Make a choice that reflects your ambitions
Building a start-up is a feat that frightens even the best of us. From conducting market research to creating a compelling brand proposition, the list of to-dos continues interminably, and all at little capital and even fewer resources.
At age 25, Shahnaz Nazimuddeen faced every challenge that a young entrepreneur possibly could. With a belly full of fire, she single-handedly navigated through the throes of fund raising, dealing with suppliers and managing customer flow. A short but strenuous four months later, Shahnaz’s online home décor business, Lovlihaus, has now grown its presence to penetrate the relevant markets in Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei.
Since young, Shahnaz has always been enraptured by her mother’s tradition of throwing tea parties. While her mother fussed over floral chinaware and laced napkins, Shahnaz found herself standing close by, bright-eyed, absorbing the colours and details of the scenes that unfolded before her. When guests arrived, the pair then entertained an endless stream of questions about resourcing for similar frills and trimmings. As the number of her mother’s house parties grew beyond count, Shahnaz began to realise that there was a startling demand for home décor accessories within the local market.
Stepping into adulthood, Shahnaz then made it her mission to create a one-stop platform for Singaporeans to acquire unique but functional display pieces for the beautification of homes. Having graduated with an arts degree from the United Kingdom, Shahnaz’s education was very much rooted in design. While she was confident of managing the creative aspect of her start-up, the pragmatist in her was convinced that her lack of business acumen would be the Achilles’ heel of Lovlihaus. As such, Shahnaz enrolled herself in the Master of Business Administration (MBA) at PSB Academy.
Offered by the University of Newcastle Australia, the year-long programme equipped Shahnaz with both knowledge and skills to operate effectively within the international business community. She said, “The MBA programme has definitely built my confidence in dealing with multiple stakeholders. Through an in-depth understanding of cross-cultural management, I am now able to liaise with vendors and suppliers from different countries better. Furthermore, knowing how to do a thorough company and competitor analysis was valuable in helping me determine the competitive advantages of my business, the weaknesses to address and the opportunities to pursue.”
Although Shahnaz began her master’s programme as the new and youngest kid on the block, the home-grown entrepreneur did not allow timidity to overcome tenacity. She leveraged the interactive nature of lessons to engage in meaningful conversations with her more business-savvy counterparts, and often approached the pool of friendly lecturers with questions about the field. The sum of these experiences served to add value to her understanding of managing and expanding Lovlihaus.
Since completing the Masters programme, Shahnaz launched an online website which serves as the front door and primary transaction platform of Lovlihaus. Applying her artistic know-how in combination with her new-found knowledge in business strategy, Shahnaz is positive about growing her business regionally. While sales of products may ebb and flow according to different seasons such as festive holidays, Shahnaz is confident that her passion for artisanal home décor accessories will translate into a lucrative and successful career.