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Almost a decade into running Craftiviti, which was started by co-founders Wei Yein and Eugene Tham, the business has emerged as a beacon in the realm of DIY crafting and entrepreneurship.

With a rich background in communication and a passion for creativity, this couple embarked on a journey that has evolved from humble beginnings to a thriving enterprise that now uplifts other entrepreneurs.

Crafting a creative empire

In 2010, Wei Yein and Eugene co-founded Caesar Paper Stone SB, an events company.

However, the relentless demands of the events industry eventually led them to pivot towards a new frontier—retail and ecommerce.

“Running an events company was fun until it wasn’t with late-night set-ups, rushed deadlines, the stress of crisis management and ageing bones.”

“So we decided to venture into retail and ecommerce to broaden our target market and ride on the growing ecommerce trend back in 2015,” said Wei Yein.

Transitioning from corporate events to arts and crafts, Wei Yein and Eugene embarked on a steep learning curve, harnessing their expertise to carve a niche in the market.

“We were glad we took the risk as the events company became inactive during MCO,” Wei Yein told Vulcan Post.

Image Credit: Craftiviti

Initially operating as a comprehensive arts and crafts retailer, their focus gradually shifted towards candles and DIY personal care products crafted from natural ingredients.

While maintaining selected offerings such as epoxy resin and mould-making ingredients, they streamlined their inventory.

Crafting resilience

They have encountered similar businesses since their inception, but don’t view them as competition. Instead, the see this as an affirmation of a thriving market for the creative movement.

“We don’t react to competition, we work with them. To date, we work with and have partnerships with many craft businesses. We believe this industry needs to support each other to grow together,” Wei Yein said.

Craftiviti’s team / Image Credit: Craftiviti

While unconventional, this approach has proven successful as long as they uphold their brand values and maintain consumer trust.

In fact, Craftiviti has even unveiled business starter kits as a strategic initiative aimed at empowering aspiring entrepreneurs to venture into the world of handmade products.

The inception of these business starter kits stemmed from the company’s desire to assist individuals in realising their dream of launching a business in handmade candles, soaps, lip balms, DIY personal care products, and beyond.

Understanding the arduous journey of R&D in DIY crafts, often constrained by limited budgets and room for error, Wei Yein said they designed their business starter kits to alleviate these challenges.

“Today we have launched our candle and lip balm business starter kits. We are working on more business kits as we speak,” she shared.

The kits enable entrepreneurs to kickstart their ventures with ease, offering options to produce 20 to 100 candles or 150 lip balms at a significantly reduced cost.

Craftiviti’s various business starter kits / Image Credit: Craftiviti

“Our business starter kits aim to support budding entrepreneurs by minimising this pain and making the product creation process as seamless as possible so entrepreneurs can focus on brand building and selling a well-made product from the get-go,” she said.

Navigating choppy waters

For a span of four years, they thrived in their prime until the emergence of ecommerce giants like Lazada and Shopee, accompanied by a flood of cheaper products from China.

Although they endeavoured to compete with marketplace pricing, they prioritised maintaining the quality of their offerings.

However, they later realised that price wars weren’t necessarily worth fighting.

So, in late 2023, amidst economic challenges, they boldly decided to increase prices while implementing a reward system for loyal customers, ensuring mutual growth and sustainability.

Despite initial apprehension, the decision garnered unexpected support, demonstrating their customers’ enduring trust and loyalty.

“Customers would travel from across Malaysia to visit our compact outlet nestled within an office lot,’ she added.

The Craftiviti vision

Amidst the tumultuous tides of entrepreneurship, Wei Yein and Eugene emphasise the importance of resilience, adaptability, and effective communication in sustaining their partnership.

Looking ahead, Craftiviti envisions expanding its footprint internationally, harnessing the transformative power of technology and AI to amplify its reach.

“In the next ten years, we will get into the international markets. Currently, our website is open to accept international orders and we hope to grow this market beyond Malaysia.”

“Last month, our Crafti-kits were listed on Amazon and Etsy. We have also started generating orders from Brunei and Singapore with affordable shipping fees,” she added.

They also aim to curate more DIY beginner kits and broaden their ingredient selection, fostering creativity worldwide.

As they embark on the next chapter of their journey, Wei Yein and Eugene remain resolute in their mission to unlock the full potential of the Craftiviti brand, one creative endeavour at a time.

  • You can learn more about their business here.
  • Read other articles we’ve written about Malaysian startups here.

Featured Image Credit: Craftiviti

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