Being a parent is not cheap.
There are so many expenses to bear throughout a child’s different life stages, from birthing costs, medical fees, food, clothes, to education.
This list is clearly not exhaustive, and for Dzung Nguyen, a particular pain point for her was finding affordable, yet comfortable and stylish shoes for her daughter.
She added that she didn’t fancy the existing kids’ shoe collection in Singapore as they didn’t check these three boxes.
This prompted the 32-year-old to source for alternatives outside of Singapore.
After some online research, she chanced upon a potential manufacturing partner based in China. She bought a couple of pairs from them for her daughter to try out, and it was a perfect fit.
Once I found the right manufacturer, I figured we could turn this into a sustainable business that helps to bring the same benefits to other parents [here].
Single-Pricing Model To Simplify Purchase
Vietnamese-born Dzung worked in the finance industry for a good seven years before quitting to become a stay-home mother.
But while she wanted to spend more time with her daughter, she also wanted to stay relevant in the job market.
Coupled with the ambition to build a business targeted at parents, Dzung set up last year an online business retailing affordable shoes for children called ‘Two Little Feet‘.
The site adopts a single-pricing model — all their collections are priced at a standard $49.90 (except for special collections).
Two Little Feet’s approach is that e-commerce has to help make purchase decisions simple. A single-pricing model allows parents to focus on the key things, (such as) getting the right style, function and size.
According to Dzung, the pricing for children’s shoes vary greatly in Singapore — they could go as low as $10 per pair, to as high as $150.
Factors like brand, quality and design play a part in the pricing and how Two Little Feet positions itself is that parents are paying only for quality and design. They don’t have to pay extra for premium pricing.
Think of Two Little Feet as the ‘Uniqlo for children’s shoes’. It isn’t the cheapest option in the market, but the quality of the shoes are definitely worth more than the price you pay for it.
While their designs and manufacturing are handled by their supply partner who is based in China, Dzung emphasises that quality is a value that they strongly uphold.
She added that her partner has over 10 years of experience in producing shoes for children, and have been supplying customers all across Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
Sold 100 Shoes In 10 Days
Two Little Feet’s guiding business mantra revolves around the question: “What would parents want?”
“Our litmus test is if we want it, there will be other parents out there who do too. We just need to find out how to reach out to them.”
Since Two Little Feet is an independent online store, Dzung admits that there is a real struggle of growing their customer traffic.
Thanks to effective channels like online ads and email marketing, they have managed to sustain a “healthy month-on-month growth rate” from day one.
They are also seeing an average of 30% month-on-month growth in the number of shoes sold.
In particular, during this year’s Chinese New Year season, Two Little Feet managed to drive 100 pairs of shoe sales in just 10 days.
Taking into account that each pair is sold at an average of $49.90, this works out to total sales of at least $4,990 in less than two weeks!
Dzung attributed this success to buyer behaviour, in which parents tend to spend more during festive seasons.
Moreover, by providing parents with the right bundle and pricing, it helped to drive higher purchase quantities from each customer as they saw the value of purchasing more than one pair.
On the business front, the bundle pricing allowed Two Little Feet to maintain the shipping cost for each purchase, helping it to derive similar or better margins.
Within six months of operation, Dzung managed to break even her “low six-figure” business investment.
How To Keep An Online Business Sustainable
While Dzung has a finance background, she shares that this isn’t her first business venture.
Prior to Two Little Feet, she ran her own leather bag and personal apparel shopper businesses.
The first business aimed to leverage on her connections to the leather bag manufacturing industry in Vietnam to see if she could build a brand that offers affordable, yet high quality, direct-to-customer leather bags through an online channel.
For the personal apparel shopper service, she wanted to test if there was a demand in a Stitch Fix-like service, leveraging on Singapore’s efficient last-mile delivery space.
Both business ideas were only explored in the very early prototype space and Dzung quickly learned that it was too hard to get off the ground as a solo operation.
Two key things she learnt: don’t try to handle the manufacturing, and have more control over the cost of the product.
While the businesses didn’t pan out well in the end, these two lessons helped her better evaluate Two Little Feet as a viable business idea.
“While an e-commerce business can be set up easily, there are definitely challenges to bring it to a sustainable level,” said Dzung.
She advised fellow entrepreneurs who wish to dabble online to always consider proper technology and logistical solutions before attempting to build everything on their own.
“Sometimes, paying a little more for an external service helps to smoothen your business process.”
Singapore Is A Perfect Fit
Two Little Feet strictly has an online presence, with no plans to set up a physical retail store yet.
Dzung reasoned that an online-only approach means that they are more nimble and open to rapid testing and optimisation.
While they build on their presence in the local children’s shoe market, Two Little Feet do run some tests to explore the viability of neighbouring markets like Malaysia, Taiwan and the Philippines.
Dzung observes that there is a lot more potential and ease for business in Singapore in the near future.
Some of the reasons cited was that she’s based in Singapore, so it’s a lot easier for her to run a business locally.
“I understand the Singapore market better than the other markets, (and) the highly competitive last-mile delivery sector in Singapore creates good opportunities for small business owners like me (to) leverage on their services to provide great value to customers.”
Exclusive deal for Vulcan Post readers!
Get S$13 off your first purchase with Two Little Feet with promo code ‘VULCAN13OFF‘. If you’re buying your first pair of shoes, that’s 26% off! Offer is valid until 31 May 2019. Click here to shop!
Terms and conditions:
- Limited to only new customers
- No refunds
- Free shipping within Singapore
- Not applicable for winter boots collection and gift voucher
Featured Image Credit: Two Little Feet