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Sat, Jul 10, 2010
The New Paper
Blogshops today, close shops tomorrow

[Above - STRANDED:Miss Geraldine Tan, owner of online blogshop The Style Mafia, was among the tenants who
allegedly lost their deposits and advance rent when Best of Blogshops suddenly shut down in April.]

By Geraldine Yeo

A YEAR ago, they were featured in newspapers and magazines because of their innovative business model.

But today, the couple are wanted by their tenants - who claimed that they have disappeared with their rentals and deposits.

Mr Ang Chuang Yang and Ms Tsai Siha's business plan was simple: Rent a shop space, then sublet the store racks to online shops - or blogshops - to physically display and sell their items beyond cyberspace.

The couple, both 20, were so successful that their first shop - which opened at Far East Plaza in July last year - expanded to three as of April. The other two units were also in Far East Plaza.

All three stores, called Best of Blogshops, sold clothes, jewellery and accessories for women imported from countries like Hong Kong and Thailand.

It charged an average of $600 a month for a clothes rack that could hold up to 25 pieces of clothing. The shop also collected an additional 20 per cent commission on all sales at the end of every month, claimed tenants The New Paper spoke to.

But since April, the shops have suddenly closed, leaving more than 20 tenants high and dry. Collectively, they have since lodged a police report, which a police spokesman confirmed with The New Paper.

Four tenants The New Paper spoke to claimed their losses amounted to $13,200 in total.

Each claimed to have lost between $1,000 and $5,000 in upfront rents and deposits.

All four tenants said they paid six months in rental.

Three of the four tenants are full-time students who run their businesses on the side.

One tenant, Mr Malvin Foo, 23, owner of blogshop Feathered Lashes, said he found out the shop had closed when he dropped by on April 7 to restock items. He sells clothes and accessories for women.

Waiting, calling He said that there were a few other tenants waiting outside the shop and that they were all frantically trying to call Mr Ang, but to no avail.

Mr Ang's sister, who sometimes tended the shop, was eventually called down to the shop. But only those present managed to retrieve whatever stocks they had, said Mr Foo.

He claimed that other blogshop owners who did not turn up that day were not able to get their stock back.

Best of Blogshops required its tenants to drop by the stores every week to restock items and collect sales reports.

Once a month, they would also receive cheque payouts for items sold. Mr Foo said he lost his deposit and six months of rent - some $4,000.

But he did not encounter major problems as a tenant.

"Except for a few late payouts, there was nothing major and I still received my profits," he said.

Best of Blogshops was featured in The Straits Times last July.

The shop was also highlighted in two local lifestyle magazines this year.

Mr Ang had told The Straits Times that his shop saw a four-figure sum of sales daily and that he had blogshops approaching him every day to ask if they could join the store.

The reason for the sudden closure of Best of Blogshops remains unknown. The three stores have been taken over by other tenants.

Attempts to contact Mr Ang and Ms Tsai were unsuccessful.

Their mobile phones were either switched off or had been disconnected.

But The New Paper managed to speak to Mr Ang's father, Mr Ang Ming Chiang.

According to other tenants at Far East Plaza, the older Mr Ang is believed to have taken over one of his son's units. The store isnowcalled The Clothes Shop.

"I don't care, he can do whatever he wants," he said, before promptly putting down the phone.

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