Yap Leng Kuen talks to May Wong of C&W Classic Jewellery about reviving sales with new designs.
Having sustained her business for 18 years, C&W Classic Jewellery founder May Wong was confronted with a sudden drop in sales when the second Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) was announced last October.
She quickly moved in new designs, put up special offers and refreshed the arrangements of fashion jewellery at her shop in a mall in Ampang.
The new designs are of good quality, and fetch slightly higher prices.
“I have been in this line for so long; I can see what are the fashions and designs that will appeal especially to the younger customers.
“Customers also want a wide range to choose from, and products must be affordably priced,’’ said May, who also sees that they come to the shop after seeing her promotions on Facebook.
She keeps in touch with her regular customers through Facebook and her Whatsapp chat groups; banking on this loyal customer base, she believes in trying as far as possible, to ‘make customers happy.’
She is now waiting for her new line of make-up items; the current range of nail polish is selling well.
Over the last two months, sales had improved back to pre-October levels but she is now on her toes all the time.
“Things are so challenging nowadays. The moment I wake up, I am already thinking of how to keep changing and strategising my business so that I can last through this period,’’ said May.
She is targeting good sales for the coming Chinese New Year; as Valentine’s Day falls on the third day of CNY, many customers will also be buying gifts in advance.
She wants to make her staff happy, as ‘people will work when they are happy;’
Her three staff, two full-time and one part-time, get commissions while they also have to meet sales targets.
Her two full-time staff have been with her for ten and six years respectively.
All along, May’s method of building her business is through small steps; starting with hardly any capital, she re-invested whatever profits she had into new supplies.
“I slowly built up the business on my own, learning by myself,’’ she said. “During the very hard times, there was only rice and soya sauce for meals.’’
Going to China for supplies, she recalls carrying bags of fashion jewellery by herself, initially staying in rented rooms.
But she survived as rental was cheap, and the economy was doing well.
From two kiosks, she soon expanded to three; initially selling beaded items that she threaded herself, she went into silver fashion jewellery 16 years ago as it was getting popular among customers.
She slowly built up her loyal customer base, offering customized services such as inscribing of special words on rings, and also repair.
Then, she went into gold fashion jewellery ten years ago, as she realized that a lot of people could not afford to buy real gold.
She had bravely put up RM10,000 worth of gold fashion jewellery for sale during the Hari Raya, and that worked; business went up after that.
Building up CW Classic Jewellery has been a life experience for May who will pass on the lessons learnt to the young generation.
“They must learn how to be independent, know the value of money and invest in quality,’’ said May.
She still bears some of the marks of her hard life as her eyesight has been affected by constantly looking into small accessories.
“But we must know the fashions; we cannot just buy what we see,’’ she said, as she takes challenges in her stride.
By Yap Leng Kuen, Chief Storyteller, The Artisans Haven.
The Artisans Haven
The Artisans Haven, is a digital mall and virtual real estate with attractions including an art gallery, convention centre, theatre, happyness retreat, campus, adventure park and more.
Yap Leng Kuen had a respected career as a senior business editor and widely read columnist speaking plainly, for the leading local newspaper. She continues to write Plain Speaking for The Star Online.
I am delighted to share her view points and insights, here.