By day, she is the Head of Creative at one of the most popular clubs in Singapore. By night, she is a multi-tasking entrepreneur managing everything from social media, website development to art directing for her lingerie label. Launched in 2015, the collections are entirely designed by her and each piece hand made in Singapore. In this interview, we find out what drives Sihui, her plans for the future and how she juggles it all!
Sihui Heng, 25, Founder of Naked and Unbound
Tell us about your business, how long you’ve been doing it, and who your customers are?
Naked and Unbound is a local online lingerie business that believes in it’s what lies beneath that matters. We produce quality intimates that are crafted to perfection and designed with a notion of comfortable, sensual yet affordable. The official launch was in last fall and we have been around for almost a year (10 months). Our main bulk of customers is mostly local young adults aged 18 -29.
Did you know that you always wanted to be an entrepreneur? What were you doing before?
I’ve always wanted to create something of my own since I was young. The timing was never right and I felt that I needed to gain some real world experience which proved to be the right decision as I’ve learned so much being part of a relatively big and successful organisation. When my 25th birthday was approaching, I went through what they call a Quarter Life Crisis and I finally decided to do what I’ve been dreaming of. After intensive research and surveying, I noticed that there was a gap in the market for affordable, modern and sensual lingerie. A few months later, Naked and Unbound was born!
Currently, I still am positioned in Zouk Singapore as the Head of Creative. Before this, I’ve always worked as a creative designer since I graduated from school. My interest and skill set is in creating ideas and bringing them to life.
What has been the most effective channel of marketing for Naked and Unbound?
Digital marketing via social media is currently the most effective platform for us in terms of reaching out to our target audience. The use of targeted marketing through influencers has broadened the reach of engagement with our customers. It’s important to show that our intimates are not made only for models.
Where do you get your inspiration from to stay creative?
My inspiration comes from everyday experiences and my fondest memories. I take visual cues from my surroundings and situations to evoke a particular emotion or feeling and incorporating these into my work. As a designer, I enjoy the role of being a creator by amalgamating various objects and elements to tell a story.
What is a quote that motivates you?[bctt tweet=”Money can’t buy happiness, so do what you love! ” username=”ladyboss_asia”]
What do you think is the most important quality of being an entrepreneur?
Authenticity. Being honest to what you design and believing in your brand becomes the soul of your business. Being transparent with the consumer is essential to building a long-lasting relationship with your customers. I send out a handwritten thank-you note for every parcel to show my appreciation for their support.
How do you juggle having a full-time job and your side hustle?
With a lot of hard work, late nights and burning passion. As much as it’s tiring, I do enjoy on working on things that excite me and I am grateful to have it as an alternative creative output. It’s an added bonus that the business generates an additional source of income for me too. I spend most of my weekends improving on my online store and brainstorming ideas for future collections.
What’s your best-selling item so far?
Best selling products are definitely our bralettes. It is my mission to produce the most comfortable, chic yet affordable intimates for women. Our customers rave about the comfort of the bralettes and they often buy more than one colour. I absolutely love hearing the feedback from my customers after they’ve received their purchases.
Where do you see the future of your business?
Expanding Naked and Unbound to brick-and-mortar retail. The goal is to have Naked and Unbound be the pioneer and leading brand for intimates and loungewear in Singapore. Right now, we operate fully via online retail. We do participate in a lot of pop-up markets. It’s great that there are so many event organisers that want to support local designers and brands.
Tell us about your Number 1 business challenge?
Our biggest challenge would be managing the cost of manufacturing our products in Singapore. As compared to the cost of manufacturing in our neighbouring countries, it’s significantly higher. However, we choose to support our local market and this way I’m able to maintain a high level of quality. Loungewear and intimates have to be pleasing to the eyes and on the skin! There is definitely a need for me to grow the business locally and internationally, in order to achieve economies of scale.
Read our interview with Lenice Tan, founder of SkinnyBlooms who is a close friend of Sihui and budding entrepreneur in the floral industry.