STYLECHATTER is BACK! Well, we hope you guys are excited for this comeback too as much as we do (hehe!) We know we’ve been Missing-In-Action for too long and some of you might think there’ll be no longer STYLECHATTER Series (Tettt, you’re wrong!) This time we are bringing you a special Edition of STYLECHATTER – Singapore Edition, where we interviewed inspiring ladies from the lion city!
For this first interview let us introduce to you readers, Dahlia Mohd the co-founder of En Pointe & Co, a Singapore based multi-labels boutique. We sat down with Dahlia for a chat during our recent visit to Singapore and talked about En Pointe & Co. and also her personal view on life!
- Tell us about yourself & who were you before En Pointe? I was in investment management doing capital raising for a hedge fund. I did a degree in Business Management double majoring in Finance and Law so it was a natural progression for me to go into Finance. I enjoyed the pace of the industry very much and it was a great experience to start out your career in such a vibrant industry. Singapore was a regional financial hub; the challenges and opportunities were immense.
- How did you make your jump into the business with En Pointe? I was introduced to the Malaysian fashion scene in 2011 when I moved to Kuala Lumpur after getting married. That’s when my love affair for Malaysian brands really started and I started sending pictures of clothes, accessories and shoes from these brands back to my Singapore friends just to get their feedback and they loved it. That’s when I knew that I had to bring these brands to Singapore. I started En Pointe & Co. with my partner Natasha Sulaiman. We saw a gap in the Singapore fashion retail market for affordable and unique designs and we felt Malaysian brands were a perfect fit. It was 2015 when we did a 10-day Pop Up at Baghdad Street, around the famed tourist hotspot, Arab Street and it was a huge success. We brought it brands that we loved like Fizi Woo, Nurita Harith, Tsyahmi and of course Mimpikita- and we were overwhelmed by the response! In February 2016, we opened our permanent store along North Bridge Road.
- Being in business is not easy, what are the obstacles you faced especially in the early days of En Pointe & how do you deal with it? We were lucky that we had amazing partnerships with the brands that we worked with and they really did help to promote En Pointe & Co. to their customers. Social media also helped to boost awareness and also communicate with our customers in a very inexpensive way. However, we were faced with Singapore’s high overhead costs and also fierce competition from online retailers. We held on to our belief that a physical store is an important part of En Pointe & Co. as we wanted to put a face and space to the brands. We wanted to walk a customer through the different brands, allow them to touch and feel before purchase and also get to know them better. We made a lot of loyal customers that way and they have in turn become our friends.
- Can you share with our readers how did we (you & Mimpikita) start to work closely. It was a serendipitous meeting when I had brought a friend from Singapore who was starting her own multi-label designer bridal boutique to meet Nurul that we hit it off. Nurul and Mira are very easy to work with and it also helped that they recognised that was En Pointe & Co. was doing was special. We also loved that there was a variety of collections that we could offer the Singaporean customer. There is a Mimpikita collection for everyone; be it bespoke, ready to wear, basics, etc. We really work hard for all of our brands to ensure that we represent them well.
- We all have our own “I’ve made it” moment, what’s been yours? That moment would be the feeling of satisfaction knowing I’ve done something good with En Pointe. Previously, when I was working with the finance sector, paying it forward just meant making donations to charities but with En Pointe, I could really help people. From budding designers to brands that need that extra push or support, I was able to give them the advice and platform to take them to the next level. And the satisfaction that comes with knowing you made a difference is definitely a “I’ve made it” moment for me.
- How do you manage being a mother of three & working at the same time? What do you do during your “Me Time”? It’s difficult when I had my first born. I wanted to be there for him all the time and hardly did anything for the first year. But when I found out I was pregnant with my second when I founded En Pointe & Co. I just went along with it. Coincidentally, my partner, Natasha, also became pregnant a couple of months after I did. It’s really a blessing that we had opened the shop and then both of us became pregnant at the same time. For “Me Time”, I put in regular hours at the gym because I believe “health is wealth”, I want to stay energetic for my three kids and my business. I also travel once a year with my Husband without the kids and also go out without them just so we can reconnect. It’s never easy to find a balance, I could tell you the number of cancelled social appointments or movie dates outnumber the ones I actually go for. I don’t really suffer from “mom guilt” because I believe you can’t pour from an empty cup. Only when you take care of yourself can you give to others.
- If you’re given a chance to share only one advise that you learned from life, what would it be? Try. Put that idea to paper, plan, gather your resources and try. It doesn’t have to be a big scale project. With social media, all you have to do is to market your products and services wisely, to get maximum impact. Also, offer quality- if you have to spend a bit more and reduce profit margins- so be it; don’t compromise selling something you won’t be proud of. Fail, then reboot and do it all over again.