Mrs Lai: Continuing The Legacy Of Traditional Chinese Wedding Business
Of all the Chinese traditions, the traditional Chinese wedding carries with it the richest and most colourful rituals. Introduced since the era of Confucius and still being widely practiced until today, traditional Chinese weddings commonly observe the rituals known as the Three Letters and Six Etiquettes.
With these rituals come elaborate preparations. Helping young couples and their families gather what they need, I Wedding has been in the Chinese traditional wedding merchandise business for three generations now. Second generation owner, Mrs Lai, has witnessed how this
rich tradition—and business–have been preserved over the years.
In fact, Mrs Lai’s mission as an entrepreneur goes beyond helping couples and their families prepare everything they need from betrothal to wedding day. For Mrs Lai , I Wedding is about preserving the tradition and handing it down to the next generations. In this interview, Mrs Lai opens up on the secret behind I Wedding’s longevity, and what she has learned as an entrepreneur on overcoming setbacks and reaping success.
Top Success Secret: Meet Tradition With Innovation
While I Wedding has enjoyed the patronage of many couples over the years, Mrs Lai is not one to rest on her laurels, especially because the wedding merchandise industry is becoming fiercely competitive.
“In the few years, we are getting more and more competitors. For example, when we started at People’s Park, we were the only wedding shop in town. But after a few months, one competitor opened their store right behind us. Now, there are at least 3 – 4 stores around the area,” she shares.
Apart from competition, Mrs Lai also recognizes the challenges of having more and more couples who, despite wanting to have traditional Chinese wedding, are more modern in their perspectives. To overcome these challenges, Mrs Lai believes in blending tradition with innovation. Over the next five years, she plans to create an e-commerce website where clients can easily view options and place orders – from invitations, dowry baskets, to the letter from the matchmaker– to prepare for a memorable traditional Chinese wedding.
Three Principles Every Entrepreneur Should Have
“I believe every business has its own operating model. For us, it’s service. From the day we started, we have not done any advertisements. All of our business comes from referrals by satisfied customers,” Mrs Lai shares.
Apart from delivering excellent service, Mrs Lai also admonishes young entrepreneurs to live by the principles of Determination and Trust.
“Trust is an important cornerstone because a wedding is a sacred event and there isn’t any room for mistakes. Since the customer trusts us, we want to make sure we deliver even if it means losing money,” shares Mrs Lai.
Staying Committed To Business and Tradition
Along with her 7 employees – some of whom were former clients who now help her as volunteers or part-time staff– Mrs Lai jumps out of bed everyday excited to attend to customers at the store again.
More importantly, she desires to help preserve the Chinese traditional wedding from fading away into oblivion.
While other wedding merchandise stores have already set up ecommerce shops, Mrs Lai still operates a traditional store while the creation of her ecommerce store is pending. That said, Mrs Lai does not fear losing customers to competition. “We just have to be confident in ourselves and on the service we provide and let nature take its course,” she shares.
Mrs Lai admits that being an entrepreneur is not easy. “When you don’t have business, you are worried. When you have business, you worry about manpower,” she shares. But, she finds great satisfaction in being able to serve her customers, no matter what challenges lie ahead. “In fact, this to me is my most favourite aspect of being entrepreneur,” she says.
Just like the tradition which she would like to help preserve, Mrs Lai feels a great sense of accomplishment when she is able to preserve relationships with her customers. “We feel successful when our happy customers come visit us with their babies,” she shares. And in that note, the tradition and business continues on.
I WeddingBlock 32 New Market Road #03-1088 Singapore 050032 Contact: 65338234