WBS Connect is a special lunch initiative where we will invite 3 members each time to personally find out more about their business needs and wants. This gives a deeper insight into each of our member’s businesses and enables us to connect them better with what they’re looking for, within WBS or outside of WBS.
Name: Harriet Saw
Company name: Friendship Quilts
Type of Business: Manufacture & Retail of children’s dresses, quilts, bags, accessories and toys
Q: How did you get started in this biz?
A: I have always loved handicraft and embroidery. I find a lot of interest in little girls’ dresses which are very lovely.
I was managing a club in a hotel when I was expecting my first baby. I wanted more time with my baby and decided to stay at home. So I started a home based business where I got some housewives to sew for me.
My business started in 1985. My customers then included well-known department stores such as Robinsons and Tangs in Singapore, Super Tanjung in Penang and others in Kuala Lumpur.
After having 3 children, I decided to cut down and focus in Penang. My shop in Penang was opened about 12 years ago.
Q: What do you love about your business?
A: First of all, creativity. I go to different countries and buy their beautiful 100% cotton fabric. With a piece of fabric, I can craft everything I want for my customers.
Another thing is, I feel proud seeing others wear or use the things I made. You know, some of the little girls who used to wear my dresses are now mothers. I am very happy to see them coming to the shop to buy my products for their children.
Q: What are your key products?
A: Baby quilts, hand smock dresses, flower girls dresses, patchwork, bags, quilts, tissue box covers, phone sleeves, etc… All made from fabric imported from US and Japan.
(Note: The writer noticed Harriet was using a very nice pink phone sleeve with some lovely flowers, done patchwork style. So elegant!)
Recently, I added food paste/soup base such as laksa, curry mee, Hokkien mee and so on, to sell to friends and customers at my shop. I have been sourcing these products for my friends to send to their children and other friends overseas. Putting these products in my shop is of great convenience to those who need them.
Q: What are the unique selling points (USP)?
A: Handmade craft using quality imported 100% cotton providing comfort for the child/user.
For example, when I make girls’ dresses, no zippers are used. This is to avoid unnecessary incidents of the skin being caught or scratched by the zipper. I use buttons instead.
Q: How can WBS help you?
A: By interacting with others, I can learn from them. I hope other members could recommend clients to me. To me, WBS is a sisterhood group and it is quite easy to foster friendship with others.
Q: How can you contribute to help WBS improve/grow?
A: I can help to promote events by WBS and recommend other people to join WBS, not simply to anyone, but whom I deem suitable or qualified. Besides spreading the word, I also support the charity cause under the Social Responsibility Directorship.
I welcome members to come and visit my shop. Just give me a call before you come as I may not be at the shop sometimes.
Q: Any ethical issues faced in business?
A: Hardly. I will not owe my suppliers. It is fair to pay suppliers who are our partners in business. Customers-wise, they normally pay a deposit when they place an order, then pay the balance when collecting the product. Otherwise, it is cash term.
There are no issues with my present two staff who are helping in the shop. During stock-take, there are no discrepancies. I am happy to have such committed staff who carry out their duties and responsibilities well.
Q: Any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
A: When you want to do something, just do it so that later you won’t regret not doing it.
Acknowledgement: Harriet, thank you for freeing your time to have the interview and sharing your journey in business. We wish you every success to continue doing what you like and making many girls happy with your lovely dresses and pretty products.