Case study: Jewellery brand finds small business solutions with Sleek
4 minute read
On the search for beauty and playfulness
Jewellery brand Morning June was created by founder Jessica Lefort after an unsuccessful trip in Singapore trying to decorate her new daughter’s bedroom. “I came back holding a single cushion and I held it up to my husband, saying ‘this is all I could find!”
Although initial forays into homewares didn’t prove profitable — “I realised that a lot of people only stay in Singapore for 2 or 3 years – so they don’t really settle in and nest”, says Jessica — her eye for quirky, bright and playful pieces soon led to her to building relationships with jewellery artisans both in Singapore and France.
Named for her daughter being born on a June morning, the business began as a sole proprietorship. Jessica took her jewellery range and was exhibiting at pop-up stores and fairs while bringing on board additional jewellery designers and product lines. After a couple of years however, she realised that with business booming, it was time to incorporate a company.
Finding a business partner she could trust
Though she already had a relationship with a corporate services provider, a sour experience led her to keep looking.
“The other provider told me that the price was $2,000 minimum to incorporate, and there always seemed to be tiny things that made the price higher, like $500 to wrap up my sole proprietorship.”
“When I spoke to a friend about it, she was outraged on my behalf – some places would incorporate my company free of charge! I felt like I had ‘expat’ stamped across my head and people were trying to exploit my lack of knowledge.”
After initial discussions with the onboarding team, things felt different with Sleek. “Sleek never made me feel like they were out to take advantage of me – they were there to help.”
As she spoke through the different elements of setting up her small business, she was put at ease.
“It was helpful having someone to talk through the administrative parts of the business. I understand it back home [in France], but here things are different.”
Another favourite feature of Sleek for Jessica was the website interface – “I just filled in all my details online.” And although she’s a short MRT ride away from Sleek’s central city location, she can access her most important documents on the platform at the click of a button.
An accounting team that goes the extra mile
Once the company was set up, it was also time to think about accounting. “Before I incorporated I just put everything in an excel file. Being a sole proprietor, there weren’t so many things to do, but starting a company, it felt like time to do things properly.”
“With Sleek I send all my invoices along to them for bookkeeping and managing my accounts. They even help with inventory for a million of my individual beads that go into the customised rings I stock in store. I think one of the accountants needed to go outside for fresh air at the thought of managing inventory for hundreds of beads with different individual pricing”, she laughed.
“The accounting team is totally supportive, and always respond to my queries within 24 hours or less. Mary Ng [Head of Accounting] is always available on Whatsapp and her energy is infectious. I feel like they take the time to understand the concerns of my business and help in every way they can. They feel like a real business partner.”
Mary agrees wholeheartedly. “I just wanted to help her with her new business – her success felt like our success. I made sure to let her know, for example, that she could claim all revenue expense twelve months prior to her first commercial sales – I told her, don’t throw any receipts away, let’s optimise your tax position.”
It’s not just about the accounting either, with Sleek leveraging our own networks to help where they can. “We’ve also gotten her in touch with other business owners we know where we thought they might work well together”, Mary adds.
The beginning of a new chapter
Jessica recommends Sleek to everyone she knows, particularly other small business owners. “There are many people who are not happy because they find the cost of their corpsec and accountants very expensive. Most of us are trying to do everything ourselves, so each time I meet someone who is talking about accounting, I give them Sleek’s number.”
And what’s next for Morning June? “I’ve just launched my offline store,” Jessica says proudly. “So I’d like to do well and grow my business here – it’s a big step. I know it takes time, but I’m very impatient!”