Nurzaihan (also known as “Zee”) started leathercrafting as a hobby in 2017. A chance encounter with Babul (also known as “BK”) towards the end of 2019 resulted in discussions in conceptualising this craft as a brand, eventually resulting in the birth of UrbanKraft, in January 2020.

Urbankraft is a bespoke online store specializing in handcrafted leather goods. The goods start off as ideas which are discussed and drawn on paper by both BK and Zee before being carefully designed and handmade by Zee herself. The handcrafted goods are sold worldwide and sold at an average of $150-250 SGD per piece. Zee is trained as a professional teacher and BK has a full-time job.

While Zee works on the final goods, BK in his spare time consults on the business & social media strategy, and pricing. Currently, they have served 50 clients to date, with an average order of $150 – $250 SGD per client.

As the business continued to grow, the team struggled to keep up with the sales transactions as they were recorded manually via Microsoft Excel. This posed a problem – the risk of clerical error and inaccuracy. They also wanted to expand the brand presence and knew that they had to diversify their marketing channels.

“We currently market our products through word of mouth or social media but never had an actual marketing strategy in place,” shared Zee.

They were referred to our Business Advisor, Nadhirah, in June this year, in hopes of improving the processes and increasing the brand visibility online.

Increasing brand presence

While assessing Urbankraft’s social media platforms, Nadhirah pointed out the gaps within its marketing efforts.

“There wasn’t any marketing strategy in place. Frequency of product placement via social media platforms were not consistent as well. This hindered their brand awareness – potential prospects may not know be aware of the variety of hand-crafted bags. Additionally, customers were required to contact UrbanKraft personally to make an order so there wasn’t any sales channel funnel or digital order placements,” explained Nadhirah.

Nadhirah recommended UrbanKraft to sign up for the eCommerce Booster Package, a partnership program with Amazon, Lazada, Qoo10 and Shopee, to help retail businesses diversify their reach to customers. Apart from expanding reach, the program would allow retailers, similar to UrbanKraft, to acquire useful skills and raise their proficiency in implementing effective digital marketing campaigns.

“The program taught them how to plan a digital marketing campaign and craft compelling content to attract the customers. This would help Urbankraft increase their brand presence online and generate more sales conversions across multiple digital channels,” explained Nadhirah.

Integrating processes and heightening productivity

The next step was to reduce the risk of clerical errors and inaccuracy when it comes to recording sales transactions.

Since Urbankraft’s target audience are mostly online, Nadhirah suggested to set up an ecommerce store – an integrated way of managing products, sales and customer experience altogether. Apart from streamlining operations, having an ecommerce store would also establish the brand’s credibility through secured e-payments and systematic online ordering. “Furthermore, we’ve seen a change in consumer behaviour since COVID-19. Having an e-commerce would also allow them to capture useful data online and tweak their marketing efforts based on these insights,” explained Nadhirah. Nadhirah recommended the team at UrbanKraft to tap onto the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG), which provides up to 80% subsidy for tailored ecommerce solutions. Over the next few months, the team worked closely with Nadhirah to apply for PSG and in August, successfully had the grant application approved.

“We’re currently in the process of building our first e-commerce store and am excited to see how it will streamline our processes from user to back end” shared Zee while BK added that “using some of the digital marketing strategies learnt from the eCommerce Booster package has helped in identifying the target audience, learning how capture their attention and keeping them engaged over time”.