Yvonne Tan makes her mark in the bridal industry with her sincerity and can-do spirit.
| PHOTO COURTESY OF YVONNE CREATIVE
Stepping into Yvonne Creative, one can instantly feel the sincerity and caring attitude of the staff. A one-stop bridal services provider, the company does everything from designing bridal gowns to attaching bouquets to the car.
The business has been going strong since it opened in 1993. Yvonne Tan, 47, was teaching a dressmaking course at a private school when several of her students asked her, “Teacher, since you are so good at sewing wedding gowns, why don’t you enter the business yourself?” They arranged for her to work at a few bridal boutiques, and eventually, she decided to strike out on her own.
“From a very small shop, I just sewed and sewed and learned on the job for about three to four years before we started to expand.” At that time, the bridal studio had started to do wedding photography as well. Today, the shop at 75 Tanjong Pagar Road takes up three floors of its four-story shophouse—the first floor for the gowns and fitting rooms, the second for its photography studio, and the third floor as a showcase for wedding albums.
Tan explains, “If you only do wedding gowns but not photography, it may pose some inconvenience for the customer and is more expensive. That’s why we decided to have everything done in-house. That gives me a sense of satisfaction: whatever the customer wants, I know I can provide it.”
The gowns are designed by Tan and sewed by her staff. They are then outsourced for the finishing touches. The client then tries on the gown, and alterations are done back at the boutique. At the beginning, the whole gown was made in-store, but now, with the volume of business, the extensive sewing and finishing is outsourced, Tan explains.
The store debuts a number of new designs regularly and participates actively in bridal shows and beauty pageants—contestants at pageants such as Miss Singapore World and Miss Earth, for example, wore Tan’s designs at the competitions. Supporting such pageants, especially those in aid of charitable causes, is Yvonne Creative’s way of doing its duty as a corporate citizen.
Customers rave about Tan’s can-do attitude. Whatever the request, be it an extra-long train, special make-up, or a different neckline, Tan’s mantra is that she will do what she can. Nowadays, she says, as tattoos are becoming more popular, more brides-to-be turn to her for ways to cover up or accentuate their body art. “We’ve been in this business for such a long time that we’ve seen almost every request, and we’ve learned to accomodate each one.”
All this is part of the job, Tan explains. “In this industry, people only get married once, so we cannot afford to take things lightly. We have to be sincere, and we must give them the best service.” Clients referred by satisfied customers form a large part of Tan’s client base. The staff remember past clients, much to their surprise. This brand of personalized service is a hallmark of Yvonne Creative.
Coming from an Indonesian family where her brothers are in the textile business, the young Tan would experiment by making outfits from whatever pieces of cloth available. “I loved to wear beautiful clothes, but couldn’t buy them, so I started to experiment and do it myself. After a while, I developed a great interest in dressmaking, so I came to Singapore to learn.”
Currently, the studio has become a family business—her husband helps with the photo-retouching and album design, while her 25-year-old daughter is managing the studio’s marketing and publicity efforts. Her staff are also like family, as each one is personally trained by her. Now, they handle most of the fitting and alteration work. Despite this, Tan is at the studio six days a week, resting only on Tuesdays.
Her greatest lesson learned? “The most important thing is sincerity,” she says. “Every customer is different, so I needed to learn how to relate to them, to help them have the happiest wedding possible. Everyone comes from a different background, has different tastes, and my greatest satisfaction is when I can serve them so they have a happy, relaxed wedding.”
75 Tanjong Pagar Road
Tel: +65 6327 8331