“Faire Leather Co. is also a vertically integrated company. This means they run and own their factory – the same factory that has produced for several luxury brands. This allows the company to produce and develop products without having to pass on the hefty prices of design costs to their consumers.”
polished exteriors, premium leather
With us, it's the same standards at unrivalled prices.
BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE
Most of you may not know who I am (until now that is). I am Mel, COO of Faire Leather Co. - and that liner you see above has been my personal motto for as long as I can remember identifying with one.
A Typical Day @ Work
On a “typical” day, I cover an array of daily duties including keep tabs on our inventory levels, shipping efficiencies, P&L, as well as purchasing timelines just to name a few. As we speak, I’m working on improving our ERP system for real-time updates across multiple platforms and tools that we utilise. Recently, I’ve also taken on customer service with an aim to keep our response times within 48 hours, and our quality control in check.
As a feedback-aware brand entering the highly-competitive marketplace, we promised ourselves to rise above by not only creating stellar products like luxury travel bags, leather tech organizers and slim leather wallets to help you organize your daily lives, but also never forgetting that our customers (before and/or after the purchases) will always be our utmost priority, and a key factor to our long-term success.
The “busy-ness” does come in waves, and sometimes you don’t even know what hit you! (See what I did there?) Yet that’s really what keeps this role exciting - there are never two days that round up too similar, which really keeps things dynamic.
Other Areas of Work
From time-to-time, I also sit-in for our Product Development meetings, contributing with my past experience as well as ensuring that we optimise our packaging for cross-border shipping. This is not a typical focus for a Product meeting, but it is when I am there! This ensures that we don’t have to factor a huge percentage just to cover the shipping costs. This is done, of course, with no compromise on the functionality or design of the product(s).
I also partake in our external meetings with potential collaborators and partners, understanding their business strategies and goals, and aligning them with ours for synergy.
All Rainbows & Butterflies?
Anyone who tells you Yes is probably lying :)
One of the most difficult (and less typical) parts of eCommerce-based businesses providing Products which most might not know of, is Logistics and Fulfilment. For one, without a clear picture of the options, lead-times, potential hidden costs, as well as pros and cons of each option, costs could spiral out of control even before you know it. Additionally, any inability to optimise these options based on factors such as product weight & size, customers’ geographical locations as well as any special requirements could lead to much frustration for both the brand and customers alike.
As such, the first major task I took on was to understand the options we had, crunch the numbers, run a few rounds of negotiations, and pick the right ones for us. Between our first batch of fulfilment and the next few, we managed to reduce our shipping costs by a significant percentage, thereby allowing us to raise prices at a much slower rate than our costs were increasing.
Rule of Thumb
I always bear in mind that I am a consumer too - and in every decision, I contemplate. Will our customers be alright with this? Will they understand? What can we do to make it better?
Despite our carefully thought through processes and efforts, we do still face (some) customers who tend to get nasty; and I admittedly get personally affected because I know for a fact that we were doing absolutely whatever we could to optimise the purchase journey, including staying up till the other side of the globe woke up for the day just so we wouldn’t have to wait another day to process things. At times, I questioned why I was working so hard…
Above all that though, are the positive encouragements from other customers, family and friends, and the support from the Faire team that make the tough times worth it, and keeps us going and striving for more.
The Road that lies Ahead
There is no telling what lies ahead with absolute certainty, but I do know that the team will continue to work tirelessly to bring you more functional luxury at a fair price, along with outstanding service and communication.
Whilst striving to excel at this role, I will also strive to leave my laptop temporarily (please understand if I disappear for awhile!) to sneak in a Zumba class or two, join my Dragonboat team for a training session, or read a book to regroup my thoughts as I strive to excel in living Life as well.
For there is a wise Chinese saying - 休息是为了走更长远的路 - that reminds us that we rest for the continuance of the longer journey ahead.
Wishing you good health and happiness always,
Prior to Faire, Melissa Kay Soh (Mel) was Head of Brands Development at the Y Ventures Group (Joint Venture partner of Faire) managing the Amazon (North America) business unit through the value chain; she was also part of the key team leading multiple brand projects, including the launch of Faire Leather Co. via Kickstarter.
In the early years of her career journey upon graduation, Mel honed her skills in the areas of Product Development, Channel Management and Business Development.
Mel holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accountancy and Marketing from Singapore Management University.
Remember the Specter Slim Card Wallet? We created it almost a year ago and launched it on Kickstarter along with the Bond Travel Briefcase and Bond Everyday Padfolio, and we got really good feedback on it. Hence, we decided to make another version to accommodate slightly different needs.
Presenting: The Specter Card Wallet with Coin Pouch.
Like the Specter Card Wallet, it fits your cash and essential cards, with an external slot to accommodate receipts and business cards; also designed to fit perfectly into the pull-tab slots of our our luxury travel bag: Bond Travel Briefcase and leather tech organizer: Bond Everyday Padfolio
But unlike the Specter Card Wallet, there is also a zip compartment for coins and even a built-in keyring, whilst keeping in line with our usual sleek, minimalist design. Hope you guys like it.
Leather is essentially skin – it has natural oils that will dry out and get damaged when exposed to environmental elements. Hence, caring and maintaining your Faire Leather Co. product is important if you want it to remain in pristine condition for years to come.
With their polished, work-inspired architecture, briefcases tend to be associated with formal contexts. The same goes for the Bond Travel Briefcase, the icon of Faire Leather Co.’s debut Bond Collection. Many of you may perceive it as suitable solely for orthodox office contexts that involve meetings with clients and brainstorming sessions among co-workers. While Faire’s luxury travel bags would certainly complement your suit perfectly and render you the latest talk of the town in office, they would be no exception when serving you as a functional accessory for casual occasions.
When we re-imagined the leather briefcase for modern, fashion-conscious professionals, we did primarily have desk-bound professions in mind. This is because of the heavy-duty nature of our briefcase interior in terms of functionality — a multitude of compartments and organisational tools ensure that you can pack your office into your briefcase without it looking bulky and clumsy. Moreover, the metal accents on the briefcase in the form of magnetic zippers and the key ring on the exterior enhance the chic design of the briefcase, giving it formal overtones.
However, the dressy appearance of the Bond Travel Briefcase doesn’t mean you can’t pull it off with an unembellished concept. In the current age of disruptive industries and technological proliferation, self-employed entrepreneurs and businesspeople are redefining the conventional understanding of the workplace. For us, practically anywhere with a table (and food) can be our workplace — all we need are drinks to keep conversations flowing. We believe the same goes for all of you in the creative industry. Given the dynamism and flexibility of this field, you’d need a bag that will complete your outfit when you’re all dressed up, and a bag that will be the keystone in the bridge between casual attire and formal propriety.
Even during weekends when you may be sporting a basic t-shirt and jeans or bermudas to meet your friends at a bar, Faire can accompany you. Maybe you’d simply need to carry your mobile phone, your keys, your wallet, and your tablet or slim laptop. Our lightweight leather tech organizer, the Bond Everyday Padfolio, sounds like a suitable candidate. After all, as its moniker connotes, it is for the laid-back convenience of everyday use.
Alternatively, you would like a topic of conversation that would serve as an ice-breaker at your meeting with your old classmates. Things can start off being slightly awkward under these scenarios, but our briefcase will hopefully take care of that by inviting questions, since it bears no ostentatious logo on the exterior. Regardless of the formality of the context, a considered look from head to toe would probably help you ease into social gatherings.
Personally, a good leather bag that checks the boxes of style and functionality is an essential for us at Faire in our day-to-day lives. As the founders of Faire Leather Co., we are constantly on the move, yet needing a bag big enough to carry our hardcover planner (which we cannot do without), samples and Faire’s small leather products for demonstration purposes. A sleek leather briefcase and a slim leather wallet are fundamental as a coordinated set for us to convey sophistication, to delineate professionality outside the frame of a designated office. Having created Faire as a brand for the people, our products are versatile in order to meet the needs of a diverse range of people. As long as style matters to you, it doesn’t make a difference if you’re not a style aficionado — it won’t take much for you to look smart and image-savvy wherever you are, whatever the occasion.
Brand Focus: What does a million dollars really mean?
It honestly felt like a dream when our team informed us that our sales numbers has passed $1,000,000 - because that means we’ve sold a million dollars worth of goods in retail value since we launched in November last year.
All the sleepless nights we took to conceptualising the briefcase, the times when I wanted to kill Joe and he wanted to kill me; we made it through. I won’t lie, it’s a nice thought, especially when it’s something you didn’t expect. Now that we’ve announced this, I guess it’s also reasonable for people to think that must mean that we’ve hit the jackpot. I guess it’s easy to look at the dollar value and think, “Wow, it’s a million dollars.” But, what does it really mean?
If you had told me on the 14th of November last year, when we were frantically trying to prepare everything for our Kickstarter launch, that we would hit $1,000,000 in sales in less than a year, I would have laughed. It wasn’t just because the idea of that was hard to imagine, it was also because we simply had no clue that it would work at all.
After all, Joe and I were just two guys that wanted to create a product that would save people time and yet have them looking professional at the same time - all for a very fair price. This journey has been a long and tiring one albeit fruitful, and it doesn’t mean that we are about to rest on our laurels because the sales number that we have hit is an indication that we are doing things the right way.
$1,000,000 in sales means that we have a stamp of approval and that we can continue to build products in this light. You see, when Joe and I first started the business, the first thing we were really questioning was whether this need that he and I brought up was manifested by ourselves, or was it truly a problem that people faced?
We have that answer now, and we are both very thankful for that because of the support and belief everyone has placed in Faire Leather Co.. We’ve had our fair share of ups and downs the past year but this result tells us that we are in a good way, and that we can continue to sustain ourselves while bringing functional luxury at a fair price to you. All I can say is that we will continue to do our best and we appreciate the support and feedback you’ve provided.
From the bottom of our hearts, Thank You.