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And We Are 7. Founder’s Speech.

Queenbels Is Seven

This womenswear business of mine celebrated her 7th birthday on 30 August 2016. I am feeling so surreal that we have come this far. Sometimes I don’t know how I did all these on my own, every single damn thing from start to completion. The buckets of blood puked when things just don’t go the way it should be. There are days I wanted to call it quits and just throw everything away but I bounced back stronger each time I hit a wall.

The past year hasn’t been easy as I push new business models. There were alot of frustration, days when I get angry with myself and completely blank minds. I encountered bad people who somehow found their way into my path. I am lucky that such people were weed out very quickly because I stay very alert and focused. Sometimes when things are too good to be true, it is too good to be true. My heart is filled with gratitude towards all the helping hands that came along the way and people who have showed kindness.

Cheers to many more good years ahead and may the business blossom beautifully. Thank you to all who have supported this far.

Signed off with lots of love,
Shirley

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What’s In and Behind

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Good things really come in small packages.

This time you see pleats on the sleeves. What do the sleeves remind you of?

Yes, trumpet sleeves.

I wanted to introduce trumpet sleeves for quite awhile but I know the sleeves may not be very welcome when handling certain tasks like washing your hands, getting dishes. So when Luxy Pleats & Nautical Blouse came up, I know this is the one.

Luxy Pleats & Nautical Blouse is such an interesting number with little pleasing surprises. Made of good quality cotton, comfy to the skin, it’s your throw on and go type of blouse. The nautical detail at inner hem, front and back gives you a little peek-a-nautical surprise when you move. Definitely appropriate for work and a presentable piece for leisure.

You may ask: “What bottom piece should I wear this blouse with?”

With our Mini Patch Pocket Skirt.

Like I said, we will have you covered, from body to bottom.

 

First timer in store, a bare driff blouse. This is by far the boldest design we have in store.

 

 

It’s a fun number if you ask me what my first impression was. Very appropriate for the current tolerant level testing weather. The big fold on the back organza piece on each side create this cloak effect that stays away from your back and allows plenty of air to flow through. Trust me, this is very necessary in this current heat. Did I keep it? Major YES.

The next one that came up was an understatement piece that I have brought in for ladies who want that clean, structured look.

 

Neat. Precision.

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The highlight is the nautical piping that roll round the armholes, neckline and hem. Very neat and well made. Look at it for yourself.

 

 

We are not finished yet. More happy details behind. A nice neat bow in stripes. Not for decorating purpose. It is actually a button, a functional one that opens up the neckline more to ease pulling a blouse over your head, especially when you have your makeup on.

 

It's a bow, it's a button.

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Enticing detail.

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You cannot miss this if you have always wanted a nice, neat, crease-free blouse to go with a blazer for work and also a very good choice for the weekends.

I hope you like what I have presented in store.

I meet different people in the shop and I learn new things everyday. It is always on my mind to keep improving and do my best, including taking care of the smallest detail in order to provide the best service I can. Over time, I observe that when customers check prices on each merchandise, they tend to fumble and do a peep down from the neckline to look for that price tag. I have ease that for you by placing the price tags at very visible level. And yes there is a price tag to each and every apparel and product we put up for selling in store (we do the same in the early days even when we don’t have a permanent space yet). We don’t pluck random numbers from the sky each time you check prices.

We have a little surprise for you on every price tag so don’t toss it away.

 

 

Thank you so much for supporting Queenbels and staying with us. I will be back soon to share more shoppe updates.

Cheers,
Shirley

A New Scene

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And it’s an exciting one.

Over time, I think we have made a little name for ourself, for carrying dainty dresses made with chiffon and in pleats. For more than once, I get customers walking in, telling me they were referred here by their friends, when they said they need a pretty dress in flowy soft fabric.

That was a pat-on-the-back achievement unlocked.

And now I want to break new grounds.

It has been an exciting time for the past couple of months and I think I have made my customers’ hearts skipped many more beats when I presented the new designs.

There are new fabric, new captivating details, new colours, new textures and new experience. From visualising the designs to having found exactly what I had in mind, it really took me sometime.

Good things are really worth the time taken.

 

And I feel so fulfilling to see the happy faces in the shop, looking, touching, browsing, trying the new designs and bagged home their prized purchases.

Coming up in the following months, for ladies who love dresses, you will see new designs in different material and textures.

First to debut was The Meadow Dress.
Made of polyester blend, fun details with buttons, conceal back zip and more tucked in at the waist.

 

Eva Embroidery & Texture Dress is the first among the many upcoming dresses with unique prints and textures. I brought in a good range of sizes for more shopping options and thank you very much for liking it.

 

I hear your feedback about lack of bottom pieces in the shop. Mini Patch Pocket Skirt is the latest kid on the block and I promise you I will bring in more interesting matching bottom pieces for the top pieces you have bought from us.

 

Mini Patch Pocket Skirt is not just an ordinary skirt but come lined with a pair of mini shorts. This is highly recommended to ladies who want to attempt shorter skirt length but have reservation about carrying it.

I have also brought in very fun-loving blouses like The Kitty Bow Blouse and The Vintage Buttons Blouse made with very comfy cotton.

New In: The Kitty Bow Blouse. Now available in store.

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The multi-colour buttons at the back of The Vintage Buttons Blouse is such a trait of the 60s/70s fashion. There is always something special about the fashion trend during those times that is worth bringing back.

 

And of course not forgetting our very well love handsew kisslock products. I have opened the first batch of pre-orders last month and it is also the first pre-order for the year. Thank you so much for loving this product that is entirely produced by Queenbels. I am in the progress of working on a new shape that I hope can make it in time for our seventh birthday celebration edition. I am still searching for the fabric print and fingers crossed that I find what I have in mind soon.

Handsew with Love

 

There are so many things that I want to do for Queenbels. I have been relooking at the mix of merchandises in the shop. Because of the space constraint, I have been putting on hold some products that I know you ladies will love. I think I have found a way to work around the space constraint.

The first quarter of the year has come and gone. This year seems to be a rather different year. I see new faces. I see new shopping patterns. There are new expectations. We have been in business for six years. Each time I see a new face or repeated faces in the shop, I always ask myself why would people come all the way to buy clothes from Queenbels. Sometimes I ask, I get answers, real answers that I don’t even get from people that I talk to almost everyday. I asked because I want to make the magic work even better so that I can continue to bring the best into the shop. Thank you very much for giving me the most earnest answers, not patronizing and definitely very useful. I conclude that it’s important to ask the right person for advice. Ask the wrong person and they will make you work things in their personal favour and not give a heck if it’s going to lead you into a dead end alley.

Maybe it will surprise you. People I talk to almost everyday and gotten familiar with, are the most harsh when there’s a slightest slip up and borders at calling me stupid when things are not in the order they want. I remind myself constantly, a customer is afterall, a customer.

Be it nice or not, difficult or not, I treasure every single customer.

Customers who have been buying from Queenbels long enough know that I always give back to customers during festive seasons or special occasions. It’s my way, and the only appropriate way, to express my appreciation and thankfulness for the support and kindness given to Queenbels. I don’t earn the money and forget about you once you leave the shop. I always appreciate the fact that you awesome people actually choose to buy from Queenbels among so many fashion boutiques in Singapore. I hope customers are able to feel my appreciation for their support.

Thank you so much for supporting Queenbels and staying with us. I will be back soon to share more shoppe updates.

Cheers,
Shirley

No One Can Say It’s Rubbish

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From time to time, we do reviews and small updates to our shop space, just to improve the shopping experience in the shop.

And I think it’s time to upgrade the flooring.

Last month, we bade goodbye to our pretty nude pink carpet after serving us for nearly three years.

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Checked a few options, decided on the material and colour and placed an order. The raw materials came and we got down to work.

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I am so pleased with the result and the look of the new flooring. With the lights shone on, the entire space looks really welcoming. Did a re-arrangement too to utilise the space better. See the completed flooring in my outfit snapshot.

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So far the comments have been good. Customers like the feel of the interior upgrade and the new layout too. Thank you very much.

There are so much more I think I can do, to do better and I never stop thinking. To continue to learn is so important because the skills picked up can be very useful and you really never know when it will come into use.

I saw an interview of her on The Ellen Show on Youtube first. And this interview appeared on the list of videos below it.

She made alot of sense on a few areas which had me went nodding my head in agreement.

‘If you design a collection and it’s really good, people can say they don’t like it but no one can say it’s rubbish.’

First striking point that I went saying ‘Yes yes yes’. I don’t design the apparel you see in my shop. Like I have said before, they have a great inhouse team and I shall just concentrate on picking the right designs for my clients. You are right to say I am like my clients’ personal shopper.

Doesn’t design doesn’t mean I will just take whatever is available at my suppliers. I am very selective in what I pick up and I have to. I know if I really put in my heart and soul in the apparel selection process and pick the right designs for my clients, they may not like everything but they cannot say it’s rubbish. Even for the random walk-in customers, they can tell me they don’t like certain designs but they cannot say the designs are ugly. Simply because, the designs are not ugly.

It is so important to have certain standards set in the apparel design selection process.

‘Surround yourself with the right people.’

Having the right people around you is so important. People who will teach you the good things and the right ways. People who you can learn from and you can in turn share knowledge with. People who inspire you and give you the most earnest opinion.

‘Don’t leave and try to start your own company. Get out there, work for other people, learn, be a sponge, have your eyes open.’

I have been there and done that. I learnt so much in my corporate life. I was not a high flyer but I had very good mentors and co-workers. And I was very lucky to be able to work with people with high work standards and ethnics. The positive influence has impacted me in a good way.

Watch the interview. Maybe you will pick up other useful tips for yourself.

Cheers,
Shirley



Here We Are

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I stringed the individual deadlines very closely. Reading the dates is really to make sure I am on time to get the work done and I didn’t quite feel year 2014 has ended. I had my eyes fixed on the timeline, following each date scheduled for to-do items, arrival of the next shipment, expected date of arrival of the delivered packages to my customers.

However, the arrival of the Lunar New Year is something that almost everyone around me will constantly remind me. We focus alot on getting our home ready for the Lunar New Year, whether or not we get guests. We must spring clean and we really clean every corner of the house and move items out of our storage areas to declutter and clean the hard-to-reach spots. While doing all the above, I was also jotting down the various happenings that I want to share with all of you in this space.

I am happy with what took place for Queenbels in year 2014. We didn’t do exceptionally well but we kept up with the previous year’s performance. There were a few unexpected situations that had me struggled abit between adhering to the house rules and to keep the particular few customers happy. I can only say, house rules are important if I want to keep this business running for many more years to come.

Remember the kids apparel that I have launched around March 2014? The subsequent designs and quality were totally out of the specifications and I decided that I will take a break on kids apparel until I find something good again. I rather not do than to bring in something that spoils my shop’s name. My apologies to my lovely customers who were eagerly looking out for the next selection. Sorry for the disappointment. I hope you had found something you like for your little ones, in the other brands outside that I have recommended.

On our main business, lady apparel, we began to place our emphasize on bringing you the most gorgeous work-appropriate blouses in year 2014. Blouses that have the versatility to double up as a weekend outfit with easy change of bottom pieces and shoes.

The return of the Whimsical Selections were champagne-popping excitements. Until now as I am typing this, I am still beaming with joy that I brought these fantasy, eye-catching prints back to Queenbels. You can read here and here on my covers on both selections.

Whimsical Selections I and II

For ladies who love our dresses, I make sure you have a good range to select from too.

My handsew with love projects made good progress. I did an upsize to two new sizes; kisslock mini clutch bag and kisslock clutch bag.

Handsew with Love_Happy Mint Ruby Daisy Preorder 1

Handsew with Love Kisslock Purse + Mini Clutch Bag + Clutch Bag

Pre-orders came in very quickly for the clutch bags. There were pre-orders of sets of a kisslock purse and a kisslock clutch bag. I was extremely overjoyed with the positive response and I remembered I had to take a few days off from the shop to complete all the pre-orders on time.

Happy Petals Kisslock Purse and The Good Fortune Kisslock Clutch Bag Peony Kisslock Purse + Clutch Bag Ruby Kisslock Purse and Clutch Bag

Shortly after, I progressed to a new size which is between the mini clutch bag and the clutch bag; the kisslock mini clutch bag size two. At the same time, I upgraded the fabric quality of the purse interior, which I wanted to do early last year but I had constraints. To overcome the constraints, I had to do a necessary adjustment across all sizes.

Baby Blue Dot Daisy Kisslock Purse + Lucky Clover Kisslock Mini Clutch Bag

Baby Blue Dot Daisy Kisslock Purse + Lucky Clover Kisslock Mini Clutch Bag size two

I did a price adjustment.

A close regular customer asked me this: “Are you paying yourself?” My reply was: “Do you mean monetary payback? If yes, ya, I pay myself a token.” Making money was not what I had started with when I did my first kisslock purse.

The very observant ones knew I was really paying myself a token. Some were very frank with me. They had actually attempted at making the kisslocks themselves and gave up after making the interior. And emphasized that given the amount of work, effort and time involved, they will never sell their pieces at the old (lower) prices I was selling.

To be honest, I was pretty afraid of doing an upward price adjustment. Very few see the good fabric quality I had chosen, the work and effort put in. I was prepared to see a significant drop in the pre-orders. When the price adjustment took effect, there were a handful who pre-ordered quite a number especially during festive season, never make enquiries again and never spoken a word about my handsew with love kisslocks. There was a slight dent in my morale.

Luckily the majority stayed with me and pre-ordered even more than usual. I know this is their way to show their support and I was very, very, thankful and grateful. Thank you very much.

I continue to acquire more new fabric prints to produce my handsew with love kisslock products.

Merry Dots Kisslock Purse Lucky Clover Kisslock Purse in Tangerine Baby Blue Dot Daisy Kisslock Purse
The Sassy Pink Kisslock Purse Red Dot Daisy Kisslock Purse Happy Rainbow Petals Kisslock Purse

I was inspired to do a theme launch too. The Friendship Kisslock Purse.

The Friendship Kisslock Purse

About two weeks before we wrapped up for Lunar New Year, I finally found a fabric print that I have a feel for, that I want to do for 2015 Lunar New Year Edition. I squeezed in time to complete two sets of Happiness in Full Blooms Kisslock Purse and Kisslock Mini Clutch Bag size two. Totally worth the time when one set was sold within an hour of launch.

Happiness in Full Blooms Kisslock Purse and Mini Clutch Bag

Happiness in Full Blooms Kisslock Purse and Mini Kisslock Clutch Bag size two

Thank you very much for loving my handsew with love kisslock products. Thank you for willing to buy and use what I have made.

Today is Day 12 of Lunar New Year 2015. Celebration stretches for fifteen days and I hereby once more, wishes all who celebrates, Happy Lunar New Year 2015!

Happy-Lunar-New-Year-2015

Business resumes in the shop tomorrow ie 3 March 2015. It is going to be a short week though as I still need abit of time to wrap up the back-office work. I am setting new shopping hours in the shop which will take effect 10 March 2015. Stay on our Facebook page for instant updates.

Cheers,
Shirley

3am Inspiration and Thoughts

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This logo was a 3am inspiration.

It has been on my mind for awhile to do a new logo for Queenbels. I even have the thought of coming up with a new name for Queenbels. When the mind is blank, means it’s blank. No matter how much time I spent sitting in front of my laptop and staring at the screen, trying to create something, nothing comes out.

Sometimes you got to believe in fate. When it comes, it comes.

I love this new logo. Love is an understatement.

I sent this logo to a few people and all came back with a ‘thumb up’ reply.

Queenbels Logo 2014

Queenbels Logo 2014

A few nights later, I sat alone in my home office.

Deep in thoughts.

I threw a few points out and the answers that bounced back called for some changes. Very necessary changes.

There are two things that I have to revise.

Firstly, fix the store shopping hours.

The last time I did a change in the shopping hours was October 2013. Not too long after, the festive season kicked in and I had to extend the hours, opened the shop almost everyday except Sundays. Then the festive holidays came and we went on a once a year break. Then the new quarter arrived and the procurement cycle starts again.

The shopping hours were all jumbled up again.

So here we are now in June 2014.

I took nearly the whole of June to look into some brutal observations that surfaced late last year and early this year.

Going forward, with effect from 1 July 2014, the store shopping hours are as follow:

Monday to Friday, 11am to 7pm.
Saturday, 11am to 5pm.
Except Wednesday, Sunday and public holidays.

I go on meal break between 2.30pm and 3.30pm. Kindly avoid this hour.

With the new shopping hours, we will do mailing once a week, that is every Wednesday. If you place an online order, payments have to reach us latest Sunday night so that we have time to do the parcel packings on Mondays and Tuesdays and get them all ready for despatch to the post office on every Wednesday, except public holidays. Post office is closed on public holidays.

Local addressees, you may opt to do self-collection at the shop too.

The second thing is, I am scrapping the private shopping service.

As the number of customers grow, it gets increasingly difficult to schedule private shopping sessions for each and everyone. There were a couple of incidents when the hours were overlapped and some ladies were really displeased about it. To keep things simple and easy for everyone, with the new shopping hours, you may walk in anytime during the store opening hours except the meal break hour, to shop.

However, I am keeping this service, exclusively for my long time customers. Customers who are with Queenbels since the webstore days more than four years ago and have also become our VVIP.

These ladies are awesome and people who I am very grateful to. They hold a very special place in Queenbels. Without their strong support since our webstore days, there is no Queenbels. You won’t see the shop today. Back then, they were already buying from Queenbels without even trying on the apparel. When I participated in bazaars, they came and support. When I opened this shop, they came to support and bring their friends, sisters, cousins, mothers and helped spread word about Queenbels.

I don’t know what good I have done to deserve these.

This is why I am going the extra miles for them even when I have to scrap off some services.

On days when I close the shop for private shopping appointments, I will try to put up an advance notice on our Facebook page.

If you have questions on the above changes, feel free to email us at shop@queenbels.com.sg or text me at my mobile number.

I look forward to the continuing support from all of you.

Cheers,
Shirley

Let’s Go Baby!

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This is me all happy after ticking off the to-do tasks.

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It was a fruitful procurement trip.

New designs for the new quarter are confirmed. Made new business contacts whom one of them is an awesome sweet young owner.

Very importantly, I managed to seal the deals on the kids apparel. This took me seriously long time to materialise. Another step forward for Queenbels. I also returned with limited restocks of previously all sold designs, extensions of the previous selection and beautiful shawls and wraps. As I am writing this, most of them are all sold.

Thank you for always supporting and loving Queenbels. The only thing I can do to make your support worth, is to continue to introduce good selection of apparel and  and keep it up with the customer service.

I am hopelessly in love with the fine selection of shawls this time. There is something for everyone. Chess Board Shawl in Blue is for the ones who want elegance in subtle. Rose Silk-Feeling Shawl is for the flamboyant and Chess Board Shawl in Lime is for you if you like a pop of colour.

All shawls are all sold. Thank you so much for the awesome support. I am already looking and selecting new prints for the next batch of shawls. Stay on our Facebook page for updates.

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Remember our pretty Tiered Ruffles Chiffon Blouse in Baby Pink?

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Tiered Ruffles Chiffon Blouse in Baby Pink

I have brought back this design in a dress! This is the first time I do extensions of an existing design and I am so happy this is so well-received.

Tiered Ruffles Chiffon Dress in Baby Blue

Tiered Ruffles Chiffon Dress in Baby Blue

Close up of the pretty ruffles

Close up of the pretty ruffles

Not only that. I have also brought back a dress version of our all sold Full Bloom Lace n Curls Chiffon Blouse.

Full Bloom Lace n Curls Chiffon Blouse in Pink Violet

Full Bloom Lace n Curls Chiffon Blouse in Pink Violet

Tadah! Full Bloom Lace n Curls Chiffon Dress in Dark Blue. As at now all available instocks are sold. I have left my own piece in the shop for pre-order purposes.

Full Bloom Lace n Curls Chiffon Dress in Dark Blue

Full Bloom Lace n Curls Chiffon Dress in Dark Blue

I have also brought back previously all sold Rose Lace Crepe Blouse in a new colour, baby pink!

Rose Lace Crepe Blouse in Baby Pink

Rose Lace Crepe Blouse in Baby Pink

I have kept a piece each of all the above designs because I have missed out keeping the previous versions for myself.

There are many more new designs which I have already listed on our Facebook page, in the photo album ‘New Designs Are Now In Store‘. If you can’t come and shop in store, feel free to email your orders to shop@queenbels.com.sg and we will send you your purchases via registered mail.

Thank you so much for the lovely support. More gorgeous designs are hitting our rack this new quarter so stay tuned right here and don’t go anywhere else.

Cheers!
Shirley

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