#BeBoldForChange With Alfie De Meow
International Women's Day marks the day to celebrate acts of determination and strength displayed by women around the world. Throughout this week, we will be featuring various female entrepreneurs who have taken step to #BeBoldForChange and created businesses to improve the lives of others.
Kickstarting this series is the feature of Elaine, founder of Alfie De Meow. Alfie De Meow is a cat-themed jewellery business that is inspired by a family-rescued cat, called Alfie. On top of that, Alfie De Meow donates 10% of their sales to cat welfare groups in Singapore. Read on and find out how Elaine has taken the step forward to give back to society and do her part to help the cats societies in Singapore.
Featuring Founder of Alfie De Meow, Elaine, and Alfie, the cat who inspired the start of Alfie De Meow.
Naiise (N): What were you doing prior to starting Alfie De Meow?
Elaine (E): I was doing retail and ops for a good friend's fashion start-up, Reckless Ericka, and moved to branding for a local tea company, 1872 Clipper tea, where I led and executed the brand strategy, production development, and packaging design.
N: Cool! Tell us more about the moment that felt right for you to start Alfie De Meow.
E: I have been making and selling jewellery since I was 18 years old under various labels. In 2013, we rescued and adopted cat named Alfie that fell and was trapped in a drain under our house. That was when I became a cat lover and started incorporating cat designs into my label. The cat-themed items were snapped up pretty quickly and that's when I decided to start another label, focused only on cat-themed jewellery, which is Alfie De Meow (of course, named after my cat!).
N: What was the boldest decision you have made to make Alfie De Meow happen?
E: In the same way that Alfie was rescued by our family, I always believe that we have to help other cats that need our love and support.
When I started Alfie De Meow, I knew that it has to give back to the local cat community in one way or another, but it was tough because we were not really making much. Yet, I wanted that to be the key foundation of the brand.
Hence, I decided to donate 10% of our sales (not profits) to local cat welfare groups. While this was a no brainer from a branding point of view, this was a bold business decision because it meant that even if we had no profits or were making losses, especially at the start of the business, we still dedicate ourselves to give back - and this is really what's integral to the brand.
N: In the process of making Alfie De Meow happen, have you given up on anything? What are some of the things you have given up on?
E: I invested a lot of time to make Alfie De Meow happen, and inevitably it meant that I had lesser time to focus on developing my other jewellery label. Perhaps it's was less about giving up things but rather finding the right balance to focus on what is important at the right time.
N: Has anyone discouraged you from pursuing Alfie De Meow? How did you take it?
E: Thankfully no one yet!!! If anyone discourages me, I'll let my cat Alfie handle that feller.
N: What were some of the setbacks you have faced along the journey?
E: It's probably more of many small challenges day in day out, rather than any major setbacks. I would like to think that any small challenge that I overcome would only make my next step better (and that I will make lesser and lesser mistakes with time).
N: How has Alfie De Meow helped the society to improve individuals' lives?
E: Through our donations, we have helped several independent local cat groups such as Luv Kuching and CATSI, to defray the medical bills of injured cats rescued by volunteers.
This year we adopted the Cat Welfare Society as our cat charity. We have decided to support their stray cat sterilisation programme to curb the cat population, which tends to be the root of all problems, and also their special appeal cases to help cat volunteers, which is something close to our heart.
N: What's the happiest thing that made you realise pursuing Alfie De Meow is the right decision?
E: When I see how we have made an impact on other cat lovers and volunteers. Also, meeting my customers and hearing about how they adore my jewellery really makes my day. :)
N: Any word of advice for budding female entrepreneurs to #BeBoldForChange?
E: Just follow your gut and persevere!
Show your support to Alfie De Meow and the cat societies here.