My father (above) is a tailor. My father’s father was a tailor. In a small town called Kuala Belait, the name Hoon Chin is synonymous with quality custom made clothing. A trade passed on from one generation to the next, over several decades of excellence in service and in craftsmanship.
Just the other day during a Hari-Raya visit, I drew an instant recognition from my neighbor’s father by mentioning my dad’s business. The man’s recollection of Hoon Chin was from the old days with the very thin gentlemen that took care of his family’s clothing, who happened to be my grand father.
Since young, mum & dad had always discouraged all our siblings from following their footsteps in this career. Because it is no easy money, the labor is lengthy and intensive, and you often end up at the mercy of your staff during busy seasons.
Furthermore, tailoring business will soon be a craft of the past, with ready to wear clothing being more affordable and available ubiquitously. I have always preferred jeans to trousers. An issue that have raised a lot of conflict between my parents and I since young, especially come Sunday, when one is “expected” to dress up for God.
My brother, Stellen and I. (the better looking one is me; not hard to distinguish)
Whenever I watch kids interacting with each other in a family, I always admire those older siblings who can get their younger brothers and sisters to obey their instructions. I remember struggling even to convince my younger brothers to address me with the ‘brother’ title instead of calling me by my first name.
Stellen, my second brother beat me in almost all accounts as a kid (nothing changed); Chinese chess, basketball, table tennis, you name it. It is therefore not surprising that I couldn’t command true respect from him when I was perceived a ‘loser’ growing up. Looking back, that was probably the reason that hundreds of fights broke out between us in the name of ‘respect’ (aka pride).
I had a brilliant solution one time, and took it straight to my parents. The solution? To ask mum and dad to bestow the power to me to rule over my siblings so that they would give me the due respect and listen to my orders. I couldn’t remember if the verdict went through, but that of course didn’t work.
Part of the measure of a scout’s progress, is the amount of badges you acquired through tests, assessments and various participations. I remembered as a junior, I walked into a scout meeting one day with my head held high, having all kind of badges stitched onto my uniform (I got access to the badges through my dad’s tailor shop, don’t ask how). For a few minutes prior to the Skip’s arrival, I had the utmost respect and admiration of the fellow scout members.
You could guess what was coming after that. I sustained one of the most humiliating blow in my life; I was being sent home and was ordered to have the badges removed.
As you would expect, I didn’t go far with my Scout career. However, I am happy to report today that all my siblings are respectful towards me, and it is not out of obligation. The secret? I have learned to first respect them.
Childhood has taught me two things about true respect; you do not gain respect through your position or job title (fear perhaps, not respect), above all, respect needs to be earned; one person at a time, one badge at a time.
In the movie, What Women Want? Gong Li’ character, who played the role of a newly appointed Creative Director in a top advertising firm, challenged her male subordinates to tap into their ‘anima’ in order to understand how to market to women.
For those who have yet to watch the movie, anima, is a term according to Carl Jung’s School of Psychology, that describes the unconscious level of the male’s mind that expresses a feminine inner personality.
Gong Li then went on to the torturous act of forcing Andy Lau into wearing lipsticks, high-heels, skirts and the whole nine yards. The two of adversaries eventually fell in love and lived happily ever after.
Beyond entertainment value, the movie does serve as a reminder on the tremendous market that women represent, which were largely overlooked by most businesses. Let’s be honest, when was the last time you see a marketing plan including tactical strategy on how to appeal to the lady customers?
This article examines the critical points on marketing to women by first asking the obvious question; What Women Want? Male and female species are wired differently. If your business is still adapting a one size fit all strategy, you may miss out on a lot of opportunities for your products and services to appeal to women.
According to Sharifah, Senior Sales Manager of NBT, “Most of the buying decision when purchasing the family car comes down to women, even though men are apparently more astute about cars. It is the woman who holds the final say because they are responsible for the household finance.” In Marina Mahathir’s keynote address at last year’s Women’s Forum, Nissan’s sales accelerated simply because they made a strategic decision to hire more female sales assistant.
Trendy cafes are sprouting up all over Brunei, patronized mainly by women, simply because the old fashion male dominated ‘kopitiam’ are unable to provide an environment conducive for women and make them feel safe and comfortable.
Universiti of Brunei Darussalam in the past 3 years produced more female graduates than male. Women all over the world are gaining power both politically and in business; as a result, the power of the purse has also increased significantly. If you want to know more about how women think, the following principles can be the beginning of your quest:
If OhMyCard can pull this off, by getting the support of more restaurants with truly exceptional discounts; if OhMyCard can excite the market place, by giving enough reasons for the end customers to buy into the $48 yearly card subscription, this program may well be the answer to Brunei’s competitive and saturated food and beverage industry.
The concept of restaurant loyalty discount cards is not new in other countries. The Entertainment Book in the US and Australia represents a major stimulant to cafes’ and restaurants’ bottom lines. The idea is rather straightforward; the organiser approaches restaurants to request for fantastic discounts, compiles all the coupons into a book and sells the privileges to the customers. This strategy alone has helped restaurants in Australia in soliciting an average of 95% of first time visitors and rack in a 30% surge in revenue.*
We are truly excited about the prospect of OhMyCard because not only would we like to see more success stories out of the iCentre, but if done well, this can create a win-win situation for the restaurants, the customers and the economy as a whole. If your restaurant is not already on board with OhMyCard, the message is to check them out now (www.ohmyfood.com)!