Malaysian Startup Creating Paint-By-Numbers Kits
Author’s Blurb: Adopting painting as a hobby can be rewarding if you are good at it. Because I wasn’t qualified for it, I found myself more frustrated with the lack of satisfaction with my paintings most of the time.
But this is not necessarily the case for everyone.
Unlike many skills, painting can actually be relatively more relaxing, leading people to acquire it as a hobby.
Summer Chong, the founder of MeTime Art Malaysia, shares a similar sentiment towards painting.
“Personally, I love to paint. I had happy times in painting when I was in elementary school. My mother inspired me a lot in painting.
“However, my painting talent slowly faded as I grew older and took care of my job,” Summer said.
She was then working as an HR Director in a hair products retail company for 7 years and led a hectic life.
Painting brought him healing and value.
One day, Summer and her cousin stumbled upon paint by number kits and their joy of painting was immediately rekindled.
At the time, she was also looking for start-up opportunities and after some research she decided to embark on this business with her cousin in 2018.
Stand out among its competitors
Since paint by numbers has not fully penetrated the Malaysian market, MeTime is not in direct competition with any international brands as it is currently focusing on the local market.
Summer shared 4 strategies MeTime uses to set itself apart from its competition:
- Offer individual acrylic paint replacement via 3 month warranty to solve the problem of the paint dried out. If the purchase exceeds 3 months, they provide color replacement at RM2 per pot.
- Come up with new paint designs every month.
- Make themselves more accessible than others via their after-sales support (which is by default since they are a local brand).
- Provide dual sets of colors in MeTime Art kits, which they believe is not practiced by other sellers.
That being said, the international market serves as the inspiration for their marketing strategies.
Apart from this, MeTime also started its design and production by outsourcing to foreign manufacturers.
Considering the abundance of ready-made models from overseas manufacturers, Summer thought it was more economical to work with a third-party producer in China.
However, Summer sees the importance of incorporating a local touch into their designs.
She is currently working with a local design house to produce in-house designs for MeTime featuring local arts.
Their company in figures
Their paintings are classified into:
- 40 cm x 50 cm, or 75 RM for a classic and 95 RM for a high-end painting;
- 20cm x 20cm, their bestseller to date, or 20 RM for a small painting;
- 60cm x 120cm, their largest paintings which range from RM180 to RM220.
On average, MeTime sells around 300 pieces of 40 × 50 paintings and 800 pieces of 20 × 20 paintings per month.
They have a minimum income of RM 30,000 per month, the profitability of which is moderate.
As they hit their second year in 2020, they have already sold over 19,000 pieces in July, 60% of which come from their small 8 ” x 8 ” kits.
Work smart and get around online
Their biggest challenge right now is time sensitivity with their inventory management.
Since acrylic paint has an inflexible shelf life, they need to be able to produce and sell their products within 3 months to ensure the paint is still fresh.
Over the course of 2 years, they were able to better assess their peak and low season seasons to adjust their stock accordingly.
MeTime started out as an offline business, with its headquarters located in Desa Kompleks Kepong.
They also team up with certain agents to sell their products in weekend bazaars and art markets in Publika and Arkadia Desa Park City.
“We provide the resources they need to set up a physical booth and we share the profits with them. We have an average of 2-3 kiosks every week at different locations, ”Summer said.
MeTime also had many opportunities to showcase its products in roadshows and workshops in city malls.
One of those opportunities includes an invitation from Maxis to showcase their products at their employee engagement event.
Currently, and particularly with the pandemic, MeTime is focused on expanding its online presence and development.
They are also looking to extend their products beyond the brush and canvas, such as arts and crafts or clay painting.
Ultimately, Summer’s dream is to incorporate paint by numbers into a cafe.
“It is a space that offers the public a warm, comfortable and undisturbed environment for their free time. Here everyone can enjoy their free time of paint by numbers or bonding time with friends and family. “
Conclusion: I guess someone proved me wrong on how painting as a hobby can still be rewarding despite your skills. On top of that, being able to hang your painting on the wall adds more satisfaction to the hobby. I guess the only thing I would have to face is probably ten other people hanging the same picture on their walls.
- You can read more about MeTime Art Malaysia here.
- You can read more about other Malaysian startups here.
Featured Image Credit: Summer Chong, Founder of MeTime Art Malaysia
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