Now that Artbox is over and we finally cleared the orders that were accumulating over the weekend, I finally have time to take a small tiny breather. I also found time to take a step back and count all my little lucky stars and I feel so so so blessed for having the sweetest customers turned friends in the whole world.
I have leftover liang teh in the fridge because you all were so so generous and so loving. Some of you even came down to help me man the store (@ivyyt / @chingxz) and I really really appreciate it.
I might have appeared slightly emotionless last week, because we were seriously so so so tired, but we are definitely nothing less than thankful…and happy. And so much more appreciative of everything life throws us 🙂
Anyway, before I go on to summarize all the shennanigans that went on during Artbox, just wanted to say that we'll be launching the first batch of OBClassics tonight at 8pm! 😍 Some of you girls have already gotten your hands on them (so fast!) during Artbox, and I've heard some reviews and am generally just happy that we finally have them now.
It's a pretty interesting feeling…having something to call your own and also to have them in a couple thousand of pieces. It's a huge responsibility, but it's also exciting and fun. So far, the midi has bigger cups than the strappy so if you're slightly bigger, try the midi first!
Business wise, I've had a lot on my plate to deal with that I don't necessarily understand the best (accounting/budgeting/money) and there's been a lot of talk about trademarks and finding a good corporate lawyer (Michelle Phan's advice 😅) but the steep learning curve is exciting and fulfilling.
But…see you guys at 8pm for the OBClassics launch! 🎉
Some things just give you the most immense satisfaction and happiness in the simplest ways ever and I think product launches are one of them. I think it's also because I've never seen myself as a fashion forward person…? I'll always put on comfy clothes > trendy clothes so selecting "launches" or products to keep are always risky and challenging. But I guess bit by bit, I learn and I'm excited to be learning more.
Now that we are at least 2 launches ahead of time (Swimsuit launch and Embroidery launch P2), I can finally take a small breather. I like to do retrospectives of events and major launches/projects because I was trained to do so back when I was an intern and also because it's a great way to learn and step back to see the small things you fret over in the beginning that…actually didn't matter. 😅😅
Anyway…so here are some stuff that I've learnt from our little event at Artbox!
As a disclaimer, I never liked field events in general because I'm not the most meticulous person out there and field events especially, require one to be super thoughtful and crazy details in order to ensure that things go as planned.
Plus, I don't usually like being away from my friends and family for extended periods of time and field events…well, being field, aren't as mobile and you usually have to be at the event location for like the entire day or weekend back to back and that's sort of draining for me. But nonetheless, I surprised myself by how much I actually enjoyed being at Artbox…
//Overplanning can sometimes kill you//
For the first Artbox, we literally thought of the 10000 ways things needed to be planned and then thought of 1000 ways to overcome potential pitfalls. We were also super ambitious and brought about 30-35 SKUs to the event despite the booth being…2x2m small. After sharing it with my ex-colleague, the space was essentially 1x1m and needed to fit 3 of our fat butts and all of our stock.
It was a nightmare 😅 I wanted to cry cos we brought SO MANY THINGS and had no space to put them. You know how when you're kiasu you're always like "Aiya, just bring more la" but in this case this kiasu-ness almost killed us. HAHA. If it happened in a cartoon, our booth would have burst and our stuff spilled into the little alley outside. 😅
// But you learn fast, and act even faster //
A lot of times, at Artbox, it's really an improvisation game. If you brought too many things the first time, you cut down everything by half for the second event, which made it so much better and less stressful. You gotta be able to pick up all the negatives and act on them immediately. We were lucky enough to purchase our own tarpaulin before the first event (cos I'm super paranoid about bad weather) and it was the best decision ever cos it rained like poop for the first installment. But the rain was so heavy our booth literally flooded. Because we didn't elevate our stock, we needed to build a raft for our stuff with tarpaulin and also direct water out of the booth…
Some of the other booths didn't have tarp, and the Artbox provided cover for rain was…poop. That was the worst man. But happy to see that everyone improvised to direct water every where else with plastic bags and zipties which was pretty cool too!
// You learn to have each other's backs //
When the weather is shit and everyone is sticky, sweaty and exhausted, it's so natural for you mood to be poop, but I'm quite proud to say that instead of acting up or blaming each other, we decide to have each other's backs instead. On the first day, we didn't have enough seats in the booth because there was not enough space, but we kept rotating seats instead of hogging and asking each other if we were tired.
When my family came, or when @boshifang and @chowchowsheep came to help and couldn't find space to stand in the booth or outside the booth, they just stood outside waiting for us to ask for help and never getting in the way. I think it's a thing you learn when working together for so long…that the business comes first and that everyone cares for each other.
// The weather makes or breaks you //
When it rained, we hoped so hard for dry weather and sunny skies. But when the sun shone down on us like it was trying to bake cookies, we really wished for clouds. Haha. We're impossible to satisfy. But really, for an outdoor event, the weather can really mean the difference between happy excited shoppers and just miserable passerbys. But you also learn to make the best of everything. Aiya, since you can't control it, then…just enjoy it? AND DRINK LOTS OF WATER haha.
// You learn to watch your tongue, but also learn that you can't please everyone //
I think handling customers face to face is extremely different from when you do it online. Especially since a slight change in tone or body language can really piss people off. What you say with regards to sizing can also sometimes be taken to personal offence even though you legit just wanted to say, we have sizes from S to XL and not that the person needs an XL. Also, your reaction has to be crazy fast and your attitude always on point.
Someone told me I have a very stern expression HAHA. But I was just stoning. I tend to space out A LOT when I'm mad tired. There was once I blanked out mid sentence and Shiqi had to apologise on my behalf 😭😭😭 #sorry
// You appreciate the normal schedule //
After preparing for Artbox for about 2 weeks, we were so happy to finally return to our normal schedule. Hahhaa. Even though there were quite a few orders to pack, we were just happy to be back in the office and hustlin at our own pace again. I think it's exciting to be out and about meeting people, but after while, having a routine is also important in keeping yourself productive and sane. Anyone else agrees? HAHAHAH
Overall, I think Artbox was a pretty swell experience and I am really happy I got to meet you girls!! ❤️❤️
Would do it again in a heartbeat but maybe with less stuff to bring and a bigger booth 😅😅 Thank you @chenshiqi and husband Ng for making this bearable. ❤️