NUS Overseas Colleges (NOC) alumnus and NUS Business School graduate Luke Chong’s first taste of the retail business started with a simple e-commerce site, which sold what he personally enjoyed – fun, chic and quirky everyday items catered for youths and young adults.
Like any fledgling entrepreneur, Luke faced challenges such as having to establish credibility with customers and gaining the trust of suppliers. In fact, rejections were initially common as he went knocking on vendors’ doors to source for the best products for his business.
Luke’s efforts eventually paid off and he opened the first TotallyHotStuff physical retail store in 2009. Today, the business has grown to six outlets that are located in various trendy shopping malls like The Cathay, Bugis+ and Orchard Central. Apart from the retail front, the company also fulfills the gifting needs of corporate clients which include Johnson & Johnson, Singapore Armed Forces and Far East Organization. Add to these a popular online web store that is updated with new products regularly, and it’s no wonder TotallyHotStuff is making a name for itself as one of Singapore’s leading lifestyle retail chains.
Luke credits his NOC internship in Stockholm with giving him a head start in business, “It was a major stepping stone in my entrepreneurial journey. I gained invaluable experience while working in a real start-up, which gave me the know-how and ideas that I needed to be an entrepreneur. This inspired me to start my business after returning home and I have not looked back ever since.”
The company is now focused on coming out with more in-house branded items for the international markets. With further plans to expand overseas, starting with franchises in Australia and New Zealand, the future looks extremely exciting for Luke and his mini business empire.