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It doesn’t always have to be brick and mortar shops moving into the digital space. Online startup Naiise did it the other way round to create more opportunities for its retail business.

Naiise is an exemplary example of an online store expanding into physical retail within the past one year. Their success can be attributed to their 3 pop-up stores, with the recent one at Orchard Central. It allows them to increase their brand exposure and also gives them an opportunity to meet customers in person which they otherwise would not have been able to do so through an online store.

Equipped with the temporary retail experience, Naiise opened its first brick-and-mortar store at WestGate, which spans more than 1,500 sqf of prime retail space, housing over 2,000 products from 200+ brands across home, fashion, stationery, food and etc.

We talked to their founder, Dennis Tay, to find out more about his ecommerce journey. Naiise? Nice? You are right. According to Dennis, he wanted to come up with a store name that is simple and easily relatable. “Naiise plays on the word ‘nice’ and it constantly reminds us to be nice in everything that we do, be it our products, customer service and many more. We want our customers to go ‘naiise’ at every touch point they have with us,” shared Dennis.

Making design accessible for everyone

A marketplace for original design products all over the world, Naiise started out with the goal to make design accessible for everyone. “There is a common misconception about buying designer products. People often think that they are expensive. That is not true. We offer a wide range of items ranging from furniture to home accessories to gifts and the prices vary from $3.50 to $5,500,” said Dennis.

Besides making design accessible for people, Dennis wanted to help designers and brands to gain awareness in the local market. He felt that good designs should be shared and Naiise will be a good platform for designers and brands to interact with people who can appreciate their works.

Setting up an online store is the best way to get started

As a new start-up, it is important to keep your costs low. “The idea of selling at a retail store has never crossed my mind when I decided to start Naiise. It requires a lot of capital which will put a strain on my budget. Hence, starting an online store is the next best alternative,” shared Dennis. He continued, “I have no experience in starting an online store so everything is an eye-opening experience for me. From fulfilment to management to designing of website, I made a few mistakes along the way but it was a good learning opportunity. I strongly believe that the worst thing in life is not failure. It is when you do not even try.”

Achieving goals make everything worthwhile

Nothing matters more than seeing customers buy the design they love, according to Dennis. “I am also glad that local designers are getting the exposure that they need. All these achievements play a large part in keeping me going,” shared Dennis.

Advice to those who are starting their first online business

Dennis feels that having determination and staying focused is important for any new start-up. “Starting an online business is not easy. You will go through many sleepless nights and heartaches. However, if you are passionate about it, don’t give up! Know what you want and fight for it before you regret it,” advised Dennis.