TURNING one’s hobby into a business so that one enjoys one’s work is easier said than done.
For Kristy Wong, it was out of sheer hardwork, perseverance and determination she started her accessory (costume jewellery) business in 2012.
She along with her husband, both 31, set up their stall at the pasar malam (night market) five days a week.
They have their regular jobs during the day and they operated their night market business between 6pm and 10.30pm Monday to Friday.
“We had been doing the night market business for more than a year,” said Wong who also has an anonymous business partner.
They took their business up to the next level when they opened their first outlet — Kristy’s Collection — at De Garden in Ipoh city on Jan 1, 2013.
Looking back, Wong said some of their customers from the night market had advised them to set up their own outlet so that customers could shop comfortably.
“Some of our previous customers shop at our outlet now,” she said.
Wong said customers needed time to browse and try out the accessories, and the night market environment might not be that conducive.
Last month, they set up their second outlet on Lorong Panglima in Ipoh Old Town.
Wong told MetroBiz in an interview on Monday that their business partner was good at sourcing for the accessories.
“She also loves accessories and she is a frequent traveller overseas where she can source for trendy accessories,” said Wong, adding that their collection included items from Korea and Taiwan.
Wong, who is good at coming up with her own creations, said she learned the art from magazines and websites.
Like the four seasons, she said the trend for accessories also changed for those who follow the trend.
Wong, who is stationed at the Lorong Panglima outlet six days a week, said it closed on Tuesday.
The De Gardens outlet is manned by a staff member.
Wong said about 30% of her customers were tourists.
She said many tourists were attracted to Ipoh by its good food and that Ipoh Old Town had huge potential for tourism development.
For instance, Lorong Panglima is surrounded by famed coffeeshops like Tean Chun and Kong Heng which were several decades old and also modern cafes.
Some of the patrons, she added, would walk around the place to buy local delicacies after their breakfast or lunch.
“For Kristy’s Collection, many people are attracted to our collections because they like the design and the prices are much cheaper compared to Kuala Lumpur and Johor Baru for instance,” she said.
Citing examples, she said a charm bracelet from Kristy’s Collection retailed at RM12 and a similar bracelet could be priced up to RM24 at outlets in Kuala Lumpur.
She attributed the big difference in pricing to the high cost of doing business in the capital city.
In fact, Wong said the pricing for most of the items in her outlet was between RM8 and RM20.
“We want to make accessories as affordable as possible for our customers,” she said, adding that this would be a good way to make accessories more accessible for people.
Wong said she also repairs accessories from her outlet for a fee of up to RM10.
Some customers want to wear their accessories for a long time and she sees the repair service as an added value for her customers.
She said she also repaired accessories that were not from her outlet.
On the profile of her customers, she said many from De Garden were teenagers while those at the Lorong Panglima outlet were in their 30s and 40s.
On the choice of customers, Wong said every piece of accessory has its own beauty and every customer has their own taste, adding that the beauty of accessories would be further enhanced by the way their owners match them with their attire.
Kristy’s Collection also sells clothes on consignment from designers.