Angie Ng has taken her family business to new heights by forming a new brand that allows the company to target a different, higher-end clientele.
Having a family business to run is one way some people get into entrepreneurship. Some cynics might say helping to run a family business is not really entrepreneurship because you are not exactly creating something new, but that’s not necessarily the case.
Angie Ng, a qualified accountant who first worked at a bank and then started a business selling accounting software, eventually joined her husband’s family jewellery business, Kelvin Gems, which has been around for more than four decades. But she didn’t just help to run the company, she formed a new brand that allows the company to target a different, higher-end clientele.
This wasn’t an overnight development. Angie joined the family business in 2000 and cut her teeth in the business by travelling the world to learn from top notch designers, sourcing for materials from common pearls to Mexican opals and to rare black diamonds. She did this for more than decade before she would form a new company, Ng Jewels, as a subsidiary of Kelvin Gems. That company’s brand name, “Crafted by Angie Ng”, is for a line of high-quality, custom-made jewellery for a more discriminating clientele.
“I felt there was a gap in our existing customer-base at the holding company Kelvin Gems, and thus decided to create a new lifestyle brand for buyers who are willing and able to pay for a higher range of jewellery,” she says.
The “Crafted by Angie Ng” line consists of uniquely-made jewellery, each with a distinctive design of its own. The materials used are diverse, ranging from precious gemstones to diamond, from mixed media to bead-weaving and wirework. “The designs are light and lacy, delicate and feminine,” she says. “There is a depth in the collection, from simple diamond cluster necklaces and dramatic earrings to engagement and wedding rings.”
Angie says her inspiration comes from everyday life itself: a mood, a color or a texture she observes. From there she draws the inspiration to create the lock on a bracelet, or the setting of a stone in a cocktail ring or the design of how a pair of earrings should dangle. As limited edition pieces, which are personally signed, each item has its own unique properties.
In addition to special collections that she creates from her own inspirations, Angie also does custom designs based on the preferences of her clients. “After listening carefully to what my clients describe, I provide detailed drawings that interpret their ideals and aspirations for a piece of jewellery,” she says. “Whether it is a gift for yourself, a wedding set or a present for your loved ones, you will have and a design custom-made for you.”
When there are urgent or special requests, she is known to create and complete a custom design with 24 hours. That is because she believes that besides crafting high-quality jewellery, customer service and prompt fulfillment is crucial to business success.
For marketing and branding, she relies heavily on word of mouth and online initiatives. “Our outlet showroom is not situated in shopping center, instead we are in commercial building so we drive traffic to our shop with our networking and we also went online several years ago,” she says.
As someone who loves making jewellery, Angie also teaches the craft. To fulfil her passion in teaching, Angie created Elegant Jewellery Studio (EJS), which conducts jewellery-making workshops. “I feel every student should be proud wearing their own creation, right from the very first class,” she says.
EJS offers various levels of jewellery-making courses, for amateurs and hobbyists, for children and adults, and also for the professional who will be provided with certification upon completion of their courses.
Her advice for anyone wanting to be an entrepreneur is to realise that there is no short-cut to success. She herself, of course, worked in the business for many years before creating her own company. “Set a goal, take action to achieve it by constantly reviewing your results and fine-tuning your strategy,” she says.
Oon Yeoh is a new media consultant.