From colorful macrons to local delights, you wouldn’t believe these clay accessories are painstakingly handmade. What struck us about Shylyn’s craft is the intricate designs and attention to detail!
Looking at her works, you would think that she’s a professional artist who has been crafting for a long time. In fact, Shylyn only started crafting with polymer clay in recent years as she was inspired by her second child who has Autism Spectrum Disorder.
“In my attempts to facilitate my child in alleviating his sensory disturbances with clay molding, I discovered my own passion for polymer clay crafts in late 2020.”
Inspired by her designs and curious about her story, we sat down with Shylyn to learn about how she built her handicraft business.
Turning setbacks into opportunities
Both Shylyn and her husband are home tutors who are passionate about education. Initially, she was a school teacher but became a home tutor as she wanted to spend more time with her children.
However, when Covid hit, Shylyn had to grapple with new challenges. In-person tutoring wasn’t allowed during the Circuit Breaker and lessons had to be conducted on Zoom.
“Teaching students on Zoom wasn’t easy because it’s harder for them to focus,” Shylyn shared, “That’s why many parents chose to take a break [from tuition] during that period of time.”
With these sudden changes, Shylyn’s income took a hit. And that propelled her to start a side business selling handmade clay wearables.
Having a supportive community helped kickstart her business
Shylyn first started making local miniature food and gave them as gifts to relatives and friends. Needless to say, her crafts were so well-received, that her loved ones encouraged her to sell them online on Instagram. And that’s how her online business, The Shy Crafter, was born!
“I must say that I’m very lucky to have supportive customers who spread the word about my crafts,” Shylyn shared, “When I have pop-up events, some followers would also come to visit.”
Through expanding her range of designs, Shylyn also attracted pet enthusiasts who were looking for customized Paw Friends Figures.
As her following grew, she got the opportunity to be featured in Singapore’s Channel 8 Morning Express News, which helped increase her reach and boost sales.
Besides word of mouth and media coverage, Shylyn also attributes her success to the support she receives from her husband.
“He helps me in every way possible—from sourcing for materials, delivering custom orders, and looking after the kids when I have orders to rush!”
“I got to know an awesome friend who helped me register an account with Cococart”
While media exposure and a supportive community helped boost Shylyn’s sales, she realized that she needed an effective system to scale her business.
Initially, she was reluctant to set up her own Cococart account because she wasn’t IT savvy. However, a supportive friend helped her through the process and even created an account on her behalf!
“Before using Cococart, I was taking orders on DMs and WhatsApp,” Shylyn explained, “I would need to take note of their orders and customizations.”
As a mother of four, Shylyn has to juggle different responsibilities. She needs to take care of her children, make time for tutoring students, craft, and prepare for deliveries.
“With Cococart, it helps me streamline my processes. I don’t have to worry about texting customers or updating inventory especially when I have other commitments at hand.”
Growing her business by 300% in 1.5 years
Initially, Shylyn wasn’t confident in pricing her products. However, with encouragement from friends and family, she stayed away from undercharging her handmade crafts.
On top of the designs she lists in her Cococart store, Shylyn also experiments with creating unique designs for special occasions.
“Besides my usual designs, I create seasonal designs too. Therefore, sales during festive periods are sometimes better than in other months.”
As with most independent craft businesses, she sees ups and downs in her revenue. However, with consistent support from her community, she has managed to increase her reach many new customers in just slightly over a year.
An encouragement to those who dream of starting their side business
When asked if she could give a word of advice for those who dream of turning their passion into a business, Shylyn has this to say:
“Be ignited by passion, fuelled by creativity and sustained by love for what you begin with, even when there is no immediate result.”
“It’s important to try your best to work towards your passions because only then can you do it well in the long term.”
Toying with the idea of starting your online business? The first step will always be challenging but with enough passion, you’ll find that it’s not as daunting as you imagined.
Sign up for an account with Cococart and kickstart your first steps in turning your passion into a business today!