sheldon global houze founder brien chua
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In a world where the home and living industry is continuously evolving, Sheldon Global stands out as a beacon of innovation, adaptability, and diversity.

Founded in 2014 by Brien Chua, Sheldon Global has rapidly emerged as a powerhouse in the realm of household and lifestyle products.

Under his leadership, the company has achieved remarkable success, boasting a diverse portfolio of seven major house brands, each catering to unique consumer preferences and needs.

From banking to business

Brien’s academic journey began at the University of Western Australia, where he graduated with a triple major in Investment Finance, Corporate Finance, and Financial Accounting in 2006. Armed with a strong foundation in numbers and financial acumen, he initially embarked on a career in banking.

However, the allure of entrepreneurship was strong, and he soon found himself seeking more fulfilling avenues beyond the confines of the financial sector.

“I’ve always been interested in starting my own business, so it was natural that my next step would be an entrepreneurial endeavour,” Brien shared.

His familiarity with numbers and accounting rules, as well as background in global markets and Forex equipped him with a unique advantage, enabling him to seize foreign exchange opportunities that played a pivotal role in reducing buying costs.

Prior to Sheldon Group, Brien first ventured into four different business undertakings, including a Chinese doughnut franchise named Kirin Pte Ltd.

[It] required me to work 4,000km away from home, and eventually landed me S$200,000 in debt. During that time, my wife and I could only afford necessities.

We were so poor back in China that we did not have enough to pay for electricity during winter. Our Chinese New Years were also spent alone in the apartment room [that] we were renting as air tickets were too expensive prior to the festive season.

This was at the time when I had a newborn as well. But just like how I had a baby to feed, my business ventures were also very personal to me, and I knew I could not fail.

– Brien Chua, founder of Sheldon Global

The turning point came when Brien later took on the role of overseeing houseware company Citylong’s overseas operations, which made him realise his personal resonance with the home and living sector.

This was what prompted him to launch his own e-commerce homeware brand, HOUZE, which specialises in storage solutions.

table matters
Image Credit: Table Matters

It later became part of Sheldon Global, a conglomerate housing six other brands: The Life Shop (economical alternatives within HOUZE), Table Matters (crockery), Aroma Matters (fragrance), Creative Polybag (customisable polymailers), SoleMate (shoe storage), and Jeju House (natural wet wipes).

“Our overall strategy has always been about bringing value to the consumers,” said Brien.

From the outset, their focus wasn’t merely on being the cheapest option on the market, but rather on enhancing the purchase experience and product functionality, which has helped them build a loyal consumer base.

Rose to be one of the top stores on Shopee and Lazada

HOUZE’s ascent was meteoric, transforming from a modest e-commerce store into one of the top homeware stores on Southeast Asia’s top online shopping platforms, Shopee and Lazada.

Its growth can be attributed to their shrewd marketing strategies. In particular, Brien’s keen understanding of the power of both paid and organic marketing channels has been pivotal.

He recognises that consumers today are drawn not just by flashy ads, but by genuine value. Thus, Sheldon Global’s products are meticulously crafted with the highest quality materials and designs that can speak for themselves, generating positive word-of-mouth and consumer-generated content.

Beyond product quality, Sheldon Global’s focus on personalised shopping experiences has been instrumental in fostering customer loyalty. The ability to suggest complementary products based on individual preferences has not only increased sales, but also fuelled brand loyalty through repeat purchases.

ecoHOUZE outlet / Image Credit: Sheldon Global

Furthermore, Brien’s strategic decision to embrace an omni-channel approach has proved to be a masterstroke. Brands like ecoHOUZE and Table Matters, which was initially conceived online, have established brick-and-mortar retail stores to “create multiple personal touchpoints with customers”.

As the retail landscape shifts, Sheldon Global acknowledges that retail alone is no longer a sustainable option. By combining the tactile engagement of in-store shopping with the convenience of online purchasing, the brand is ensuring a well-rounded customer experience.

In their retail stores, customers can interact with products firsthand, aided by knowledgeable sales staff. They then have the flexibility to make their purchases on-site or through the respective websites.

Navigating COVID-19 challenges

Brien attributes much of the business growth to key lessons learned through adversity.

One such challenge was the global COVID-19 pandemic. Like many businesses, Sheldon Global faced operational obstacles. The need for diversified sourcing and the management of human elements became paramount.

Brien recognised the importance of embracing change, leading to significant investments in system automation and robotics.

The brand managed to secure a six-figure grant from Enterprise Singapore to integrate robotics into production. This not only helped navigate the pandemic’s difficulties, but also boosted productivity by 50 per cent, cushioning the impact of manpower shortages.

brien chua houze
Brien Chua, founder of HOUZE / Image Credit: Sheldon Global

While competitors grappled with fallout, Sheldon Global continued to grow, which prompted a strategic shift in business operations. It pivoted to a leaner model, identifying non-crucial roles and outsourcing them.

In fact, their integration of robotics led to a strategic partnership with BizLink, contributing to creating employment opportunities for the physically challenged and elderly individuals, ensuring inclusivity in the workforce.

Remaining a frontrunner in an industry marked by continuous change is no easy feat. Yet, Sheldon Global has mastered the art of staying ahead of the curve.

Brien points out their strategy, “We are looking to increase and improve customer experience across both online and offline channels with better customer service and a more focused approach to how our workflow is managed.”

Incorporating innovation into the shopping experience, Brien elaborates, “The plan is to let people browse through the products on their mobile and check them out at our shops, using RFID tagging to facilitate the process.”

This seamless fusion of digital and physical realms showcases the brand’s commitment to harnessing technology for the ultimate customer journey.

It achieved S$10 million revenue in 2021

brien chua houze
HOUZE was the first brand under Sheldon Global / Image Credit: Sheldon Global

With a modest capital of S$150,000 — bootstrapping without external funding –the company managed to breakeven in just 2.5 years.

Funding was hard for us as we did not take the venture capital/private equity route, but it all paid off.

At the start, [we] octupled [our] revenue in just five years. … In 2021, we saw a S$10 million revenue from the Singapore market alone.

– Brien Chua, founder of Sheldon Global

Beyond Singapore, it has strategically positioned itself into other markets of Southeast Asia, including Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

“Our current strategy is to expand into ASEAN markets by appointing distributors for these countries, or forming joint ventures with local market leaders. This is a good way to ensure that our investments are in safe hands – to work with people who know the market shifts and nuances, so that we do not have to make avoidable mistakes or start from scratch,” said Brien.

As the sun rises on new horizons, Sheldon Global is poised to make its mark on the international stage, with plans to expand into the United States, United Kingdom, and parts of Europe.

“Consumers in these regions value products that are durable, functional, and aesthetically pleasing. Different regions also have distinct tastes and needs which our diverse brand portfolio will be able to cater to,” said Brien.

“We’re looking to replicate our success in Asia by continuing our commitment to delivering top-notch products to quickly gain a reputation for reliability and excellence.”

Peering into the future, Sheldon Global envisions a world where sustainability and excellence harmoniously coexist.

“We aim to make a lasting impact in the home and living industry by leading the way for e-commerce brands to scale and become more sustainable in their production processes,” declared Brien.

Featured Image Credit: Sheldon Global

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© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)