It is the last day of 2016. This year was a significant one for me. I took the plunge and left my corporate job in February 2016 to focus on this baby full-time. With all the hopes, plans and dreams that I set out to achieve, how did this year turn out?
One of the first and most important things I did was to gain more control over the quality of our bralettes. Every detail matters, and our aim is to keep making small but gradual improvements to our products. We produced our own padding for our bralettes and did a replacement campaign for them. We also began purchasing lace directly from source. In the coming year, we will produce our own bands and straps for better consistency and transition to better hooks, rings and sliders. The lingerie market is huge and fragmented with competition. We want you to know that every detail of a piece we create is well considered, and you can always count on us to offer sincere after-sale service. While designs can be replicated, we hope the Perk by Kate sincerity will be one of its kind.
At times, I was too ambitious and idealistic. We bought a whole bunch of really good silk for production. But we haven't actually used them yet. We promise we will get to them in the new year. There were also plans to launch more styles to cater to more of your intimate needs, but we decided to slow our pace because projects done in haste often produce bad results. I hope to complete these projects next year! –wink-
Making friends with our customers
Every letter, every small gift, every email of encouragement, every comment on Instagram, every like, every feedback – they keep me going. I had always wanted to know my customers better, and preferably, as friends. Through the #Perkify Challenge, we discovered the incredible talent that is hidden amongst us, and I can't wait to produce the three winning designs. I also had a blast meeting everyone of you during our October meet-and-greet with customers at Prep. You blew me away with your enthusiasm and support. I am really looking forward to the next meet up, hopefully on a larger scale. :)
Things that made 2016 memorable for us
Most of you don't know this, but we experienced a lost shipment this year. Our shipment was mixed up with another and an entire batch of production was sent mistakenly to a small nursing home in France. We, in turn, received a whole batch of disposable pillow cases meant for the nursing home. I wish I was making this up. It was five heart-wrecking days before the shipment was returned to us and the nursing home received its pillow cases. For some of you out there, you have a bralette that made its way from Saigon to Germany by air, across the border into France by truck, and finally to Singapore by air. That bralette might be more well-traveled than I am. One of our most sobering experiences was our visit to Shanghai Interfiliere. Our intention was to chart our progress and 'network and chill' with the industry. Alas, pretty much nobody wanted to chill with us because we were, well, nobodies. It was slightly ego bruising but at least we made contact with a band and strap specialist. The husband says that if he ever feels my ego getting out of hand, he will book tickets for Interfiliere. That will show me... We started a small fun project early in the year to create an affordable and good looking leather bag. We needed something to keep our minds engaged and creating again. The direction of the bag was driven in part by (confession time!) my love for soft and supple leathers. We learnt a lot over 8 months and the Nikko capsule collection, constructed entirely out of lambskin, was launched before Christmas. We are highly encouraged by the response. It seems I am not the only one in love with soft leathers.
Increasingly, we feel the need to give back to society. We are glad many of you share our sentiments. On behalf of the Uplift Project, we collected and sent 200 bras to the Philippines in December, and we will continue to do so over the course of the next year. This will be an 'evergreen' campaign and will be our little contribution back to society. We also made a commitment to donate a portion of the proceeds from Nikko to the Star Shelter, a temporary home for women and children who are victims of family violence. After speaking with the shelter to understand their needs, a donation in kind (diapers, milk powder and cooking necessities) worth S$1480.40 was made on 27th December 2016. Our efforts may be a drop in the ocean but we hope it amounts to something meaningful to the people on the receiving end.
Happy New Year!
Time to take on 2017. My gut tells me it won't be easy, but I will put up a good fight. On our end, here's wishing every one of you luck for 2017. All the best! Ps. the people on the Titanic had money, wealth and happiness, they just lacked a little luck… :)
Every year it happens. Come December, yuletide carols fill the air. Reindeers, elves and Santa present themselves in their lighted form. There's a buzz in the air. As many of you look forward to another season of gift giving and celebration, we are working hard to make your Christmas as memorable as ever. This, we must do, in appreciation and thanks of the wonderful community that is Perk by Kate.
This year end, our Christmas packaging is made up of a limited edition satin bag, packed in our signature Perk pillow box and finished off with a rose gold purl satin bow. When we came across this ribbon, we knew we had to use it. :)
Nikko - A Christmas Special
Through our journey for Perk by Kate, we have come across many interesting industries. Out of all, the leather bag industry was one that sparked our interest very much. We always wondered if we could apply our idea of honest retailing to the leather bag industry - create good quality leather bags without the traditional retail mark-up.
Our curiosity brought us to visit leather goods factories and leather suppliers, and we got schooled along the way. With wide-eyed innocent inspiration in hand and a huge belly of idealism, we decided to try our hands at making a simple bag. We figured the worst that could happen was I would have an endless supply of bags for probably the rest of my life.
Hugely taken by the Japanese's dedication to craftsmanship and minimalist aesthetics, we set out to create our own interpretation of shibui (beautiful by being understated) in this bag. We even named the bag after our favourite city in Japan - Nikko, which also means light 光 in Japanese.
The Nikko clutch is the happy outcome of our 8-month exploration. Made of lambskin, this clutch is divinely soft to the touch. The qualities of lambskin truly live up to its name here. We hope you will like what we came up with! :)
As we close the year, we give thanks. We give thanks for good health. We give thanks for the loved ones around us. And we give thanks for the wonderful support you have given us.
This year, we have also become increasingly aware of the need for us to give back to society. Apart from supporting Uplift Project with donated bras and underwear, we have also decided to lend our support to Star Shelter, a charity under the Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations. The shelter offers a safe temporary refuge for women and their children who are victims of family violence regardless of race, language, creed or religion. It also helps victims manage and rebuild their lives free from violence.
Perk by Kate will be donating $1000 in cash to the charity. On top of this, for every Nikko clutch sold this Christmas, $20 will be used to purchase and donate daily necessities (milk powder, diapers, groceries etc) to the women and children supported by Star Shelter. The donation will be made on 27th December 2016, the first work day after the Christmas break. It will be made in the name of “The Perk by Kate Community”, because this help wouldn't have been possible without all of you, our amazing customers.
A month ago, we started the #PERKIFY challenge to mark a milestone.
And respond you did. You made it a most memorable milestone for us.
We knew there was much talent and creativity amongst us. But even with such high expectations, you absolutely floored us with your submissions.
We are extremely excited and equally inspired by all your submissions. Deciding the winners was by no means easy. It gives us great pleasure to announce the three winners of our challenge, who will each receive a S$500 cash prize as well as have their designs produced as a limited edition style.
The winning submissions
Melissa Chin submitted not one, but ten entries, each of which a winning entry on their own. We spent all day marveling at these beauties, and we knew this would be a winner.
Sofrane, a most supportive customer, submitted many designs that caught our eyes. We have for the longest time yearned to produce a longline bustier. This will truly be a piece to remember.
Lastly, we had to award Rebecca for designing this gorgeous silk piece. It's soft, luscious, and every bit feminine.
We never expected to see an embroidered bralette, nor did we expect to see a full moodboard accompanied with illustration. Chlo and Heather, you will be hearing from us shortly.
An amazingly creative community
We would like to thank everyone for participating in this challenge. There were many others that caught our attention, and we will be in touch to recognise your efforts.
Hurray to 10,000 friends on Instagram! It took us 4 years to get to where we are, and we would like to celebrate this in a big big way :)Over the past 2 years, our growth would not have been possible if not for the feedback and design requests from all our beloved customers. We, as a community, made this all happen! And so we would like to invite our creative and vocal community to be part of this milestone.
The #PERKIFY challenge aims to do just this. Share your lingerie dreams with us and win the chance to have your design custom made and produced as a limited edition style! We will select three winning designs, and each winner will walk away with $500 in cash as well.
We look forward to your inspirations. Visit our campaign page to find out more!
Enter the #PERKIFY challenge here
Hello there :)
That's me, at the entrance of Interfiliere, a roving lingerie trade show held four times a year in New York, Paris, Hong Kong and Shanghai.
Five years ago, we came to Interfiliere armed with nothing but name cards and a desire to start a lingerie business. Needless to say, no one was fooled and none took us seriously.
Five years on, we came back to Interfiliere to keep track of what's going on in the lingerie world, and also as a way to chart our progress. This year, we are happy to report that a total of two exhibitors (the rest politely declined) expressed noticeable interest in speaking to us in greater detail. That's progress.
We came to Interfiliere not expecting to strike any strategic partnerships with these big players – players who sell lace by the tens of thousands of yards, and factories who don't get out of bed for anything less than a ten thousand piece order. We may never attain the scale required to earn a seat at the adult table. Indeed, we don't aspire to.
There is beauty in being a niche producer of lingerie. Our main aim is to satisfy the needs of our customers and keep them happy, not to scale up and sell out. Tomorrow, we travel south to meet our main lace supplier. They are a large and reputable producer of lace but for some odd reason, seem willing to entertain a minnow like us. And for that, we will ride four hours on a bullet train to meet them. We are thankful for their support.
The week is coming to an end, and we hope everyone has had a good week so far. While many of you are awaiting our new collection, we have restocked some of the crowd favourites – Alexis (black and white), Victoria, Bella, Emma, Leah (Nude) and Charlotte (Black). We are also adding a convertible feature to all our older styles, because why not?
Enjoy the weekend ahead!
Lace crop top (left), Victoria Bralette with Black Contrast (right)
Launching a new service is never easy, but we are glad to have pulled it off. Our latest Custom & Bespoke service helps us to make the lingerie dreams of customers, who have very specific requirements about what they want in a piece of lingerie, come true.
The Isreali-sourced scallop lace trim that we had on hand proved to be really popular. One of our very first briefs from a long-time customer, Shannon, was that she wanted a lace crop top using that black scallop lace. We made her a two-piece triangle crop top triple lined with a thicker fabric for sturdiness and structure. Our second brief was from Melissa, who loves the fit of the Victoria bralette so much that she wanted a grey version of the Victoria, backed with black contrast lining, to allow the lace details to be shown off beautifully.
Really glad these pieces turned out well. Thankful for the trust our customers place in us. Looking forward to more beautiful creations!
Keen on making a bespoke set of lingerie for yourself? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to start the creative process!