spend more time bonding and talking with my husband, exercising with our gym buddies over zoom and bonding with my church friends.
The fondest memory of CB for me is of course the birth of my online Forest Jewelry.
Can you share with us any 2 positive new norms/habits/changes that you’ve developed during the CB that you are incorporating into your daily routine now?
1) Continuous Learning. The importance of continuous learning is imperative to improving oneself. During this CB, I felt that I embarked on many important life lessons where I gleaned first-hand experience of handling a world-wide crisis, to experimenting with new projects and to taking up a part-time night shift packer job. Our Government has always advocated lifelong learning and never has this ring more true for me and I hope to retain a quest for lifelong learning for the rest of my life.
2) The importance of Rest. While the CB is an unfortunate event, it provided a much-needed break for me to take stock of my life and to look deeper on possible new business strategies and transformation
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Featured in this photo with Adelia is our Cotton Classic Set in Midnight.