How a Singaporean Woman Built a $1.8 Million Apparel Brand by 24
Singaporean Mandy Chan became her own boss to have full autonomy over her life at age 19. Today, the 24-year-old entrepreneur behind a lifestyle brand is valued at around $2.5 million Singaporean dollars ($1.8 million).
Breaking the mold: A few years ago, Chan used her gap year to fulfill a longtime dream of running a business instead of pursuing a university degree, according to Zula.
In a recent interview with Cleo, Chan said she found inspiration for Bow from her own needs as a consumer.
“We work, go to the gym, hang out with our friends — we have all these activities in a day and I wanted a bag to cater to this lifestyle,” she said.
Chan’s decision to briefly set school aside to pursue her dream resulted in her parents cutting off her finances, so she worked multiple part-time jobs to save money for her business idea.
Having experienced the corporate work environment reinforced Chan’s determination to continue despite some setbacks early on.
“There were a few key partners involved at the start — all with different resources to help. And then a partner left over a disagreement, which really broke me,” she narrated.
Aiming her bow: Despite uncertainties, Chan worked with her co-founder, CK, to craft the earliest version of a durable backpack that would be able to carry multiple items such as shoes, toiletries and clothes.
After crafting an early prototype for her planned backpack, she sought feedback from strangers in the Central Business District but received a lot of negative reactions.
Not discouraged by the feedback, Chan used her savings of around S$5,000 ($3,650) and searched for suitable manufacturers across China.
While many manufacturers did not take her seriously in the beginning, Chan was able to eventually find a manufacturer that would produce five versions of the backpack.
In 2017, she raised almost S$60,000 (more than $43,000) in 30 days on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter for her product Quiver under the Bow brand.
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