How a slowing economy affects companies: Cake retailer Kki Sweets comes up with new ways to boost sales

The Craftholic pop-up themed cafe is a collaboration between cake retailer Kki Sweets and toy retailer Craftholic, to boost sales amid the slowing economy.
Kki Sweets co-founder Delphine Liau and her husband Kenneth Seah, 44, whom she runs the business with. After sales were affected by people cutting back on spending, they teamed up with Japanese plush toy retailer Craftholic to set up a themed cafe. T
Kki Sweets co-founder Delphine Liau and her husband Kenneth Seah, 44, whom she runs the business with. After sales were affected by people cutting back on spending, they teamed up with Japanese plush toy retailer Craftholic to set up a themed cafe. The pop-up cafe has seen daily queues since it opened last month, says Ms Liau.PHOTO: DON WONG FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Cake retailer Kki Sweets has come up with an adorably novel way to boost sales amid the challenging economic outlook.

It collaborated with Japanese plush toy retailer Craftholic to set up a themed cafe, which opened last month. Located within Kki Sweets' existing premises at the School of the Arts, it is the first Craftholic pop-up cafe outside Japan.

It serves Kki Sweets' range of Japanese-inspired cakes, and also sells Craftholic merchandise like plush toys and stationery. "We wanted to try something new and reach out to a new audience," said Kki Sweets co-founder Delphine Liau, who runs the business with her husband.

LUXURIES ARE THE FIRST TO GO

We're doing half (the sales) we used to... Cake is not essential. People are cutting back on their spending, and luxuries are the first things to go.

MS DELPHINE LIAU, the co-founder of cake retailer Kki Sweets, on how sales have been hit this year.

Sales have been hit this year, she added. "We're doing half (the sales) we used to... Cake is not essential. People are cutting back on their spending, and luxuries are the first things to go."

The pop-up cafe has helped - there have been daily queues since it opened, said Ms Liau. It will remain open until Nov 13.

"Retailers are suffering now because, often, we just plug and play. We must be able to create experiences for customers so that they will return again," she added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 14, 2016, with the headline 'How about a plush toy to go with your cake?'. Print Edition | Subscribe