Seven Shi’s young business seeks to color lives through fashion.
Contributed By Yeo Zhi Qi
A wide array of colors greets customers as they step into Sun Vale Avenue, the month-old apparel shop set up by Seven Shi located at Far East Plaza. Currently a student in the School Of Theology, Shi was inspired to set up the shop three months into the course.
Carrying apparel imported from Indonesia and comprising mostly tie-dye wear, including sundresses, jumpers and casual tops, the brand was conceptualized by Shi when she realized that most Singaporeans stick to “safe colors” such as black and grey, instead of venturing into donning other hues. She hopes to debunk the stereotype that colorful clothing is only suitable for loud personalities or the younger crowd.
With an affordable price range of S$20 to S$35, the clothes attract customers aged 18 to 35. Setting up her first shop was no easy feat for Shi. Being new to the retail industry, she recalls being warned about the pitfalls of starting up a shop—such as high rental rates, stiff competition and the risks involved for a first-time entrepreneur. After some research, she decided to go ahead with her plans, differentiating her shop from the other apparel outlets in the vicinity with her unique tie-dye pieces.
Recounting days when sales were poor, the 26-year-old shop owner says, “There are times when there can be no sales for the entire day, especially if the weather is rainy and not a single person walks in. These are times when I remind myself that I had stepped out in faith to set up the shop, and my sister and I stay positive by encouraging each other.”
She is also thankful for her experience at SOT which helped her to build a strong foundation of faith. Testifying to the transformation she has seen within herself, Shi shares, “Two days before I was supposed to fly to Bali to check the stocks, I realized that my passport had expired. When I went down to the immigration checkpoint at 4:45 p.m., the place was already closing up for the day. In the past, I would simply give up but I think differently now. I thought to myself, ‘When there’s no way, God will make a way.’” God indeed came through for the zealous shop owner as the immigration checkpoint issued her a new passport on the spot, enabling her to catch her flight.
Besides juggling her SOT commitments and the demands of tending to a business, Shi is also a music teacher and a financial planner, careers she took on before setting up the shop. To handle the demands of a hectic life, the young believer who also serves in the hospitality ministry at City Harvest Church confesses that she has no secret formula but to simply seek God, “I’ve come to learn that I just have to follow His voice and even if I cannot do many things, I know that I can seek God.”
From someone who has grown from struggling with alcoholism to being a boss of her own retail store today, there is much to celebrate for Shi. Currently a member of the church’s Business Breakthrough Group, Shi shares that when she first came to church, she was broken and hungered for the Word so much that when the weekly bible study lessons were occasionally postponed, she would be upset.
|PHOTOS COURTESY OF SUN VALE AVENUE|
Hearing from her fellow BBG mates that she would be able to receive daily Bible study sessions in SOT, the young believer eagerly went ahead to sign up for the course. Reflecting on her Bible school experience as it comes to a close, she says, “God humbled me during these six months of SOT. He broke my pride and ego and I learned that when you’re broken enough, what will break God’s heart will break your heart.”
Setting up and managing her own business is nothing short of a milestone for Shi, who runs the shop together with her 21-year-old sister Sky. Frequently, both sisters stay back till past midnight in order to work on the visual merchandising aspect of the shop, such as arranging display items and fine-tuning the image and branding of the shop. Despite the trials, the sisters hold strong to their mission of using the shop as a platform to brighten the wardrobe of their customers.
Beyond the sale of clothes, the sisters also ran a campaign titled “Let’s Smile, It’s Friday” at the shop where they bought 150 flower stalks and gave them away to female passers-by, bringing unexpected cheer to an otherwise routine Friday.
Indeed, Shi’s positivity and optimism are not just beliefs but principles put into practice in the running of her colorful business.
Sun Vale Avenue
14 Scotts Road,
Far East Plaza #03-97A
Tel: +65 9853 5664 / +65 6235 3739