by Seow Yun Rong
With over 50,000 blogshops in Singapore, the booming trend of online shopping have enticed ambitious youths to set up their own online businesses even while schooling.
Opening blogshops is an extremely popular trend in Singapore and is considered the preferred channel for young entrepreneurs to kick-start their business ventures, mainly because of the minimal cost to set up. A blogshop is a blog that sells products, which owners often order from suppliers.
Nowadays, youths also set up Instashops on Instagram, the popular online mobile photo and video sharing social networking application, for easy access to their customers.
Mr Marcus Tan, 31, co-founder of Carousell, a leading online mobile shopping and selling application, says, “Mobile phones and web has made it very accessible to find out about affordable logistics and shipping of products to sell. This has resulted in lots of online shops and e-commerce activities in Singapore.”
A survey on online and mobile shopping by e-payment firm PayPal showed that Singapore’s online commerce grew by 30 per cent, from S$1.1 billion in 2010 to S$1.4 billion in 2011. Another survey, the MasterCard Online Shopping Survey 2013, revealed that 65 per cent of the 500 respondents used Internet to shop in 2012, as compared to 57 per cent in 2011.
“Don’t procrastinate. Be it anything you do, it’s all about time management. You need to prioritise and be as efficient as possible. I’ve seen students who run online businesses do very well in their studies too.”
– Mr Liang Wee Kok
Jody Ang, 18, a second-year Early Childhood student, owns Cheebshop, an Instashop with over 1,500 followers. She earns about $1,200 to $1,500 per month, which is relatively high as only 20 per cent of online shops earn more than $1,000. Jody.reveals that she started the business of selling female apparel because it is very convenient.
“I don’t have to go down to work everyday but [I] still have income coming in,” she says.
The cost of acquiring a capital can amount to over $500. Marketing and gaining publicity for a new business also takes time to develop, depending on how popular the owner is and how well the products have been marketed. For a new online shop, this may mean no profit within the first two months after its launch.
A survey regarding online businesses amongst Ngee Ann Polytechnic students shows that 59 per cent of the 86 respondents agreed that setting up an online business would not affect a student’s grades. However, student blogshop owners beg to differ.
“Owning an online shop and schooling at the same time can get very tiring. Sometimes I sleep at around 2am just [to pack] my customers’ orders. However, I prioritise my work accordingly. I always make sure I finish my school work before I focus on Foxnbadger,” says Kou Shi Shan, a second-year Business and Social Enterprise student who owns Foxnbadger, an Instashop with over 7,800 followers.
Currently, Foxnbadger fetches her profits of about $1,200 to $1,500 with over 60 customers per month.
A freshman from Business Studies, Ellena Young, 18, earns around $600 per month from her blogshop, Shopmode.
“Once you’ve set up your schedule, stick to it and don’t delay doing anything, because then it’ll mess up the rest of your schedule,“ shares Ellena, as an advice to students who want to start up their own online business.
“Don’t procrastinate. Be it anything you do, it’s all about time management. You need to prioritise and be as efficient as possible. I’ve seen students who run online businesses do very well in their studies too,” says Mr Liang Wee Kok, 39, a lecturer from the School of Business & Accountancy, who teaches the module Starting a Business.
Despite the pressure of balancing time management, Shi Shan and Ellena admits that they still enjoy the process of having online businesses, as their passion and interest in the fashion business industry has made the hardships worthwhile.