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Meet The Maker : byiroiro

We interviewed Eileen, founder of byiroiro. With every item  carefully handcrafted in her home studio, with special care to ensure that the design is suited for use in our humid climate. Eileen hopes that more people are able to appreciate the warmth of a handmade item in their daily life, and in doing so, take small steps towards a more sustainable lifestyle.

1.Tell us a little about yourself and your journey to owning your own business/brand.
I have a background & career in IT which required me to be logical & analytical - in contrast, making something by hand allows me to switch that part off and just create, and feed my other senses. byiroiro started off with a simple goal - if everyone could experience the tactile warmth of a handmade piece in their everyday lives, it too would soothe their souls as they use it daily. 

2. What is the first item you created? What was the story behind it?
When I had my baby, I searched everywhere for the ‘perfect’ baby washcloth. There were limited options at that time, and as a new mom, I was hyper-conscious about where the material came from. So I purchased organic cotton yarn grown & cultivated in Peru that used no artificial dyes, and crocheted a stash of baby washcloths myself. These have been in the family and used ever since. When I decided to start byiroiro as a brand, washcloths were one of the first things I made.

3. What are some problems you have faced when creating a brand?
As a small business owner, I don’t have the luxury of wholesale prices when purchasing raw materials. Additionally, as a sole maker, I do not outsource my work to cheaper labour. Hence keeping costs low is a huge struggle. Helping the general public understand the costs involved in a handmade item is also something that I need to constantly do. 

4. What was the most heartwarming comment that you have received for your business?
“Thank you for doing what you do.” Comments like these make me get up & continue to create.

5. How did you envision your brand in shaping the world around you?
Sustainability is a huge & difficult topic. In growing byiroiro, my goal is to simplify the issue of sustainability with every item that I make, and deliver that message in a direct, concise manner. I hope to give people alternative products that they know, beyond a doubt, is totally natural, and that will help them do their bit for the earth.

6.What is the greatest lesson you have learnt while building your business?
As a maker, it is easy for me to make something that I love and offer it as a product. But sometimes, not everything that I love to make is suitable for sale. Some things just cost too much, some may not withstand daily use etc. When that happens,  I have learnt to trim down my product line so that I can totally stand behind whatever I have. 

7.What wise words do you have for people who want to start their own business?
A business is only as good as its customers. Focus on your customers - and deliver what they need, when they need, in a way that is convenient for them.
8. How do you feel the Naiise Marketplace can help sellers with their business?
Naiise marketplace weaves together a story about the landscape & culture behind Singapore designers & makers. For someone unfamiliar with our maker culture, I hope that it will give them a better understanding of the talents & passion of local creators.
Shop byiroiro at now! 
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