Changing with the times

In the first of a three-part series, an SME and an industry expert share their views on innovation.

Ms Hoe hopes to leverage Royal Insignia’s experience and capabilities to reach a wider customer base. PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

When it comes to gifts for their loved ones, members of the new generation favour functional gift cards or the latest gadgets over something more personal.

This shift prompted Royal Insignia, a maker of fine gifts and jewellery founded in 2000, to change its business model.

"For the past decades, we have been working discreetly to fulfil the fine gift requirements of our elite customers. And with our artisans' level of craftsmanship and the one-to-one attention we lavish on our customers, we have been successful," says Royal Insignia's product development manager Ms Rachel Hoe.

"But there is a limit to how much we can expand with the present business model. We needed to equip our business model so we could successfully transit between generations," she adds.

With that in mind, Royal Insignia attended the SME Consultation Clinic with the SME Centre @SMF.

After the one-to-one consultation with Mr Lin Yiqun, the centre's senior executive, and Mr Alvin Soh, senior manager of capabilities promotion at Spring Singapore, to understand her company's business requirements, Ms Hoe was advised to embark on a CDG Business Innovation project.

Through this project, Royal Insignia hopes to leverage its extensive experience, skills and capabilities to develop a business model targeted at a wider customer base.

One key step was to understand the motivation and buying patterns of individual customers.

"These insights will not only allow us to better position ourselves in the market, it will also assist us in designing a business model that meets, or even exceeds, the needs of our target customer segment," says Ms Hoe.

Royal Insignia hopes to appeal to customers who still believe in the art of gift giving, especially of luxury items.

"We aspire to create gifts which, because of their impeccable craftsmanship, can stand the test of time; gifts that tug at the heartstrings and will be passed down from generation to generation," she adds.

To aspiring businesses, Ms Hoe advises: "Stay rooted in the present, leverage the past and look into the future.

"When embarking on a new business direction, I have stayed true to my business's core capability while leveraging past experience rather than invest in areas that the company has no experience in."

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