All posts by Sydney Ho

Semi Permanent Makeup Course at Ouni.kr!

Being in the beauty blogging industry for a couple of years, I have always wanted to dabble into a career that could help change lives and especially in the beauty area hence when I came across Ouni.kr, I thought why not learn a skill that could maybe land me a job that would allow me to fuel my passion.

When I first heard about Ouni.kr, I was skeptical as there are no Korean academies around and they were the only one. However I later got to know that they are a franchise from Korea and has expanded quickly in other countries already. They also provide a recognised certification at the end of the courses.

There are several courses available. I took  the Ouni 5+1 Korean Semi Permanent Make up and skincare course. Prices wise, I suggest you contact them directly. You might wish to check out the course structure below:

Here’s some of the before and after looks of the different procedures done to the real life models. Some were done by the teacher and some were done by students. The teacher would perform the procedure in front of us students.

Hairline embroidery
Eyebrow embroidery
Lip embroidery
Eyebrow Embroidery Wu Mei

The course I took costs around 2k+ which includes course materials. Besides being an academy, they also distribute cosmetics and materials which you can purchase from them when you start your business. I will answer some of the FAQs I came across when I was taking this course:

WHAT DID WE LEARNT

First and Second day, we learnt about semi-permanent makeup both theory and practical. We first learnt about how to create the outline of the brows before filling in the brow color. There was two techniques learnt – traditional and modern wu mei. These two techniques required two different tools and could be done manually or by machine. It was easier to go forward to lip and eyeliner after learning the brows as its the same technique just different areas. We were given faux skin to practise on.

Third Day was several demo sessions by the teacher. Fourth and Fifth Day we had real life models to do on. The models just kept coming in! We also learnt how to handle customers and their issues along the way. If you are unable to pick up everything during the class, you are welcome to return to the next intake to enhance your skills. This is how committed Ouni.kr is.

During the last day of class, we learnt  face and body skincare techniques such as Korean Water Shine Covered BB glow skin treatment and more.

Here is the before and after of the Korean Water Shine Covered BB glow skin treatment.

This is the injection of BB and performed by me

DO YOU THINK ITS WORTH IT

Honestly, in this volatile economy, it is quite difficult to find a decent job that you enjoy and most young people around are finding it easier to do their own business instead. This is definitely a skill that  you can always fall back on if say you can’t find a job.

WHAT IS THE PRICE OF THE COURSES

It costs 2k++ and includes course materials.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THIS COURSE AND OTHER SIMILAR COURSES OUT THERE

For a start, I spoke to some other students taking the course who have previously learnt from elsewhere and they mentioned that our course syllabus is more up to date and in trend. We also have an abundance of real life models to test our skills on. Our teacher actually guide us through step by step and gave us ample guidance on how to perform on real life models.

WHO SHOULD COME AND LEARN

Many existing salon owners have come to learn. This course can serve as a beginner course or a refresher for experienced beauticians. If you are looking to start your own mini house business or even wish to expand your current line of services, this would be for you!

IS THE TEACHER EASY TO UNDERSTAND 

Even though she is Korean, she does speak very good Chinese and English. There is also an assistant teacher that is fluent in English and Chinese to translate and help out in the class.

HOW IS THE CLASS CONDUCTED

There are around 10 students in my class and the ration is about 1 teacher to 10 students.

WHAT DOES THE COURSE INCLUDE

It includes theory lessons, practise sessions and hands on training on real life models.

WHICH COURSE IS RECOMMENDED

I would definitely go for the entire 6 days course as I think its just a short period of time and it isn’t too expensive too.

OVERALL THOUGHTS ON THE COURSE

Being quite shy, I like that this course builds up my confidence in performing on real life models. I think this is the biggest hurdle I had to go through because I am very scared of causing physical pain to others hence I am really thankful that I have the teacher to guide me step by step in how to create perfect brows without causing too much pain. It was not only about making it pretty for the customer but also putting her at ease and lessening her “suffering” and pain during the procedure too. In addition, I find it very satisfactory when I finished the brows of my model. You can see the before and after look of my model below.

Eyebrow embroidery

Hope this helps and let me know if you have any questions!

Seeing Double at Wild Wild Wet!

*Contest/giveaway at the end of the post

credits: wild wild wet
With dear Regina whose husband kindly took pictures for us!

What’s a better way to get wet? Its none other than visiting Wild Wild Wet!

If you have never been to Wild Wild Wet, you are missing out and if you have but it has been some time, there is no better time to revisit!

To celebrate the completion of the expansion of Wild Wild Wet to double its original size, Downtown East is bringing an overload of fun to the public with a Seeing Double promotion.

Members of the public just need to come dressed identically with a friend to enjoy double the fun for half the price at four key offerings at Downtown East – Wild Wild Wet, D’Resort, Orchid Bowl and eXplorerkid.

Now spanning 4 hectares, Wild Wild Wet is home to new attractions such as the Royal Flush.  Royal Flush is Asia’s first hybrid ride combining the Behemoth BOWL40 and TornadoWAVE – effectively combining two rides into one unique experience. For younger kids, they also have the Kidz Zone, a set of miniature rides and slides that are suitable for kids.

Kidz Zone consists of five miniature rides for kids and families to enjoy an overload of fun at

credits: wild wild wet
credits: wild wild wet
credits: wild wild wet

Cafeteria for food and rest

I used to visit Wild Wild Wet when I was younger as I thought it was very fun. I remember enjoying the relaxed attractions such as the Shiok River and the Tsunami.  Hence when I heard they have introduced new attractions, I was very excited! I am already planning a trip there with my friends again.

The Woosh is already available

look at the massive queue!
Royal Flush, Wild Wild Wet’s new key attraction, was opened in March 2017
credits: wild wild wet

My favourite ride has to be The Woosh, which is 50 metres long, making it Singapore’s Longest Inflatable Freestyle Water Slide! The dual lanes allows guests to challenge each other and compete to see who can slide further along the slide.

Take part in setting Singapore Book of Records for the Most Number of People In Pairs Dressed Identically & win exciting prizes in the Best Dressed Competition!

Group photo of the “Seeing Double” participants. (credits: wild wild wet)

Why not come dressed identically to participate in the Seeing Double campaign at Downtown East from 4 June – 31 July 2017 to enjoy twice the excitement of special promos!

credits: wild wild wet
Old favourites – Ular-lah and Waterworks
For your safety, there’s life jackets available in adult and children sizes too!
Professor’s Playground – a kiddie play zone

CONTEST

Now you can rent fancy floats too! Comes in interesting designs etc.
Rental services to make your experience more interesting

Find out more about the Seeing Double campaign HERE. What are you waiting? Go have fun at Wild Wild Wet today!

Pamper Your Breaking Feet with OSIM uStiletto!

*check out for my promo code at the end of the post for a huge discount!

playing with my dog while enjoying a massage

If you noticed, I am rarely in stilettos as being in high heels all day makes me so prone to backaches and tired feet. I usually only wear high heels on the weekends and the rest of the week, slippers or flats.

I believe most of us will agree that although our feet do a lot of work, they are the least pampered part of our body. To pamper our feet and keep them strong and flexible, a daily dose of foot massage is definitely recommended.

Regular foot massage on our reflex points will help to improve blood circulation and promote better well-being.

How often do you feel your feet turn cold and numb after a day of walking in heels? Well, I do. This is the result of poor blood circulation.

I think the older I get, the more I find I need a day to rest in between and not wear stilettos every single day. I do want to wear stilettos for beauty’s sake as it makes me look better so in order to still wear them, I found a solution.

However how many of us can afford regular feet massage? Won’t that be very costly or tiring to upkeep the routine if you like visiting the massage parlour? Or won’t you have to tire your partner out to help you as well? Sometimes our own hands don’t give off enough strength as well. We might not be able to know exactly where our reflexes are too as well. This is when OSIM uStiletto comes to the rescue.

Recently I attended the launch of OSIM uStiletto and this is one of the most interesting event I have ever attended. We were ushered into the uStiletto experience zone where we were pampered like princesses. We were given a first hand trial at the uStiletto with guides serving us and attending to our needs throughout the experience.

sitting on the uStiletto Homemaker design.
super cute cupcakes in heel design
putting our water-colour painting skills to the test.
Alene (@paperkitties), Me and Celine (@chiamhuiy) all enjoying our massage. Follow them on instagram!

look at the other girls enjoying their massage!

After a long tiring day, the best way to relax is getting a soothing and relaxing foot massage with the OSIM uStiletto. OSIM uStiletto is a leg massager that understands a person’s needs (or should I say a woman’s needs?) as it has 5 auto massage programs available. The programs available includes: Pamper, Relief, Beauty, Reflexology and Sleep.

you may want to read a book while relaxing

For daily pampering, you may wish to go with Pamper or Relief mode. My personal favourite would be Beauty mode and for daily usage I will go with Reflexology or Sleep.

From day to night, you have a suitable program for each purpose. In the morning, you can settle for ‘Pamper’ massage program to gently awaken your legs for a brand new day. Fortnightly, you can go for the ‘Reflexology’ massage program to stimulate vital reflex points to enhance circulation. After a long day of wearing stilettos, you can alternate between ‘Relief’ and ‘Beauty’ massage programs. ‘Relief’ program reduces stress and tension accumulated on the legs and ankles. ‘Beauty’ program tones and shapes legs to restore vitality and glamour. Before gong to bed, I will go with ‘Sleep’ program to relax my body and mind for a restful beauty sleep. Instantly after the massage I find that my legs are less tight and looser after putting back on my stilettos.

I own a leg massager before, and honestly, I don’t find it as good as the OSIM uStiletto because the OSIM uStiletto has ‘S-Tone Airbags’ and ‘S-Care Rollers’ that provides you with a thorough and pampering massage for your legs. You can even select the intensity for both the airbags and rollers too.

The Airbags are strategically positioned so that they can massage your ankles, soles and calves separately. Intense airbag massage effectively melts away the tension caused by wearing stilettos , relieving muscle aches and strains for lighter footsteps.

The S-Care rollers stimulate vital reflex points (toes, ankles and arches of the feet), relieving pressure that builds up in these areas while encouraging positive flow of energy throughout the body for better health and well-being.

its so light, i can lift it up with one hand!

Available in 3 designs – Homemaker, Elegant and Kawaii, I like Homemaker most because of the sweet floral prints.

Homemaker design
Kawaii design
Elegant design

PROMOTION 

Limited Period Pre-sale Exclusive: Use my code < OSIMKOLzodnik> at http://www.lazada.sg/osim1/ to enjoy exclusive offer off the uStiletto from now till 30 May! uStiletto is also available at these selected OSIM roadshows, try it today at:

  1. Suntec City, Outside Gudetama Restaurant (Now till 4 Jun)
  2. Takashimaya Interior Department, B1 (Now till 29 May)
  3. Causeway Point @ Level 1 Linkway (29 May till 4 Jun)
  4. Waterway Point, outside Charles&Keith (29 May till 11 Jun)

For more information on uStiletto: http://sg.osim.com/ustiletto-leg-massager.html
Heard that prices are only going to go up, so do grab it fast!

 

 

TIPS FOR BEAUTIFUL LEGS

So besides a very good massage, I would also recommend applying moisturising lotion and exfoliating your legs regularly. Personally, I think this massager is a very good buy and it is different from other leg massagers out there. Besides its sleek design, it targets the entire leg up to the knees for some of us which none of the massagers out there does. Go check it out on Lazada.sg today!

Eyebrow Embroidery with Chrysalis

*Promo code at the end! Look out for it.

Being a very fuss free person yet vain, I often opt for the easy way out when it comes to beauty. I like the idea of anything that screams semi-permanent and I chose to go for eyebrow embroidery ever since I learnt about it. However when I was young, I did not know that you have to choose your therapists and salon properly and went for whichever that was “cheap”. And the result of going to cheap salons? Well, my eyebrows are now uneven and it is not going to be easy to shape the eyebrows again without some correction.

Thank god I found Chrysalis Spa, which is so near my house! I am really very thankful that I found them.

love the treatment rooms
the gorgeous hallways
the locker rooms
the meeting rooms
the beautiful sitting area
the rooms where the magic happens
the front desk

This is the first time I feel like home when I am at a Spa, the spa managers were so friendly and warm. You might think its because I am a blogger but no, I see the way they treat customers as well and I know that they are genuine. Being a specialist in spa and facial treatments, they have recently launched their Brow Haven.

The Brow Haven™ – The Semi-Permanent Makeup Expert

The Brow Haven™ is a newly launched beauty sanctuary for those looking for natural brow and lash products as well as for effective, creative and pain-free Eyebrow, Eyeliner and Lips Embroidery by Chrysalis™ Group. The Brow Haven™ is your one-stop Semi-Permanent Makeup brows, lash and face boutique, giving you the most natural look. Expect a natural and subtle semi-permanent makeup that is smudge-free.

all settled in my comfy chair
before starting on the procedure

The Brow Haven™ uses top-notch certified-safe colors and strict hygiene procedures of using new blades and tools for every customer. Other than cosmetic artistry like eyebrow shaping, eyebrow designing, lip, eyeliner & eyebrow embroidery, The Brow Haven™ also offers some very interesting and luxurious Face Treatments such as our signature Aqua Shine BB Semi Permanent Makeup Facial. High quality ingredients, tip-top spa rooms for you to indulge yourself while you have your little spa haven in easily located places where luxury meets comfortable, lifestyle and beauty are all integrated into one.

how comfortable it feels lying in that chair while Sally patiently draws my brows

eyebrows final shape
artistically and patiently drawing my brows

redrawing the brows because Sally is a perfectionist
checking out the mirror to see if the shape is good to go!

The Brow Haven™ now operates a chain of 2 Semi-Permanent Makeup Specialty outlets in Singapore.

numbing cream application, about 10 minutes
plastic wrapper to seal in the numbing cream

For eyebrow embroidery they have many options available. I chose to do their speciality, Wu Mei. I have tried it before in another clinic and honestly it did not last long so when I went to consult the therapist at Chrysalis and she chose Wu Mei for me, I was hesitant but she managed to convince me to try Wu Mei again which I did. I am really glad I chose to do Wu Mei instead of Creative eyebrow. It looks very natural and there is lesser downtime.

using the instrument to carve out the shape of the eyebrows

I love my therapist Sally who did a wonderful job on me. She is one of the star therapists there and she managed to change my Korean Thick Eyebrow shape to one thats thinner and has an arch. You might think its impossible to achieve a thinner eyebrow shape from a thick pair of eyebrows but she did it. She went the extra mile and applied removal cream to remove the unnecessary strokes leftover from the previous shape.

brows right after doing
brows after a week

Check out my eyebrows! I love them so so much. They are now even and also some of the unnecessary strokes leftover from the previous shape are looking less defined and have faded. Thank you Chrysalis for the beautiful eyebrows! I can’t wait to return for my touch up.

PROMOTION

Simply quote Sydney at Chrysalis The Brow Haven™ – The Semi-Permanent Makeup Expert to enjoy a special promotion benefit:

  1. Classic Eyebrow Embroidery S$128.40 (UP S$243.96)

Follow Chrysalis on their following social media channels to find out more about their other treatments and services.

Website: http://chrysaliseyebrow.com.sg/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Chrysaliseyebrow/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chrysaliseyebrow/

You can visit their outlets :

Ang Mo Kio Hub (AMK MRT)

AMK Hub #03-26, 53 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3 Singapore 569933

Tel: 6481 9270

Operating hours: 11am – 9pm (mon-Fri), 10am – 7pm (Sat, Sun and PH)

Jurong Point (Boon Lay MRT)

Jurong Point, #01-23 JP2, 63 Jurong West Central 3 Singapore 648331

 

SAY HELLO TO SMOOTH, MANAGEABLE AND HEALTHY TRESSES WITH L’OREAL PARIS EXTRAORDINARY OIL LA CRÈME LAVANTE NO-FOAM CLEANSING CREAM

How many times have you woken up late and cannot afford enough time to condition your hair? What about times when you feel lazy and too tired to wash your hair #FirstWorldProblem? I guess we all have such moments and I am so glad I found a gem in the mass of shampoos. A rare gem – L’oreal Paris Extraordinary Oil La Crème Lavante Cleansing Cream is a 3-in-1 shampoo, conditioner and treatment. Besides the convenience, this particular shampoo doesn’t create FOAM! Yes, you heard it right – NO FOAM. Foam from typical foaming shampoo cause harsh friction when we are scrubbing foaming shampoo to our scalp and hair, hence it strips off the hair of natural moisture, causing the hair to be damaged. This is why no foam equals to no damage!

Contrary to what many people believe and think that foam would efficiently wash and cleanse hair, it is not true at all as there are no truly natural surfactants that will produce a thick lather. Natural products will foam very, very little, not even noticeably most of the time. Only chemicals can produce that beehive of foam.

The L’Oreal Paris Extraordinary Oil La Crème Lavante is infused with 3 Extraordinary Oils (Cleansing Oil + Conditioning Oil + Treatment Oil) which helps to effectively cleanse the hair and scalp without over-stripping the hair of its natural moisture. Cleansing without foam reduces harsh friction and breakage on the hair and hence making your hair looks visibly healthier and softer after first use.

  • Cleansing Oil = Cleanses through the scalp and hair without stripping the hair of natural moisture
  • Conditioning Oil = Penetrates into the hair keratin and condition the hair effectively
  • Treatment Oil = Restores dry hair back to healthier-looking hair with lustrous shine

Why No-Poo is relevant? 

Almost 1 in 5 consumers suffer from damaged hair because foam from foaming shampoo causes harsh friction stripping off hair of natural moisture hence causing further damage to the hair.

Besides the winning scents as compared to many hair care products out there, it is absolutely refreshing on the scalp (because of the menthol) and leaves hair silky smooth and manageable.

There are 3 variants in total, and they are:

-Extraordinary Oil La Crème Lavante No-Foam Cleansing Cream Gold variant (for normal to dry hair)

-Extraordinary Oil La Crème Lavante No-Foam Cleansing Cream Pink variant (for frizzy, dull hair)

-Extraordinary Oil La Crème Lavante No-Foam Cleansing Cream Brown variant (for very dry & damaged hair)

As compared to the Gold and Brown variants, Extraordinary Oil La Crème Lavante Pink (for frizzy, dull hair) has a little more foam. For consumers who totally cannot take the no-foam concept (because they think their hair is not clean without foam from shampoo), they can opt for this pink variant, which has a low-foam.

Retailing at $21.90 each, it is now available in all leading personal care stores (like Watsons & Guardian) and Super/Hypermarkets. Other than Japan, Singapore is the 1st country in the Asia to lead this no-foam trend.

Personally, I like the scent and think it smells way better than other shampoos out there. I also like that I never need to stock up on conditioner and treatment anymore. Convenience is everything these days isn’t it? Also, I like that since using it, my bleached hair is more manageable and smooth. It is easier to brush and is quicker to dry.

BENEFITS

So in summary, I think these are the benefits that won me over.

  • Winning fragrant scent
  • Saves time
  • Saves money
  • Fuss free
  • Damage free because no foam

LET’S PUT THEM TO THE TESTS

A.The Smooth and Manageable Comb through test

Using the finger-comb through test, you can see that the hair is now smoother and more manageable . Hair is softer and healthier with no damage.

B. The Hair Porosity Test

Healthy hair floats on water as it is less porous.

 

Wish to know the secret to smooth undamaged hair? Use L’oreal Paris Extraordinary Oil La Crème Lavante Cleansing Cream today!

 

Trying Out EVANESSENCE Illuminating Tablets

evanessence-skin-whitening-1

Do you envy the fair skin of Koreans? I used to be very fair but as I age, the pigment cells in my skin stop producing melanin; hence whenever I get tanned or sun burnt, it takes much longer or may not even return to as fair as I was before. This is where whitening supplements comes to play! Recently got to know about EVANESSENCE – a new unique naturally balanced supplement  containing enriching ingredients of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and enzymes which help the skin to renew energy, promote anti-aging, restore collagen structure and increase skin elasticity with the improved activity of flexible fibrin.

evanessence-skin-whitening-2

EVANESSENCE reduces skin damage from free radicals, enhances skin tolerance of exposing to UV radiation, and increases the skin’s capability in self-healing and anti-inflammatory.

evanessence-skin-brightening-1

EVANESSENCE also assists to even your skin tone and texture, making your skin look positively radiant through reduction of skin pigmentation and dark spots, repair of the coarse pore, and lightening your skin to achieve and maintain healthier, smoother, more radiant and younger skin.

evanessence-skin-brightening-2

MAIN INGREDIENTS

Contains a natural blend of plant nutrients, seed extracts, vitamins, minerals and enzymes like Tomato Extract, Licorice Extract, Melon Extract and Grape Seed Extract. Helps in skin whitening through the effects of antioxidation, inhibition of pigment formation and increased tolerance to sun exposure.

L-Glutathione helps cut down early skin aging and minimizes allergy by reducing free radicals formation inside the body.

Pine Bark Extract helps increase skin elasticity and retard skin aging. It contains powerful antioxidant oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPC) which contribute to reducing free radicals formation, increasing vitamin C absorption as well as improving anti-allergy and anti-inflammatory.

Coenzyme Q10 is an essential enzyme complex found in every cell of the body which decreases with aging.  EVANESSENCE contains a natural supplement of Coenzyme Q10 to increase cell energy, protect against skin aging, reduce the formation of wrinkles and empower body strength.

Hydrolyzed Fish Collagen helps reduce the loss of tissue collagen from aging and enhance skin elasticity and lustre.

HOW TO USE

Take one tablet before bed or as directed by a healthcare professional. Can be taken on an empty stomach. For best results, take consecutively for three months. It is also suitable for vegetarians and can be used as adjunctive repair and maintenance after laser skin treatment.

REVIEW

Taste wise, it was tasteless which was good! I didn’t really like taking supplements before because some supplements have an abnormal taste to it. As I only consumed this for a week, it is too early to say if I see any difference as I have yet to fully receive the benefits of the product however I do feel positively recharged after knowing my skin is reaping all the benefits of the supplements and I like that my skin was looking somewhat brighter and clearer after a week’s consumption. One box contains 30 tablets sufficient for a month’s consumption.

Find out more here at http://www.evanessence.com.sg.

Instagram  @evanessencesg
Facebook  @evanessencesg

WHERE TO BUY THESE PRODUCTS

Dr Chio Aesthetic & Laser Center, 
Blk 158 Bedok South Ave 3, #01-581, Singapore 460158, 
 
PlusHealth Medical Clinic & Surgery,
89 Whampoa Drive, #01-841, Singapore 320089, 
 
Dr Leo Aesthetic Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, 
3 Mount Elizabeth, 
Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre #06-10, Singapore 228510, 

 

Playing Dress Up With PepperKoko

When the Korean Wave first took over Singapore, I wasn’t at all that interested because I did not fancy baggy clothes however Pepperkoko changed my perception of Korean fashion. Korean fashion could very well be basics and fitting tops or dresses even!

At Pepperkoko.com.sg, they allow 14 days return and exchange for your items which is way longer than most online stores so you can feel free to shop at ease without any commitment. Not sure of your sizing? No worries, they have a wide range of sizes (even for the plus size)  from S to 7L for most designs! Receive FOC delivery when you spend $38 and above! With just S$100, I managed to score myself 4 beautiful pieces at such good quality. You have to try it to believe!

Here are some ways on how I styled the pieces. From active wear, women’s work wear, kid’s wear and even men’s wear, they are your one stop solution for your entire family.

I have to say my shopping experience with Pepperkoko was one of a kind and excellent. I accidentally purchased a duplicate and instead of going through with the order, they actually sensed something wrong with my order and personally verified with me through text! They are efficient accompanied with great customer service.

Flounce Off-The-Shoulder Top

A simple off shoulder top with ruffles and ribbon detailing.  Pair it with a uniquely designed white ruffled skirt and there you have it – casual date wear to the park or museum.

Denim Frayed Trim Short Overalls

Not sure what to wear to the park or a garden date? Why not try out this sweet looking romper? You can never go wrong with denim or comfort.

Chiffon Pinstripe Boxy Shirt Dress

Days when I feel subconscious, I like to have some cover up. My best bet would be a shirt dress.

Off Shoulder Elastic Waist Romper 

If you don’t already know, white is my favourite colour and I love the off shoulder design because I like showing off my collar bones (I think collar bones are sexy).

Currently, on every Wednesdays of April, buy above $38 and receive $10 off your final bill! Applicable with all other promo codes. For all other days of April, receive a free gift when you purchase above $38. Quote <SYDNEY10> and get $10 off with min. $40 purchase.

Like and follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

Tips For Every Young Business Owner

Not young anymore, I sometimes ponder about the sustainability of everything I am doing as I have always been doing my own thing like blogging and handling my own business.

Blogging came naturally to me, it started off as a hobby out of my love for writing but later developed into a profession. Even though I love being a blogger, it is not sustainable to be a full time blogger. Besides my love for blogging, I am also passionate about fashion and beauty. Hence, I decided to launch a women’s fashion online store. I had a goal and plan in mind that I was going to execute. I started this online store with my ex school mate and best friend who was based in Indonesia. My online store is based in both Indonesia and Singapore. I hope to expand my business to the rest of Asia.

I did not disclose to anyone I was an online store owner as I wanted to keep work and my online public persona separate mainly because I did not want my public persona to affect business or work in any way. Honestly, I do not think it matters any more as my store is doing pretty well despite being a two months old business. Being an online store owner, the natural transition was to expand the business into a brick and mortar store however I knew it was not going to be easy to transit over smoothly.

As a young and green business owner, I do wish for guidance from more experienced business owners, hoping they could provide useful insight to my business.

Recently I was introduced to e2i through the SME Symposium 2017, an event held by NTUC that specifically targets SMEs to share insights and strategies with business leaders to address the economic challenges and uncertainties ahead..

e2i is an initiative of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) to help workers get better jobs and pay via Placement, Professional Development (aka Training) and Productivity.

Graphic: e2i as an enabler (Source: e2i)

For example, e2i offers hiring, training and productivity solutions to businesses to redesign jobs to be easier, smarter and safer, with businesses sharing productivity gains with staff in the form of higher wages.

Since 2008, e2i has also assisted more than 500,000 individuals with career guidance, professional development, and job matching services.

At the e2i breakout sessions for food and retail during the SME Symposium, some businesses shared how e2i actually helped them in their manpower and productivity issues.

Room full of people during the symposium.

Besides having a strong interest and passion in fashion, I am also keen to dabble into the F&B sector hence this session was very useful because I got to learn from big players in the industry like Pine Garden, Crystal Jade and Paradise Group.

Mr Benjamin Yang, Managing Director of Novitee Pte Ltd sharing session featuring Pine Garden, Crystal Jade and Paradise Group.

The retail breakout session at the SME symposium also covered some really amazing tips on how to successfully open and run a retail store, and gave examples of retail businesses which successfully worked with e2i to overcome their productivity, manpower crunch and staff retention challenges..

As a business owner, I find it very important that we look out for opportunities especially during this turbulent period where the economy isn’t looking positive.

Mr Andrew Tan, Owner of Atomi Pte Ltd sharing on the art and science of visual merchandising.

And of course, having picked up these useful tips, I thought it would be great to share with fellow business owners out there! So if you are a young and green business owner like I am, check out these tips:

  1. To deal with the changing market trends, every business should have an e-commerce store to handle a different point of sales.
Source: Johong e-commerce platform

Johong Hardware and Paints is a 25-year-old company which tapped on e2i’s Inclusive Growth Programme to invest in their own e-commerce platform http://www.diyhandyman.sg/.

The e-commerce platform helps Johong staff to keep up with customer habits and push out Johong’s products and services to customers who prefer to shop online.

2.Every business should own their own Inventory Management System as not having one can be very time consuming and error prone. And invest in systems which can link up seamlessly with each other.

Johong had more than 1,000 different items in stock, which was tiring for staff who had to manually count stock before placing any new orders. Management representatives had to make physical visits to the different stores to collect the daily earnings and sales reports.

With e2i’s Inclusive Growth Programme, Johong implemented a more efficient inventory management system to keep track of its inventory in all stores, saving six man-days per month on stocktaking alone.

Source: NTUC

The inventory management system could also be synchronised with Johong’s stores’ point-of-sales system (POS). So now Johong can track both inventory and live sales reports, saving at last two man-hours daily from store visits.

The best part (for customers) is that this system’s capabilities also include customer management via a store membership programme with discounts for members. With all these productivity gains, 8 Johong staff enjoyed wage increases of 10.6%.

3. For better efficiency in the store, seriously consider an integrated system like the ERP system

In the past, Yankee Candle struggled to sync data from 3 separate systems: POS/inventory, accounting/finance and membership form-filling system. The stock taking and sales tracking were also not synced in real time.

Source: NTUC

In 2014, the company tapped on e2i’s Inclusive Growth Programme to acquire an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system that integrates a point of sale system, the company’s inventory, human resource information, customer relationship management and accounts.

I am already thinking of getting the Inventory Management System and the ERP system for my online business to improve efficiency.

  1. To empower your staff with industry knowledge,you can sign up your staff for masterclasses and work with e2i on Place-and-Train schemes and Professional Development.

Mothercare Singapore, which has over 500 full-time employees, has been sending its staff for e2i retail masterclasses and is working closely with e2i to Place-and-Train skilled Sales Advisors.

Mothercare is also embarking on a company-wide Professional Development initiative with e2i which will empower several hundred staff in its Singapore and overseas businesses in areas such as communications and emotional intelligence.

Running a retail business is getting more challenging, so if you want a leg up to improve on your business’ productivity and empower your staff with the right skills to prepare your business for the future, you can turn to e2i for advice.