We encounter design everywhere, every day, but seldom do we notice it. So Dennis Tay created a unique store, so shoppers would stop taking design for granted, and start getting inspired.
One of the simplest words to describe something positive is “nice”, and that was exactly what Dennis Tay felt would best represent his company’s values and products. After a wordplay and adapting to the local slang, Naiise the retail store was born.
The range of products available at Naiise is astonishing. From bean bags and bracelets to perfumes and artisanal foodstuffs, even books and speakers, the retailer stocks more than 900 brands and 15,000 products. Its aim is to cater to all shoppers while leaving a deep impression.
“We want you to feel that you’ve gone through an experience when you come to our store and [the experience] was very hard to describe, but you just know that it was Naiise,” says Mr Tay, who founded the business in 2013.
Most of the brands carried by the store are Singapore-born. By promoting local designers, Naiise has played a big role in developing the design and creative cultures of Singapore.
When he started out, Mr Tay had the foresight to be the first in the industry to have large-scale pop-up stores. Naiise’s success today can be attributed to well-timed opportunities such as this, but more importantly, Mr Tay points out, the effort of its dedicated team members has been key.
“The company is very personable,” he tells CompassLoft. “We want to make a connection with the customers. We are not just a brand. You are following a company that has real people… not just robots.”
As someone who started his business from home, Mr Tay had to be self-reliant right from the beginning. He learnt coding to set up Naiise’s website, figured out logistics solutions and worked on a marketing campaign, all on his own. The greatest struggle for him was juggling them all.
It was after a year of labouring alone that he made his first hire. That same year, in 2014, the company outgrew his home and moved to its first office at Ubi Road.
At the beginning of 2015, Naiise opened its first store in Westgate. Today, it has six brick-and-mortar stores, on top of its original e-shop. A possible expansion into international markets is also on the cards.
“At Naiise, everything is different… in that … it’s not something that you see on an everyday street level,” says Mr Tay, explaining the store’s attraction to shoppers. “As long as we are creating value, there will definitely be people who are willing to pay for that.”
Philosophy of design
At the heart of Naiise is the belief that design has an intrinsic value in people’s lives. Design is present in every facet of our society, but most people are not conscious of how it can change lives for the better. They also lack knowledge about what design means and how it can be deployed in fashion, furniture, interior and exterior decors, and more.
Hence Naiise hopes to educate consumers about the value of good design. It makes design accessible to shoppers in their comfortable retail spaces, and encourages them to interact with their products.
“Designer-made goods add intangible values to people’s lives… whether to make people smile or to inspire people. I want to bridge the gap to help consumers to understand the benefits of design,” Mr Tay says.
Each Naiise store is unique in design, layout and product range as they cater to different customer demographics, depending on the location. The whole Naiise team works tirelessly to develop their stores so that more people can enjoy good design and the unique experience that Mr Tay always talks about.
As Cheryl Yong, Naiise’s Public Relations and Buying Manager, puts it: “When you go into a Naiise store, it is about the discovery of products that you never knew existed and needed in your life.”
Draft by Rennes Lee Ting
Edited by Bernice Tang