53-year-old garland maker creates app for his family business to stay relevant

Mr R. Jayaselvam (second from left), his wife Anushia Panchalingham, their son J. Jayakrishen and his girlfriend Jazreel Hoo. Demand for the garlands has doubled since Mr Jayaselvam launched a mobile application for his business last year.
Mr R. Jayaselvam (second from left), his wife Anushia Panchalingham, their son J. Jayakrishen and his girlfriend Jazreel Hoo. Demand for the garlands has doubled since Mr Jayaselvam launched a mobile application for his business last year. TNP PHOTO: JEREMY KWAN
Mr Jayakrishen attending to a customer.
Mr Jayakrishen attending to a customer.TNP PHOTO: JEREMY KWAN

SINGAPORE (THE NEW PAPER) - For 34 years, Mr R. Jayaselvam has been tying flower garlands by hand.

In his family business, Anushia Flower Shop, he is the only one that knows how to do this and can tie one up in three minutes.

Business has improved since he launched a mobile application for his business last year.

Demand for the garlands has doubled, from about 30 orders a month to 60, which means Mr Jayaselvam works about four to five more hours every month to cope with the demand.

The launch of the app was challenging as Mr Jayaselvam, 53, is not a tech-savvy person.

With the help of his friend, it took Mr Jayaselvam two months to learn how to make and use the app.

"My friend Vicky sat me down and he taught me step by step because I had a hard time accessing the orders. He used to have to WhatsApp me when an order came in," Mr Jayaselvam told The New Paper at his stand at the Deepavali festive bazaar at Campbell Lane.

Although Mr Jayaselvam used to miss orders because he was unfamiliar with the app, his hard work in diligently learning how to use it has paid off.

Now, he eagerly checks his e-mail whenever a new order comes in.

 
 

"I am a greedy man," he said with a laugh.

"I am old but I am still ambitious. We should always try to keep up with the times. I wanted to find more ways to engage my younger customers."

He also wants to use the application to encourage young people to visit the temple more often.

Mr Jayaselvam said: "Before this, young people would have to make an extra stop to get flowers before going to the temple. It's tiring for some of them who come from work."

GROWING DEMAND

Demand for flower garlands doubles during festive periods, such as Deepavali.

Thankfully, the family has had extra help for the past three years, especially during the bazaar.

His 23-year-old son's girlfriend, Miss Jazreel Hoo, 21, has been coming to help the family at the bazaar.

 

She stays from about 6pm to 11pm when they pack up for the day.

This is the first time that she is so exposed to another culture, said Miss Hoo.

"I came here to spend time with my boyfriend, but I also got to learn many things.

"In the past, if you showed me these decorations, I wouldn't know what they are. But now, I know how they are used."