Convenient for seniors

Convenient for seniors

Her customers are those who reckon that ageing can be done in style.

They - or their children - spend money on fashionable walking canes or magnifying glasses, which double as jewellery.

Both items, claims Miss Eugenia Yap, 27, are imported directly from the US and cannot be found anywhere else in Singapore.

The former bank executive set up Haf Box, an online business which targets seniors with a taste for the finer things in life.

Miss Yap says of her 57-year-old mother, who is also her business partner: "While I run the daily operations of the company, she handles the accounts and finance portion.

"She also has a say in the quality checks of our products. If it is good enough for my mum to use it, it has made the cut," she declares.

The business leverages on Emall.sg, a local e-marketplace as well as its own website to sell its products.

"Some customers purchase two to three walking canes at a go. Some buy a selection to match their different outfits like an accessory, while others purchase the canes as gifts for friends," Miss Yap says.

The prices for walking canes range between $54 and more than $100, while magnifier pendants cost between $112 and $273.

The store also offers custom-cutting of canes to suit the heights of different customers.

Haf Box also sells heating pads, portable reading lights and trekking poles.

The shop serves an average of about 30 customers a month.

It hasn't been an easy journey, reveals Miss Yap. "The main challenge we faced initially was getting the word out on our brand and e-commerce site, and getting people to recognise the value our fashionable products bring.

"The stigma of using walking aids is still very strong and it will take continuous efforts and encouragement to break through that barrier," she says.

There are advantages to an online retail shop, although the brand also has a showroom in Tanglin Shopping Centre.

"Our target audience are seniors, who might find it too much trouble to travel downtown.

"So their children will usually show them the pictures on our website to ask for their opinion and preference before making the purchase.

"Time is precious to everyone, and having an online presence gives the customers the convenience to shop from the comforts of their home or offices. Product specifications and other information is also at their fingertips," Miss Yap says.

Low overhead costs are also a draw factor.

"It is a great place to start when you are either a small player or if you want to test the market's response.

"Plus there is no geographical limitations to your customers," she says, adding that she receives orders from South Korea and Australia in addition to Singapore.


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