millennial entrepreneurs
From left to right: Lynn Lee, Chong Yahui, Poh Yeng Harn, Nicole Chow, Soo Min, Gene Leck, all of them helped Nicole in the creation of ShopConcept.Co
Photo: Nicole Chow

Meet the team of ShopConcept.Co, consisting of six Film and Media Studies students from Ngee Ann Polytechnic, led by founder Nicole Chow, 19. “I wanted to provide them with a platform to apply what we learnt in Mass Communication.” Nicole said. ShopConcept.Co is Nicole’s online store that sells clothes targeted at female youths. The six of them had worked together on group projects in the past and had good chemistry.

Despite ShopConcept.Co retailing only fashion, the group had ideas to expand and sell other crafts instead. Nicole believes that because of the complementary skills of her team, they take “a more collaborative approach and help each other out where possible”. The founder, focuses her time on financial management, purchasing of stocks and packaging of orders. Lynn and Yahui head the more creative side as photographer and designer respectively.

“I believe that a strong friendship can be a good foundation for your business to excel.” Nicole said. She believes that instead of letting friendship get in the way of work, they should make use of their camaraderie to improve their standard of work instead. To Nicole, proper time management is imperative to juggling her commitments, even though she compromises by having less time spent by herself.

Nicole has received wholehearted support from her peers for her business venture. Her first sale was by a good friend, who purchased five items in a show of support and encouragement for the launch of ShopConcept.Co.

“I feel that as an entrepreneur, it is very important to be innovative and come up with ideas that are out of the box and different in order to stand out.” Nicole said, reflecting on how far she has come since ShopConcept.Co’s first launch in October 2018.

millennial entrepreneur
Nicole Chow, 19, founder of ShopConcept.Co juggles both a diploma in Mass Communication and her business
Photo: Nicole Chow

Nicole and her team are part of an increasing trend of Singaporean millennials who are taking the first step towards fulfilling their entrepreneurial goals. An online survey conducted by GoDaddy in 2016 showed that out of the 500 Singaporeans surveyed, 41 per cent had plans to launch a business of their own in the next decade. And within the 41 per cent, 74 per cent are millennials aged 15-30, majority of whom will be balancing both their work/education as well as their business.

The survey also showed that Singapore ranks highest in the percentage of millennials who start their business while in school with 32 per cent, compared to the global average of 24 per cent.

For Ms Koh Wan Yi, 26, being able to design her own products gave her an opportunity to explore her own creative style outside of her day job as a graphic designer. She founded an online store Helumi with her colleague Ms Yoong Jia Jun selling planners and holiday cards designed by Ms Koh.

Ms Koh elaborated on millennial-owned businesses. “I think (millennials) are more ready to chase their passions now as compared …to our parents’ generation. They were fixed on surviving (financially), but now, we have more stability, and we can allow ourselves to do this.” She said.

millennial entrepreneurs
Ms Yoong (left) and Ms Koh (right),who do e-commerce and graphic design in their day jobs, made use of their complementary skills in the marketing and designing of Helumi’s products
Photo: Helumi

The survey results showed that millennials are six times more likely to pursue entrepreneurship while studying, compared to baby boomers

planners, birthday and christmas cards
Helumi’s Fresh Mint 2019 Planner, Undated Planner, Birthday and Christmas Cards.
Photo: Ariel Chua

Yoong Jia Jun, 27, co-founder of Helumi, attributed the growth of millennial entrepreneurs to “millennials (wanting) to take charge of their lives…for me, I want to chase my passion and not (get stuck) working for other people… when you’ve done something that doesn’t belong to you, it doesn’t feel that satisfying. It’s not an accomplishment”.

designed planner
In photo: Navy 2019 Planner, Fresh Mint 2019 Planner and undated planner, all part of the first official products designed by Helumi.
handmade earrings
Handmade earrings
Top to bottom: EezyCraftzy’s Sailor Girls Collection and Unconventional Basics Collection, all handmade with resins by Ms Tan
Photo: EezyCraftzy

Many of these millennial bosses also have social media to thank for their businesses to take flight. The same GoDaddy survey found that 58% of entrepreneurs depend heavily on social media apps because it is not only the cheapest way to reach their target audience, which are youths, but also because it is effective and fast.

“I think (social media) helps to gain traction and (increase) exposure,” said Ms Estie Tan, 24, owner of EezyCraftzy, an Instagram shop where she makes and sells jewelry. Ms Tan’s interest in creating was cultivated at a tender age, which led her to starting her shop.

eezycraftzy founder
Ms Tan, 24, founder of EezyCraftzy at the Shilin Night Market. She has her crafts at places such as Public Garden and Urban Market Singapore
Photo: EezyCraftzy

“There could also be platforms such as events and festivals for crafters that allows us to share our items …initiated by the government so that it’s made to help us.” Ms Tan said, hoping that the government would give the crafts and creative side more spotlight and subsidies for events.