My Experience in Public Garden

NIKO has never joined any bazaars in Indonesia aside from that time we had a display booth next to Studio Tropik’s. That was it. After 9 months of operation, I finally decided that I wanted to test the market in Singapore because I have big dreams for NIKO – being one of (or not the only) leading faux eyelashes brand in Asia. With these dreams, it’s useless if I don’t take action on it.

So then I applied to Public Garden. The application process itself took a short time, probably in 3 days, I had my booth paid and ready to go. I had little to no expectations whatsoever because I am aware that Singaporeans are not too beauty-crazed compared to Indonesia and the US. Also, Singaporeans love a very natural look, so my Ashley lashes will not be a hit.

I traveled to Singapore with my dad and we stayed at Carlton Hotel in City Hall, it was a convenient 15-20 minute walk to Suntec through the City Hall underpass which passes Esplanade. Pretty convenient and it was a very homey hotel. I liked it a lot and reminded me of Mandarin Orchard.

Public Garden was held at Suntec’s Convention Hall and it literally was a huge hall. There were a handful of Indonesian, Thai, Taiwanese, Hong Kong and local brands. The stalls were pretty random, ranging from wooden toothbrushes to themed socks to canvas bags to earrings to pottery… I was the only one selling anything beauty related. Let’s just say my booth didn’t do the best.

Because there were quite a number of Indonesian sellers, we discussed on how our sales were. Most of them said it wasn’t great. I really won’t recommend you (assuming you’re Indonesian) to open a stall there unless you think you’re gonna sell. Or at least get a revenue of $1000 and also assuming your raw cost of your products aren’t high, eg like earrings. Bags and shoes? Forget about it. How many do you want to bring untuk balik modal?

I would say the crowd itself was also random. For instance in Jakarta, you know there is this certain group of people that will come and look around in bazaars. So we usually have beauty/clothings/accessories booth. Occasionally, we have booths selling kids toys (squishy), shoes, food stalls… But these are pretty rare. In Public Garden, most Singaporeans sell artsy t-shirts or beach-inspired clothings. You know, those that are very in at the moment. Aside from that, I also saw rattan bags going for $60. Dang.

Things that sold really well? No doubt earrings and bags. Not just any bags. Very practical ones, like those cheap ones but probably fit a lot. Or canvas bags.

I had time before opening to go around and see what others are selling. A loooot of people are selling earrings but only very few sold really nice ones. There’s one girl behind me (@lovelystrokes) sold only for 3 hours per day before selling out of E V E R Y T H I N G. It seemed like she had her own fans and they waited for her to open. Amazing. I’m so amazed. Her craftsmanship indeed was the better ones selling in Public Garden, no wonder she did so well.

As a seller in Public Garden, especially one from overseas, there are a lot of things you have to take note of —

  • tickets and accommodation needs to be paid off too (depending where you’re from, it depends. Say the cheapest ticket to Singapore from Jakarta is $200sgd more or less, and hotels are about $100-150 per night.) If that’s about 3 nights and 2 flight tickets… That’s already $700.
  • The booth costs $300.
  • $700 + $300 = $1000. Hence that’s why I say if you’re not sure you can sell $1000 worth of items, then don’t. You’re wasting time and energy. Unless you really want to grab the market and attend Public Garden as a seller again.

That’s from a seller point of view.

As a consumer… well, I really didn’t buy much. I only bought two tiny pots for my flat lays from ohleaf! which is a Singaporean brand. Nothing really caught my eye because I felt like a lot of things were overpriced / not interesting enough. We all marked up our prices for this exhibition and it’s pretty evident. A basic linen dress go up to $170 in Public Garden which is ridiculous. I would much rather spend my money elsewhere.

Overall not the best experience in Public Garden but the team knew what they were doing. That’s all. If I ever visit Public Garden, I would be bringing By/Djo instead of NIKO.

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