Childhood friends Ms Eunyce Yap, 30, and Ms Joanna Lam, 28, went shopping for clothes together as primary school girls.
Now, they are partners in home-grown womenswear business, Love and Bravery.
Initially, Ms Yap tried operating a small online business on her own, before asking her friend to join her as the business expanded from accessories into the apparel market in 2008.
The business has since grown from a small, 200 sq ft office to a 2,000 sq ft office and warehouse, with two shops at Tampines One and Raffles Place, as well as the online shop.
They employ 20 staff.
In the early days, as two young undergraduates, they were juggling the online business with their studies.
Then, after graduating and securing their first jobs, they had to think carefully before forking out the money for the two physical shops, which ran up to more than $100,000 in total, covering renovations and rental.
They took advantage of the Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) scheme, run by the Internal Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS). This allowed them to build point-of-sale inventory systems at their stores, and an automated checkout on their website.
Ms Yap quit her well-paying job as a management associate after just three months to concentrate on growing Love and Bravery – a move which mystified her friends.
“It was a little bit of boredom, as well as the longing for something fulfilling, something to build on my own that really made me want to leave my job and concentrate on Love and Bravery.”
She said at that point, Love and Bravery was already doing well, but she felt that she could take it to greater heights if she quit and concentrated solely on building her business.
“At that point, there weren’t any success stories of online shops, we didn’t have any predecessor, and all my friends were quite sceptical of my decision,” she said.