Discover SIM GE

Buy Something Naiise On This E-Commerce Site

Business owner Dennis with his” kueh” sticker notepad and other funky products at his office warehouse
Business owner Dennis with his” kueh” sticker notepad and other funky products at his office warehouse

BUY “nice” stuff to make your life happier, says Dennis Tay, founder of Naiise.com (pronounced ‘nice’), an online design marketplace.

Grizzly bear bean bags, oil barrel coffee table, kopitiam cup planters, wisely-worded tumblers, rewritable chalkboard world maps, bamboo ladders, locally-themed “Everybody Huat” T-shirts, and Horlick-coated cashew nuts are just a few of the “nice” products packed into Dennis’ 1,100 sq ft warehouse-office at Oxley Bizhub along Ubi Road.

With over 350 brands on Naiise, the company focuses on selling original design products from both emerging and established designers. Naiise has also become a platform for many new emerging designers to launch from, and Naiise represents a wide variety of products from many small, independent makers from Singapore.

Banging on a wall

Dennis, 30, who graduated from SIM-RMIT University with a Bachelor in Business, majoring in Entrepreneurship in 2013, says he’s been running Naiise for two years now, with almost a dozen staff across departments of marketing, operations, buying and customer service.

On the need to study and gain knowledge to supplement his business practice, Dennis explains: “If you run a business without knowledge, it’s like banging your head on a wall. The knowledge I gained in my studies helps me to run my business more efficiently.”

Today, Naiise operates by buying new “cool” products, marketing them to consumers, fulfilling online orders, and making sure the stuff reach customers with satisfaction.

Artisanal food spread

One of the largest assortments and best-sellers in the Naiise inventory is the unusual food spreads and flavours. Sourced from local and regional “artisanal” makers, these food items have been hand-crafted by folks who are passionate about what they make. You can find an assortment of food items to suit your fancy, such as mango and lime jam, hazelnut honey, sea salt almond butter, mangosteen jam, macadamia nut butter and Sambal Tumis – a mix of hot, sweet and sour flavours that can transform anything, even hardboiled eggs into a delicious treat. Breakfast will no longer be the same when you replace your plain ol’ margarine and strawberry jam with these “designer” spreads!

Although many of the merchandise are unconventional, the business has been profitable. “Our business is completely boot-strapped, with no external funding. So we keep expenses to the minimum, and staff are paid on profit-sharing basis.”

Marketing for Naiise is through social media, and the growth of their social media following has been all organic, with no paid advertisements or commercials. To date, Naiise has over 9,000 followers on Instagram, and over 13,000 followers on Facebook.

Bringing a smile

While many items listed on Naiise may not be essential in your survival, Dennis stresses that they can certainly improve your quality of living by adding spice and colour to your everyday routine. More important, Dennis wants good design to be centric to products that people buy. “We want to educate people to be more stress-free, to incorporate a design-centric outlook in their life. The things they indulge in, whether food or decorative items, should be designed to bring a smile to everyone who sees them.”

It is therefore no surprise to learn that Dennis’s favourite movie is In the Mood for Love, by Wong Kar Wai. “I love how it is very visually arresting, particularly those stunning cheongsams that Maggie Cheung wears. The movie has taught me to make sure things always look naiise on Naiise.” His free time though is spent with his dogs and with his girlfriend.

And his parting words for school leavers who are considering what degree programmes to enroll: “If you truly believe in something and are passionate about it, you should go for it. Or at the very least, try it for awhile. You never know, something good might come from it. It might not always be easy, but it can definitely be good to do something you love everyday compared with something you do not enjoy.

Above all, work hard, play hard and never stop learning.”

Naiise staff are all fresh grads from university or poly, who like the informal work atmosphere
Naiise staff are all fresh grads from university or poly, who like the informal work atmosphere

 

- Posted online, 16 March 2015