31 December 2018
It is the last day of the year. As we write, we are on board a bullet train traveling across Eastern China. We have been here the past few days visiting our material suppliers and their facilities. With this short respite from work, we are taking this opportunity to reflect and plan ahead.
As the train is zipping across snowy landscapes, we realise that 2018 has, in the same way, whizzed past in an instant, lending much truth to the saying that “the days are long but the years are short.”
2018 was a year of firsts, struggles and worries. We wondered if we would become irrelevant, if we would not be able to innovate, if we would run out of good ideas. These worries kept us on our toes and pushed us to reach for as many goals (perhaps, too many) as we possibly could.
The year started off well. We made and distributed our first ever Perk by Kate ang bao in January, which was warmly received. Lunar New Year 2019 is just around the corner and we can't wait to reveal our new design for this year.
The launch of the Celine collection came shortly after and it promptly became one of our most popular styles, surpassing even the Alexis. The Celine has since become our go-to standard for good fit and support. That said, product improvement is a never ending journey and we hope to present a better Celine in the coming year.
We launched our sister brand, Yuu, which is focused on providing high quality home bedding products at very reasonable prices. The initial feedback was encouraging and we were pleasantly surprised that the brand broke even in nine months. 2019 will see the addition of two fresh colours to our bedding collection and a new product to our range.
Our first customer event held in collaboration with Annick Goutal in April showed us that our customers enjoy a little pampering now and then. And since we too enjoy meeting you at such events with no sales agenda, please keep a lookout for more such customer events in the coming year.
Just as we had a good momentum going, life threw us a curve ball in May. The death of a dear sibling and colleague sent all of us grieving, a loss from which we may never truly recover. Coupled with sudden workshop closures which heavily impacted our production schedules and launches (and subsequently a period of lull sales), the month of May felt like an insurmountable hurdle. It was in June when we finally snapped out of the tailspin and got ourselves back on track.
The Esse x Perk by Kate capsule collection in August reenergized us. This was a significant milestone as it marked our first ever collaboration with another brand. I am personally thankful to Alicia of Esse who made it all happen. Through the hard times, Alicia pushed the project along and made it possible. I cannot overstate her importance and contribution to the collaboration.
The rest of 2018 saw us playing catch up for the lost months. We held a second customer event with Dr Rachel Ho and Trixilini, joined 3 pop ups and opened our office studio as a fitting room. In the process, we worked seven days a week. We also introduced a co-branded chocolate with the very passionate folks over at Fossa Chocolates. Finally, we capped off the fourth quarter of 2018 with our Mystery Bag event, which has gotten exponentially larger over the years.
In this flurry of activity, we shelved our strapless bra development as we could not get it right even after numerous rounds of sampling. In retrospect, we should have given up some marketing activities to focus on our product development. We should have done more maternity and full cup styles, as these were the styles most requested by our customers. In our eagerness to do all we can, we failed to deliver in some aspects. Every year brings with it at least one major mistake, from which we learn and improve.
Our retail space came to us at the perfect time. At a time when we felt we could no longer get closer to our customers using online channels, we now have the chance to build our own physical space to host, meet and interact. We are indebted to our friend, Melissa, and Vanessa of Plain Vanilla for their trust and thoughtfulness. With this space, we hope to slow down in 2019 and channel our focus towards better meeting your needs.
We look forward to greeting you at 134A Telok Ayer Street very soon.
To the friends and customers who always have our back, words cannot express our gratitude. You are the reason we continue to work hard, you are the fuel that keeps us going!
To the friends and customers we disappointed, we apologise once again and hope to make amends where we fell short. You are the reason we get better!
To all our partners, thank you for trusting and believing in us.
To the Perk by Kate team - Josephine, Joseph, Celesta, Amabel, Madeline, Zeryee - thank you for pushing your limits at work. It wasn’t always easy but your good hearts and work attitude made all the difference. You guys are the real champs!
Happy new year. May you all stay safe, happy and healthy.