With its steadily declining birth rates, Singapore makes for a small market for baby products. But that did not stop entrepreneur Jeffrey Chua from achieving his dream of going global.
The former banker, 41, established Millennium Enterprise – so named because he hopes to “create meaningful products that can last 1,000 years” – in 2016.
He has since launched several brands including the company’s signature NatureBond, which is distributed in more than 20 countries such as the United States, Germany, Italy and Australia.
Within the first year, NatureBond broke even. Over the next five years, it registered more than 30 patents globally. The brand, which targets millennial parents aged between 25 and 36, has sold over one million baby products since 2016 – a feat which would have been impossible if it had just focused on the Singapore market.
On home ground, best sellers such as the baby feeder, silicone breast pump and baby ice cream teether can be found via its online flagship store, at select Motherswork outlets and KrisShop.
The e-commerce boom during the pandemic drove sales up by 25 per cent, says Mr Chua.
The company was quick to plant a presence in global online marketplaces. It opened its T-Mall flagship store in China in 2020, alongside its Amazon store in North America that was launched in 2016. To further extend its reach, it also opened flagship stores on Lazada, Shopee and Walmart.
Not resting on its laurels, Millennium Enterprise is now looking for investors to help it penetrate new markets such as China, India and the rest of South-east Asia.
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Mr Chua and his eight-member team are currently working on a patent-pending design for a baby pacifier, which is targeted for launch by June.
Product ideas can be inspired by almost anything. For example, a common love for chocolate ice cream led the team – whose members are aged 27 to 30 – to come up with a 3D baby teether that looks like an ice cream cone.
He explains: “During one of our meetings, we talked about how as adults, we sometimes like to use our teeth to eat ice cream. So we thought, why not design a tactile 3D ice cream teether for babies? It would not only look cute, but also help with teething functions.”
Taking baby steps is out for Mr Chua, who thinks big.
“In Singapore, we have a very small market… it is precisely because we know we cannot only rely on a local market to grow that pushes us to think beyond our shores in order to thrive.”