5 S’poreans Who Started Their Own Bizs After Losing Their Incomes

This year, the Covid-19 pandemic has taken its toll on the lives of individuals and the global economy.

In the first half of 2020, a total of 11,350 people were made redundant in Singapore. From Singapore Airlines to GoBear, big companies and even startups have laid off staff.

However, the crisis has also presented opportunities. Between January and September, more than 40,000 new businesses were registered.

Thus, despite the economic perils, Singaporeans have found various opportunities and capitalized on the new trends brought by Covid-19.

For example, many home-based businesses have sprung up all over the island and some have even turned their modest businesses into physical stores.

Here are 5 Singaporeans who have been successful in starting their own businesses despite being laid off from their previous jobs or losing their steady income.

1. Founder of Muse & Motif

Muse and motif Joscelin Kwek
Image Credit: PR Week

Last January, the company Joscelin Kwek, 38, worked for was dissolved, leaving herself and seven other team members jobless.

The setback prompted Joscelin to start her own communications agency, Muse & Motif, a month later, and she hired the former members of her team.

The dissolution of the company was a setback, but also an opportunity. I found the conviction to try something that I had never had the courage to attempt before, which is to start a business.

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

Despite having no experience in running a business, Joscelin decided to take the leap. However, she has years of experience in the communications industry.

In August of this year, the company is profitable with a seven-figure turnover.

2. Founder of 1degreeC

1degreeC coffee
Bee Yan and Richard / Image credit: @shazbyshaz

In 2016, Richard Koh, 58, worked for Hewlett-Packard as Regional Sales Director.

However, as the company was undergoing restructuring, he would soon be fired from his 10-year position.

“I was in a bad state (after losing my job), but my wife kept telling me ‘Let go and go do something!’ So my wife was the force behind me to get into this field, ”he told Vulcan Post in a separate interview.

That’s when the idea of ​​starting his own business hit him and, along with his wife Ong Bee Yan, the duo launched a 1 ° C cold brew coffee start-up.

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

“We love to drink coffee, so we go to kopitiams to drink, but also to cafes. But what’s unusual about the cafe scene here is that they’re always young, so we’re the only old people who are still around, ”said Richard.

Their kids (both in their 30s) were also very encouraging of their cafe adventures, frequently recommending new places to try.

1degreeC coffee
Image Credit: 1degreeC via Facebook

Their big break occurred in 2017 at the Singapore Coffee Festival, which earned them great recognition from coffee lovers.

They now run the business in a kitchen in MacPherson where Bee Yan takes care of all the brewing, while Richard takes care of the deliveries.

Sales have also grown over the years, and the business is also stable enough that the couple broaden their views from coffee to collaborations and charity work.

3. Founder of Cannolicious

Image Credit: Cannolicious

Cannolicious is a home-based business that offers a DIY kit for customers to make their own cannolis.

The founder is Adele Chia, 46, who moved to Vietnam in 2019 to take on a CEO role of an education company there.

In May, she suddenly lost her job when the owners of the business decided to sell the business, she said in an interview with TodayOnline.

She then decided to have a go at making cannoli, and with her husband Edmund Ng, 45, she started Cannolicious.

Each box contains ingredients to make 12 cannoli and costs S $ 55, with a delivery charge of S $ 10.

According to the Cannolicious website, the cannoli DIY kit was created to “ensure that customers can enjoy cannoli like [we] made in Italy.

4. Founder of Auto Xthetics

Auto Xthetics
Image Credit: Auto Xthetics

Those in the aviation industry were hit hard by the pandemic, and Kenny Tay, a 39-year-old pilot, was one of them.

According to a Straits Times report, Kenny quit his job at SilkAir in January to join a budget airline. However, a week before her induction, she was told she could be delayed for a year due to the pandemic.

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

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

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

5. Founders of Durian Lobang King

durian lobang king
Image Credit: Durian Lobang King

Even though Marcus Png, 31, and Q Lim, 32, were not made redundant, owners of an events company have started to see their businesses suffer since January of this year.

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

“Since we have had contact with a durian plantation in Malaysia at previous events we have held, we decided that we wanted to provide durians to consumers that lived up to their expectations,” Marcus said 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 durians.

In addition to selling fresh durian, they also developed into pastries, such as durian moon cakes during the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Always be on the lookout for new starts

Losing your income is never easy.

This year, many Singaporeans faced the sad situation of being made redundant or losing a significant portion of their income.

However, many have also decided to start their own businesses or have spent time improving their skills.

Additionally, Singapore has long been heralded as a great place to start a business, with a myriad of programs and grants to help new business owners.

So, starting a business, even if it’s a home business, could be the first step towards getting a new stream of income.

Featured Image Credit: PR Week / @shazbyshaz / Durian Lobang King / Auto Xthetics / Cannolicious

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

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Jothi Venkat

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