For Nurin Natisha Putri Nor Muliady, the Covid-19 Circuit Breaker has not necessarily been all bad for her family.
“The good that came out of this was that our home-based F&B business, which specialises in Halal Japanese beef bowls, saw an increase in orders as it was one of the go-to when it comes to meals during the Circuit Breaker period,” said Nurin, second-year Mass Communication student in Republic Polytechnic (RP).
The family’s Instagram business account @mangkok.kami has also grown exponentially and now boasts more than 10.5k followers.
The bad, however, was having to source for alternative ingredients and supplies, as a lot of ingredients and supplies could not be shipped to Singapore because of the Circuit Breaker. “But we are grateful that our suppliers were able to provide good alternatives to help us continue with our business,” added Nurin.
In order to get customers coming back again and again, @mangkok.kami offered discounts and complimentary bowls especially for regular customers.
“We have also reached out to friends with substantial followers, to try our food and give their feedback and reviews on their social media pages. We do rely heavily on reviews by friends, regular customers and even new ones who would give great reviews on our beef bowls,” Nurin added.
Vicky Lui Hai Qing, a Mass Communication final-year student in RP, has been selling accessories such as necklaces and earrings on Instagram (@cherishxco) since 2019.
While business was brisk before Covid-19, it literally came to a standstill during Circuit Breaker period. Vicky shared: “I had a customer who told me that she was interested in one of my products, but she couldn’t make the payment now because she was saving up.”
Not one to be demoralised, Vicky continued to come up with new designs regularly. She also made sure to sell her products at a price that is on par or lower than market rate.
“I am also hoping to produce a short video to introduce my new collection of accessories after the Circuit Breaker! I might also head out to take photos instead of staying home, since my Instagram followers always like to see something new instead of just flat-lay photos of the products,” Vicky said.
The situation is similar for Leah D’ Cruz and Mardhiah Bte Maslan, two second-year MassCommunication students in RP, and founders of @esmes.earrings, which was launched in January. During the Circuit Breaker, they only had one order for earrings.
Despite the rather hapless situation, Leah and Mardhiah remained hopeful and instead, chose to work with the products they had already made before the Circuit Breaker, in order to sustain the interests of current customers and attract new ones.
Mardhiah explained: “There were challenges such as the delay in shipping and delivery of our goods which have affected our business as well, but we overcame that by releasing new earring designs that were made just before the Circuit Breaker started.”
Leah is also thankful for the friends that she has made through the business. “We helped to give each other ‘shoutouts’ in order to help one another retain our businesses,” she explained.
When asked about their post-Circuit Breaker business plans, Leah shared: “We plan to go into resin designs and even venture into making earrings from recycled items. It’s a great way to save used items as well as our planet from even more unnecessary pollution,” she added.
The duo are also planning to reduce or waive shipping costs.