5 S’poreans Who Began Their Personal Bizs After Dropping Their Incomes


This year, the Covid-19 pandemic has hit the lives of individuals and the global economy.

A total of 11,350 people faced cuts in Singapore in the first half of 2020. From Singapore Airlines to GoBear, large companies and even startups have laid off employees.

However, the crisis has also opened up opportunities. More than 40,000 new companies were registered between January and September.

So, despite the economic dangers, the Singaporeans have found various options and used the new trends of Covid-19.

For example, many domestic businesses have sprung up across the island, and some have even turned their humble businesses into physical businesses.

Here are 5 Singaporeans who have successfully started their own business despite being laid off from their previous jobs or losing their stable income.

1. Founder of Muse & Motif

Photo credit: PR Week

In January of this year, the company that 38-year-old Joscelin Kwek worked for was wound up leaving her and seven other team members unemployed.

The setback caused Joscelin to set up her own communications agency, Muse & Motif, just a month later, and she hired her former team members.

The liquidation of the company was a setback, but also an opportunity. I found the conviction to try something I never had the courage to do, namely to start a business.

– Joscelin Kwek, founder of Muse & Motif, in an interview with The Straits Times

Although Joscelin had absolutely no experience running a company, he decided to take the leap of faith. However, she has years of experience in the communications field.

As of August this year, the business is profitable with seven-digit sales.

2. Founder of 1degreeC

1 ° C coffee Bee Yan and Richard / Photo credit: @shazbyshaz

In 2016, 58-year-old Richard Koh worked as a regional business manager for Hewlett-Packard.

However, as the company was in the process of restructuring, he was soon to be relieved of his 10 years of activity.

“I was in bad shape (after losing my job) but my wife kept telling me, ‘Get off your ass and do something! ‘So my wife was the force behind me to get involved,’ he told Vulcan Post in a separate interview.

It was then that he had the idea of ​​starting his own company, and together with his wife Ong Bee Yan, the duo started the startup 1degreeC for cold brew coffee.

The couple’s love of coffee was also a determining factor in the direction of the business.

“We like to drink coffee, so we go to Kopitiams for drinks and to cafes too. But what’s unusual about the café scene here is that it’s always young people, so we’re the only older people who are always around, ”Richard said.

Her children (both in their thirties) were also very encouraging to their cafe adventures, often recommending new places to try out.

1 ° C coffee Photo credit: 1 Degree C via Facebook

Their big break took place in 2017 during the Singapore Coffee Festival, where they received a lot of recognition from coffee lovers.

You now run the business in a MacPherson kitchen where Bee Yan does all the brewing while Richard does the deliveries.

Sales have also grown over the years, and the business is stable enough for the couple to expand their vision from coffee to collaborations and charity work.

3. Founder of Cannolicious

Image credit: Cannolicious

Cannolicious is a home business offering a DIY kit that customers can use to whistle their own cannolis.

The founder is 46-year-old Adele Chia, who moved to Vietnam in 2019 to take a position as CEO of an education company.

She suddenly lost her job in May when the company’s owners decided to sell the company, she reported in an interview with TodayOnline.

She then decided to give cannoli a try, and together with her husband Edmund Ng, 45, started Cannolicious.

Each box contains ingredients for 12 cannolis and costs S $ 55 with a delivery charge of S $ 10.

According to the Cannolicious website, the Cannoli DIY kit was designed to “make sure customers can enjoy the cannoli as well [we] made in Italy. ”

4. Founder of Auto Xthetics

Auto Xthetics Image credit: Auto Xthetics

Those in the aviation sector have been hard hit by the pandemic, and 39-year-old pilot Kenny Tay was one of them.

Kenny quit his job at SilkAir in January to join a low-cost airline, according to a report in the Straits Times. However, a week before its launch, he was told that the pandemic could be delayed by a year.

According to him, the airline said its crew could “do anything” to add to their income.

Kenny decided to start a mobile car care company, Auto Xthetics.

Its car care packages start at S $ 338 for a standard package and the services range from waxing the car to detailing the car.

5. Founder of Durian Lobang King

Durian King Hole Photo credit: Durian Lobang King

Although 31-year-old Marcus Png and 32-year-old Q Lim did not disappoint, the owners of an event company began to suffer from their businesses since January this year.

The duo then decided to start Durian Lobang King when they realized they needed to find a new source of income.

“Having had contacts with a durian plantation in Malaysia through previous events we had organized, we decided to offer consumers durian that met their expectations,” said Marcus in an interview with AsiaOne.

The two business partners then spent about a month figuring out the logistics of the business, from finding a location to importing durian.

In addition to selling fresh durian, they also evolved into pastries like durian mooncakes during the Mid Autumn Festival.

Always be on the lookout for new beginnings

Losing your income is never easy.

This year, many Singaporeans have faced the unfortunate situation of being disappointed or losing a significant portion of their income.

However, many also decided to start their own businesses or improve their skills.

Additionally, Singapore has long been recognized as a good place to start a business with a variety of programs and grants to help new business owners.

Starting a business, even if it is based in your own country, could therefore be the first step in securing a new stream of income.

Featured image source: PR Week / @shazbyshaz / Durian Lobang King / Auto Xthetics / Cannolicious

Also read: Do you want to become an entrepreneur? Here’s why 2021 is a better year than 2020 to start a business




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