Matthew Chee of events company OP3 International shares how being faithful can bless people in the marketplace. He urges others to remain strong in the face of challenges.
|CN PHOTO: Michael Chan|
What helps a man rise from being just an employee to a partner in his company? According to Matthew Chee, it is simply faithfulness.
Chee, 43, started out in OP3 International as just an employee, then made his way to the top. He shared that his quick rise in position was through “hard work, willingness to learn and through being faithful.”
OP3 International began in 1997 with two founding partners who created the company to help companies with interior design, exhibitions and events displays and point of purchase displays. In 2007, the partnership dissolved and one of the partners left. But Chee stayed on, and after a quick revamp, the company began again with him rising in position from employee to partner in two years.
The company also managed to grow from just the two partners to 33 staff and 10 designers. In fact, the company is now quite prominent, and while you might think you’ve never heard of it, you’ve seen their handiwork everywhere.
The company started out with Sony as a client and has now expanded to a large range of clients such as EpiCentre, Best Denki, Karen Millen, Fish & Co and many other well-known companies. “We have many long-time clients that come back repeatedly,” Chee said. OP3 International helps design and build offices, event spaces and even those displays you see in Best Denki that hold the electronic goods you’re thinking of buying. The goal of which is to help “enhance products.”
“P” STANDS FOR PEOPLE
OP3 International had a turnover of less than S$10 million in their first year but now have increased their turnover by 50 percent, up to S$15 million. Their success probably comes from their great service and willingness to put people first in their business. In fact, the “P” in the company’s name stands for people. And that attribute of the company is seen in Chee, who shared about how they go about helping a new client.
“When we look at a new company we have to think of consumer behavior, namely the five senses of the people. ‘How would you feel?’ is one of the most important questions,” he said earnestly. His role in the company is to open new accounts and new markets for the company, helping them to reach out to new clients.
“When we are pitching to a new client we have to know the industry, know our clients and fit the bill.” Through careful planning and a bit of psychology OP3 comes up with the most appealing designs for both consumers and clients. “We fulfill their needs by understanding them.”
Take Best Denki at Parkway Parade for example. When you come down the escalator you’re faced with two electronic stores, one is dimmer with huge grey televisions crowding its front entrance, the other is bright, clean and with a straight path leading into the store. Most people would view the brighter and cleaner store as more pleasing and choose that store. That store is Best Denki. The layout was designed, revamped and re-built from scratch by OP3 International.
“We analyzed the traffic flow and placed merchandise such as televisions to the back of the shop so customers will be encouraged to walk through the entire store to get to the end. Also by placing more lights, Best Denki looks more welcoming and new,” Chee explained.
RISING FROM BROKENNESS
Chee clearly has a passion for his work. “I was pretty intrigued by the events industry when I was younger.” And now he’s a partner in an events-based company. But it didn’t start out all peachy-keen for the A-Level graduate.
In 2002, Chee was in financial difficulty, he had marital problems, and was separated from his wife. “I was a broken man,” he said. But through his friends Nicholas Goh and Lillian Cher who had reached out to him and brought him to City Harvest Church, his life was turned around.
His marriage was restored and they now have a three-year-old daughter. He also moved from a three-room flat to a private property, and both he and his wife are cell group leaders in CHC. “God can turn your life around.” he said, “It was also through friends and strong leadership, the support of Pastor Derek, Pastor Kong and Sun that helped me.”
It is evident from the way he handles his clients and job that Chee has brought part of the church’s mission statement into his job with him putting people’s needs first. His dedication and faithfulness to the church has also overflowed into the marketplace.
Despite the two founding partners splitting up, he chose to remain faithful to the company he was in and stayed on to help achieve greater things for the company.
Chee shared that in spite of certain circumstances, one has to remain faithful because a reward is waiting at the end. “You might face problems and a dilemma but stay put,” he said, “God will handle it. He will turn your life around.”
He is a living testament to that statement, coming from almost nothing to a partner in a company with an annual turnover of S$15 million. More than this, OP3 International, which had humble beginnings in Singapore, is now a presence in the international market; in Dubai, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, and China.
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