How I Underestimated The Product And Failed With CustomMade The First Time

CHAPTER 2: FROM IDEA TO MARKET

 

In my last year of NTU, where most of my peers are busy preparing their CV or applying for jobs at banks, the big 4, etc, I was spending most of my time on digital marketing and reading up on shoes.

After 6 months of bumming around, unemployed without a CV (i still do not have a CV), under the pretext of "business planning and research", i bought a ticket to Hoi An, a lovely town in Vietnam where i found out they do artisan handcrafted shoes.

 

First Journey Alone to Vietnam, Hoi An

 

With nothing but an idea and a luggage, i decided to begin my journey alone to Hoi An. It is a lovely romantic small town. I would recommend couples to consider that place as a romantic chill getaway.  

I distinctly remembered the first shoe shop i entered in Hoi An, it was called Nam's shoe shop.

It was such a vivid memory because i stood outside the shop from a distance for at least 45 mins, exchanging between pacing around and smoking a cigarette due to the nervousness.

Airbnb in Hoi An

Airbnb in Hoi An

The Story of Nam, a sweet lady who runs a small shoe shop in Hoi An

 

Finally i took a deep breath and entered. I met Nam, herself. She was an exceptionally sweet lady and was fairly interested in my proposal of setting up a Custom Shoe business in Singapore, though it was nothing but an idea.

She taught me how to measure the feet accurately and also showed me the workshop where her shoes are made and the place where she purchased her leather.

Even though we did not work together in the end, it was this experience that cast some light into the process of shoe making for me. 

 

The Story of the First Workshop and the First CustomMade Order

 

The next place i went was Ho Chi Minh city. I found a family owned workshop that would help me make shoes on a "Made To Order" basis. They too showed me how to measure the feet, and the designs they can make. I learned as best as i could in the short time i was there. 

Back in Singapore, i decided to use my amateur website skills that i self-learned in NTU to create the very first CustomMade website. It was called customshoe.info (hey, dont judge, it cost me $15 bucks for the domain) 

I got my brother to print color flyers at his office for me as i didn't have a lot of money and i went around Singapore and pasted them at prominent places.

2 weeks later , i got a phone call from someone interested in my shoes. Armed with my measuring tape and a stack of A4 paper, i met him and got his measurements, as best as i could. 

Soon enough, more people called me up and i basically traveled around Singapore with my measuring tape and A4 papers. By more people, i actually just meant 6 people.

But hey, one of them is the CEO of Suntec city so i guess that counts as 2?

The first few customers

The first few customers

A Complete Failure

 

Eagerly, I emailed the workshop the orders and in a few weeks time, i got the very first batch of custom shoe. It was disappointing. 

3 of them didn't even fit well and it was very embarrassing. I can't remembered the excuses i made but it was clear how inexperienced i was.  

The other 3 was in "alright" condition. I lost like $300 on that first shipment. 

After various communication failed (mainly emailing), I figured i had to go back to the workshop again to sort these issues out so off i went! Sadly, to no avail.

All in all, I lost another $2500 in travelling to Vietnam and the cost of more shoes before I realized i severely underestimated the product and it was not as simple as just capturing and putting orders to a workshop.

This workshop is not working. Something has to change. 

That was when i bought a 3 month Visa and a one way ticket to Ho Chi Minh city to find a solution to this manufacturing and sizing issue.....

While i didnt realized it then, that one trip allowed me to discover a big solution to CustomMade.

Trying to sort the issues out but to no avail. I'm still friends with Phat, the son of the owner of the workshop. We go for drinks every time i'm over there. 

Trying to sort the issues out but to no avail. I'm still friends with Phat, the son of the owner of the workshop. We go for drinks every time i'm over there. 


If you enjoy this short bit of my journey, stay tuned for the next part where i threw out my bed, bought a cheap IKEA couch and invited people to my room to check out my shoes. 

Also, you might also enjoy these short articles!

The Purpose of the CustomMade Journey

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How I got The Idea For CustomMade


Subscribe to The CustomMade Journey

This is the part where i ask for subscribers.

As this is a new blog, every little bit counts and go a long way towards our mission. 

If you enjoy the article, or identify with the mission of living your own CustomMade journey to be the best version of yourself, please do subscribe and share. 

On top of my own narcissistic monologue of my journey, i'll be sharing inspiring stories of other people who have walked their CustomMade journey, key insights/takeaway they learned and lastly, quick actionable tips on how to be well dressed.  

It's been one hell/heaven of a ride building up a shoe brand that aims to simplify and personalize the shoe shopping experience for men. Wouldn't have it any other way. 

While i might not be considered mega successful in society's definition, i truly enjoy the sense of fulfillment that i can only get from doing something i love. No such thing as Monday Blues!

I would love to share stories and journeys of other people who went forth and carve their own personal journeys. Be it entrepreneurs, artists, creatives or anyone who is walking his/her own CustomMade journey.  

Do hit me up or leave a comment if you're interested to share your story! 

 

Email: don@custommade.com.sg

Billionaire investor, Chris Sacca's Cowboy Shirt and How It Help Him Make Billions

Chris Sacca doesn’t ride bulls or rope steers. He isn’t a rodeo cowboy, he’s not a ranch hand and, last i checked, he’s not a Cowboy shirt model. 

He’s a billionaire venture capitalist that invested in Instagram, Facebook and Uber early on.

 So what’s with his funky cowboy shirt uniform?

“Every few years I like picking a uniform so I won’t have to think too much about what to wear,”
-Chris Sacca, Billionaire Investor

He adds that people spend more energy thinkingWhat should I be wearing?’ rather than about more substantive important things.

Sacca says that rather than focus on fashion, his attention should be on meaningful pursuits.

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One Thing in COmmon With Great People

 

Like the many greats, steve jobs, mark zuckerberg, etc, Sacca has a uniform which he doesn't have to put much thought into everyday.

This does not mean you can wear a cowboy shirt to work, because you are not Chris Sacca and you do not have a billion dollars.

Being well dressed is important for the majority of the population like us that do not have a billion dollars.

Image is important. People treat you different depending on your image. It just works like that.

But that does not mean you have to put in countless of hours of effort everyday to be well dressed.
 

Key Takeaway: Come Up With Your Own UNIFORM
 

Like Sacca, you can come up with your own well dressed uniform to wear every day.

It could be something as simple as monochromatic business casual (Black shirt, navy pants, brown shoes) but own it and stick with it. It can be a couple of different uniforms to wear on different days so you do not have to wear the same uniform everyday. 

But the key is so you do not need to put in unnecessary effort to dress well every morning AND still look good. This leaves you more attention to focus on your bigger goals. 

And please don't include the cowboy shirt
 

Check out the links below to find out more about how to come up with your own well dressed uniform! 


IN 95% OF SOCIAL SITUATION IN SINGAPORE, THE WELL DRESSED MAN IS KING

Where there is only one climate in Singapore, being well dress is easy.

Click on the buttons below to learn more about being well dressed

3 Key Principles To Be Well Dressed in Singapore

The Ultimate List to Find Your Perfect Fit For All Your Clothes

The 5 Mins Principle To Be Well Dressed With Colors For Every Outfit in Singapore

The One Principle That Every Singaporean Men Ignore in Being Well Dressed


Subscribe With The CustomMade Journey

This is the part where i ask for subscribers.

As this is a new blog, every little bit helps.

If you enjoy reading my stuff, please do subscribe and share. (the button is just to your right...C'mon, it's not that hard!)

There will be not be any promotional emails of my shoes or 346 different angles of my beautifully crafted CustomMade shoes send to your email.

Just useful content on being shoes, being well dressed and walking your own CustomMade Journey. 

It's been one hell/heaven of a ride building up a shoe brand that aims to simplify and personalize the shoe shopping experience for men.

Wouldn't have it any other way. 

While i might not be considered mega successful in society's definition, i truly enjoy the sense of fulfillment that i can only get from doing something i love. No such thing as Monday Blues!

I would love to share stories and journeys of other people who went forth and carve their own personal journeys and also, my own narcissistic journey!

Be it entrepreneurs, artists, creatives or anyone who is walking his/her own CustomMade journey.  

Do hit me up or leave a comment if you're interested to share your story! 

Email: don@custommade.com.sg

The One Principle that Almost Every Singaporean Man Ignore in Being Well Dressed

This third and last principal sums up everything about being a well dressed man, or being a man actually.

Its all about the whole package. This is not about perfection, but consistency.

 

Why the Whole Package is Important

Imagine going to a nice restaurant where you ordered their 5 course meal, the first 4 course was superb.

The food was stunningly delicious and the presentation was as if Picasso came back to life and decorated it himself. One word, flawless. 

And then came the last course, dessert.

It looked bad, as if a secondary school kid prepared it for his home economics homework and he got detention for it. What do you think you will remember from this restaurant? 

Yes, you guessed it right. The dessert. 

Being Well Dress is About The Whole Package

Well, the same thing goes for dressing well. Even if you're decked out in a bespoke suit made from Egyptian cotton sourced from Anubis, the Egyptian god himself but you're wearing a beat up Bata shoe...

People are going to remember your Bata shoes.

I often see men wearing beautiful, well fitting custom shirts and pants only to wear some beat up shoes. It's really a huge waste as all it takes is some good looking shoes.

 

4 Categories To Note

There are four main areas to take note of in terms of the whole package. 

  1. Top - shirts, suits, etc
  2. Bottom - pants, jeans, etc
  3. Shoes - oxfords, boots, derbys, etc
  4. Accessories - belt, tie, necklaces, etc

You have to make sure each area is well fitted and in line with your image. Not a single area can be left out. 

Quick Tip: Match your belt with your shoes. Brown belt with brown shoes, black belt with black shoes. 

As you understand the basics and your style better, that is when you can experiment on bolder colors, layering your clothes and accessories like necklaces and bracelets.

 

KEY TAKEAWAY: To be well dressed, follow the one core color principal for these four areas and make sure they all fit well. That's it. 

It is that simple. Try it and let me know how it helped you out. 


IN 95% OF SOCIAL SITUATION IN SINGAPORE, THE WELL DRESSED MAN IS KING

Where there is only one climate in Singapore, being well dress is easy.

Click on the buttons below to learn more about being well dressed

3 Key Principles To Be Well Dressed in Singapore

The Ultimate List to Find Your Perfect Fit For All Your Clothes

The 5 Mins Principle To Be Well Dressed With Colors For Every Outfit in Singapore

 

Subscribe For The CustomMade Journey

This is the part where i ask for subscribers.

As this is a new blog, every little bit helps. If you enjoy reading my stuff, please do subscribe and share. (the button is just to your right...C'mon, it's not that hard!)

There will be not be any promotional emails of my shoes or 346 different angles of my beautifully crafted CustomMade shoes send to your email.

Just useful content on being shoes, being well dressed and walking your own CustomMade Journey. 

“Every few years I like picking a uniform so I won’t have to think too much about what to wear,” - Billionaire investor, Chris Sacca - early investor of Twitter, Uber and Instagram

Sacca adds that people spend "more energy" thinking "‘What should I be wearing?’ rather than about more substantive important things.”

Being well dressed is important, especially if you're not a billionaire like Sacca

The whole point here is to share simple principals so you do not waste time being well dressed, allowing you to focus on your goals and leading an optimized CustomMade lifestyle while looking sharp.