We had the good fortune of connecting with Wikhe Foong and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Wikhe, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Time. Time is scarce. While we cannot turn back time or do anything about how fast time flies, we could still control how we use it. I wanted to spend my time wisely and not waste another minute in the corporate world to help others achieve their goals, which wasn’t relevant to my goals. I started making miniature earrings as a side hustle in 2015, then I took a break from Miss Dainty Co. (the brand name of my business) for a few years because I could not cope with my corporate job. In 2019, I knew my full-time job was taking a toll on me when I realized I had to work at night and over the weekends, I didn’t have any time to spend with my family and for myself. It wasn’t a 9-5 job anymore. That was when it made me realize, “what am I working so hard for? If I didn’t have time to spend the money that I’ve earned for myself and my love ones.” In 2020, I took a leap of faith and pursued making miniature accessories business full-time. I am very grateful for the fact that my passion/hobby is able to earn enough to pay the bills. It is so fulfilling to know that creating these miniature accessories bring colours and joy to my clients. I feel that I am living a more purposeful life knowing that my end-products impact how people feel directly. Other than that, I also learned how to manage my time wisely and I am so happy that I can spend my time with the people I love and doing what I love which are meaningful to me.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
The market for polymer clay earrings bloomed during Covid lockdown period, because more people had extra time in their hands at home and they started picking clay crafting as a hobby. I think what sets me apart from others is that I focus more on making food miniatures as earrings, instead of the popular statement earrings. I’ve always enjoyed handcrafting since young, especially making tiny things. When I made the decision to turn my passion into a business, I knew that I cannot make miniatures only, because there is no reason for people to buy them. That’s how I came up with the idea to make miniature earrings! In 2015, I started selling earrings only, but now I make pendants, bracelet charms, keychains and also artisan keycaps! Throughout the years of being in this creative career, one of the challenges is to get people to understand why the price of handmade clay earrings are on the high side. It takes hours to craft a pair of earrings and it involves years of experiences and skills developed to make them. It’s funny how people are willing to pay xx amount for a birthday cake, but not the same amount for a pair of earrings. Both takes hours to mould and make, but one is perishable and one is permanent. To overcome this, I am trying to make more videos on Instagram and TikTok to bring more awareness on the behind the scenes work.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Check out Penang Island, this is the most laid-back town in Malaysia! There are loads of good food and coffee, artistic murals, and it’s known for its charming old-town vibe. If you are a foodie, embarking on a culinary marathon should be on top your must-do Penang activities. From hawker food staples like Char Koay Teow to delicious broths like Assam Laksa, and even to scrumptious snacks like Rojak, If you’re looking for a fun night out with drinks (do it responsibly though), then head on over to Upper Penang Road to discover Penang’s fun nightlife. The streets of Penang Georgetown are literally filled with interesting art pieces that depict the daily life and culture of Penangites. This is one of the main reasons why there are so many more bicycles on the street on the island now than say, 10 years ago. Due to the sheer number of art murals in the city, hunting for them all is a legit day-long activity. And most likely (and for your sake of convenience), it would be ideal to rent a bike.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My husband, without a doubt! He supported me from day one, relentlessly. It was my husband who encouraged me to sell my designs online back in 2015 when I had no confidence to do it and it was also him that supported my decision to do this full-time. He is my pillar of strength.