Entrepreneur

A Price War Deflated Their Carousell Biz, So This Couple Launched Their Own Gift Startup Instead

25-year-old Jason Peh and Estella Chen are the couple behind Bearloon SG, Singapore’s only Stuffing Balloon gift service.

If you’re wondering what they are, here’s what the couple graciously created for the team, including a custom-printed heart

Image Credit: Samantha Tay / Vulcan Post

Personally, I much prefer the hot air balloon. The fairy lights are a lovely, and very romantic, touch.

Unlike their inflated creations however, Jason and Estella’s story is a humble one, and it begins in Carousell.

Carousell-er Roots

“I’ve always yearned to start a business,” Jason begins, ” and an opportunity came knocking when a Carousell-er friend had to leave Singapore with stocks to clear.”

25-year-old couple Jason and Estella / Image Credit: Jason Peh

He had not been “inspired to join this market”, but it was a valuable opportunity so Jason and his partner agreed to takeover.

They sold numeric and alphabetical balloons, and the demand was good.

However, as more Carousell-ers began selling the same products, the flame for a price war was lit.

Before the war, we could rake up to $3000/month, but during the war, bad months could be as low as $500.

“After 6 months, we decided to differentiate ourselves. That was how we brought in Stuffing Balloons, and created the Hot Air and 3D Hot Air balloons from scratch.”

For customer concerns about the balloons’ longevity, Jason assures that their creations last for weeks in the right environment (something that I can attest to).

Image Credit: Bearloon SG Facebook

With $10,000, they launched Bearloon SG. To save on costs, they run every aspect from marketing, accounts, to maintaining the website and taking professional photos.

They receive 2-4 orders daily, and weekend orders surge to 6-8. Meanwhile, during celebrations like Valentine’s Day, business takes off.

Orders will always be our priority [and] this can be very challenging. Sometimes we end up neglecting our own schedule.

Currently, the pair are also their own delivery people – something I was surprised to learn – but as the business grows, they do plan on roping in logistic partners.

Mixing Business With Romance

Others may advise against mixing business with pleasure, but Jason and Estella’s partnership, simply put, works.

Estella comes from a design background, so she’s in charge of the designs that Jason then creates. In contrast, he’s good with numbers, his analytical skillset complementing her creative one well.

We cover each other’s weaknesses with our strengths. I know that I can depend on her.

“After months of working together, we have a better understanding of our responsibilities [so] we have almost zero conflicts.”

Image Credit: Jason Peh

Overall, Jason admits that the business is tougher on her.

“We spend most of our time working. Dates are spent getting supplies and working on our digital marketing, website and social media.”

“I should bring her out on a proper date soon,” he muses wistfully.

Celebrations And Regrets

“The sense of satisfaction and achievement from their creations and compliments have been rewarding,” Jason smiles.

“It’s especially motivating when customers entrust us with their big days.”

Cartoon Stuffing balloons / Image Credit: Bearloon SG Facebook

Friends and family also bolster them by buying from them. This provides the couple with “valuable opportunities to showcase their creativity”.

Regrets-wise, Jason admits that they do have a large one.

“We should have brought in Stuffing Balloons much earlier.”

They had the idea early on, but were so uncertain about possible feedback as well as their ability to pull it off.

All we did was think and speak about ideas, but there’s a huge difference between having an idea and executing it. Now, we always spend more time doing than planning.

Rising Up Into The Future

The next step is to connect with vendors, online and offline.

“In 5 years, we see ourselves as a marketplace of unique gifts for every occasion.”

Surprise box collaboration gift / Image Credit: Bearloon SG Facebook

Stuffing Balloons are a novel concept, but they do not consider this a setback.

“Consumers are [always] looking for gift to impress. That’s what we want to bring.”

“In entrepreneurship, there will be mistakes to be made, risks to take and lessons to learn. Even if we fail, the lessons are valuable and the memories last a lifetime.”

“As long as we keep this attitude of exploring and willingness to learn, serving our customers with our heart and mind, and taking pride in everything we do, I believe we will succeed someday.”

If you’re interested to check out more of their designs, here’s a link to their website and Facebook page.

Featured Image Credit: Jason Peh

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