Pre-MCO, my colleagues and I invested quite a sum of money ramping up our office workspaces so that they could be more ergonomic, triggered by my case of carpal tunnel syndrome. Our upgrades ranged from affordable laptop stands to mice and external keyboards.
The most costly purchase came from our video producer’s Secretlab gaming chair, a rough RM1,500 Batman-themed seat he used shortly before we went full-blown WFH.
Before founding a local gaming chair brand, Henry had been eyeing having an ergonomic chair as an avid gamer himself.
“I believe most people spend much longer time in their seats than anything else in their day-to-day activities (myself included). And it’s a problem because there are very few options to what you can find to meet all your personal sweet spots (price, features, aesthetics, upholstery, etc.),” he noted.
With a starting capital of RM80,000-RM100,000, he launched TTRacing in 2017 as a Malaysian-made gaming chair brand hailing from Ipoh.
Comfort doesn’t mean breaking the bank
To make gaming chairs more accessible to Malaysians, TTRacing prices its products from RM399 to RM1,000. It’s slightly cheaper compared to Coltrine, another local gaming chair company that sells their chairs at RM1,350-RM1,550, although it’s worth noting that Coltrine’s chairs are fabric ones.
Shipping for TTRacing’s products is free for those within Peninsular Malaysia, and delivery fees start at RM139 for those in East Malaysia and Singapore.
As a vertically challenged individual, trying out my colleague’s Batman chair wasn’t a comfortable fit for me. Its neck and lumbar support as well as the chair’s height just weren’t catered to my stature. Granted, it was my colleague’s chair, who bought it according to his own build, not mine, but it highlighted the importance of getting something that fits.
To that end, TTRacing’s different chair models come in varying sizes. Each of their measurements is transparently displayed so customers can make informed decisions.
When creating a new model, the team will first build a prototype out of raw materials including foam, steel frames, upholstery, plywood, and others for the chair’s internals and structure. Through a time-consuming but vital process, prototypes are then placed under different tests to see if they meet the team’s expectations.
“Normally there will be at least 20 prototypes being made, sometimes up to 50 if there are certain parts we just need to get perfect,” Henry elaborated. “After which, a few will be selected to go through another several rounds of vigorous tests before the first MVP is confirmed, if not it will be back to step 1 again.”
All testing paid off
With the widespread adoption of WFH since March 2020, Malaysians have been making their home workspaces more adequate.
Such demands are also reflected in TTRacing’s growth, which pointed to its B2C segment making up most of the company’s revenue. Buyers generally consist of young adults from 20-36 years old who spend long hours in front of their PC.
Since our expertise is in ergonomics which will generally benefit anyone that is seated for long hours, we have been broadening our targeting closer to the mass market to reach out to those who are not really in the “gaming” group of audience, but would equally appreciate the benefit from our products to improve their working efficiency and performance.Henry Ting, founder of TTRacing
Henry added that B2B projects have also been picking up at a significant pace during the pandemic. “We collaborated with many MNCs during the pandemic in furnishing their employees with TTRacing chairs to keep them as efficient while working from home,” he shared.
“Besides that, there are also many offices that are looking to build a more vibrant environment for the employees’ working space to use TTRacing chairs to encourage innovation and creativity, while it also becomes a factor to attract talents.”
To date, TTRacing has sold around 300,000 units of its gaming chairs, and average monthly sales have picked up, with the team selling about 15,000 TTRacing chairs per month, owing to their mix of B2B and B2C transactions.
The gaming chair company has since found fans in the Philippines as well through distributors, and Henry is looking to expand it to other SEA countries, the US, and Europe. He’s hoping to get there by setting up a new factory line for production by October 2021 and expanding his team from 20 to 50 staff by mid-2022.
But even as they expand, TTRacing intends to have the brand’s HQ remain in Malaysia, where the core functions of the company will be centralised.
If TTRacing is branching out to offer non-gaming chairs, not only will it be competing with the already-popular brand Secretlab in the gaming chair industry, but it’ll also have to face the many available options for working chairs.
For example, if we’re speaking of local ergonomic office chair brands, one that comes to mind would be Alterseat, which we’ve covered before. In comparison to TTRacing’s overall price range, Alterseat’s chairs can cost as low as RM199.90.
Therefore, in order to scale, TTRacing would need to truly understand the market it wants to target and offer solutions that aren’t already fulfilled by other players. It would be exciting to see what strategies the Ipoh-based brand would use to tackle the space, and what the outcome of it would be.
Featured Image Credit: TTRacing