Sandy Low talks about the resilience of a man’s fashion world and how it helps tide her through the cutthroat world of retail.
|CN PHOTO: Desmond Tan|
The 2008 economic recession was like a wildfire that left only the hardiest businesses standing. In that turning point, 28-year-old Sandy Low’s slow and steady business model of marketing to men’s streetwear helped her hold fast. “People always ask me why I chose to go into menswear instead of women’s fashion. Ladies’ fashion follows trends closely, and once the trend is over the stock will be stuck. But menswear is more stable.”
Started in April 2007, SanStreet, Low’s streetwear shop specializes in unique, limited edition men’s streetwear pieces to youths. Targeting males 15 to 35, the shop carries affordable streetwear brands such as Extreme, Action Ladfigure and Zero Hour in Singapore. The shop also houses its own streetwear line, Sanz Moda and its line of handmade shoes which allows custom-made sizes for smaller-footed customers. Low says she sources her designers for the brand from all over Asia.
Low says of the concept of her shop, “I believe each individual is different. I hope to bring out the uniqueness of each individual by offering a variety of designs, some bolder for louder personalities, some more conservative.” The shop offers a full range of menswear from caps to T-shirts, jeans and footwear.
Her desire to be her own boss began when she took a retail management course in polytechnic, before she went on to study web marketing in university. Backed by supportive parents, Low went on to start her own shop at age 25.
Though financially, things were not as difficult as what many others might have faced, the soft-spoken entrepreneur describes the challenges she had to push through to start the shop. Competition was fierce, and she faced the difficulty of differentiating her shop in a cutthroat fashion environment, especially having had no background in fashion.
Low also admits she used to be a very timid and quiet person. “Starting a shop was really a big step for me,” she says. She strategizes, manages accounts and her staff all by herself. There were challenges in learning to oversee staff at her young age, and there would be times staff would not show up for work. Then there is the challenge of rental costs of her shops in Far East Plaza and Iluma, both in prime shopping locations.
But in spite of this, Low maintains her faith and a desire to be a positive influence in the marketplace. A graduate of the School Of Theology, she feels that it is the teaching of the Cultural Mandate that keeps her going. “I believe in developing good relationships with my customers, whether they intend to buy or not.” She talks about how she tries to befriend and relate to her customers as much as she can. As a result, she takes a very personal approach in marketing her products, often ending up personally text messaging her customers as they regularly ask her about new products.
Business-wise, she has plans to expand to nearby markets in the next five years in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, and before that, to at least expand to two more storefronts in Singapore.
Her next big step for her shop is the Internet, where she intends to put her web marketing training to good use and start up a platform where shoppers can get her merchandise online.
14 Scotts Road
#04-26, Far East Plaza
Tel: +65 6734 2610