Posts Tagged ‘ Kuala Lumpur ’

Building a Retail Store – Flayva Boutique

As discussed in my previous blogs, I planned to share all of my experiences ranging from personal to business and I would like to begin with building a retail store. The information provided is provided free and all rights reserved to the respective companies mentioned here.

So building a retail shop from an empty was fun and as I always say, you should have fun doing what you do and do what you do with passion to learn. I was excited to have my company contracted to consult on this project. With much retail and hospitality industry experience, this was a piece of cake and definitely so much fun!

The store location was in Melaka in Malaysia, the heart of tourism in the state of Melaka. The owner is Stanley Seow, who you will see in my Tai Cheh Kong and Friends Videos on YouTube.

So to begin I will show you the layout, the design, the problems, the headaches, the heartaches, the financial implications and basically all the secrets revealed for you. the pictures and videos of the empty shell in the Palawan Megamall and how we transformed this into a successful booming little money maker.

The concept is simple, with a homely feel. Some keywords we brainstormed were: Picnic, House, Homely, Warm, Spain. We really hashed out the colours, tones, lighting with simplicity in mind. From the pictures below you will see show rack, picnic table, hat stand, make up stand and flowers behind the counter.

The initial design as drawn by me using Home 3D software:

Pre software layout:


First design:


Second design:


So when the work began the floor was just simple concrete floor and white walls. My budget here was about $35,000 U.S inclusive of rental, fees, business registrations and first batch of stock. The cost of fit out was the biggest hurdle to combat, since the contractor obviously will charge for time, materials and other specifically designed items.

The custom made designs: 2 Awnings, Counter, Shelving and Picnic Table.

So we drew up an excel spreadsheet outlining all the costs and what we believed we would need. If you would like a copy of the budget, feel free to leave a comment.

As well as budgeting, part of our research was to check out the competition and finding out how much of our products would conflict with the stores surrounding us.

So our search began and just as we found many shops selling ladies fashion, we found that some products were identical, the same or copies in some way. This shouldn’t deter you from setting up a store. It’s now time to get creative!!

So how do you do that when the products the same?

Well for example almost 15 shops were selling black leggings, stockings, earrings and accessories. What we did was so simple yet time consuming. The stockings were packed into plastic cake boxes, which were displayed in a “cake fridge”.

As you will see from the pictures below, the basics began to come together quite quickly and at this point, I spent around $8K USD. Also at this point the shop was so close to opening date and there was big mistakes.


1. The wording on the signboard was crooked and the contractor insisted that it wasn’t. So we got 2 metres and put them against the ends of the words and strangely enough they were about 12cm out!

Remember the contractor doesn’t care about the detail too much as long as it remotely looks close to the design in his brief. The reason he wouldn’t agree?

Well the words “Flayva Boutique” were super glued to the wall. To fix, he would rip the paint, damage the letters and guess who pays for this mistake? He does!

2. The awnings were terrible! These were the main feature of the shop and they were horrible. The ends were frayed and curling. The cost of these awnings were high so now the contractor was in a bit of dilema and he sure wasn’t going to change them at his cost. So we went back to the contract which he gave us and he was at fault, but we allowed some leeway here. We asked to have new ones made and the material changed. However, due to the outsourcing of the awning, it was going to cost him a fortune. So we negotiated to pay a small percentage for his loss, but he still had to replace the awning.

The point here is, no matter how much the contractor may lose, you must focus on your dreams here. If the smaller details are avoided, your overall dream will be shattered. So I argued for over 1 hour to have them change the material. Check Check Check Check Check Check Check Check EVERYTHING!

See below:

Curling Awning – Looks ugly right!


Does this look new? Not at all! Plus it’s ripped.


Anyway it all started to come together once I had the awning replaced and checked all the shop checked over by Stanley and we really ticked off each individual item off. Right from the dirt on the floor, to a tiny hand mark on the wall.

You can see the pictures here of Flayva Boutique before it was finished.

The day came for the handover of keys and excitement filled the atmosphere, with some fear with how to fill in a few days with stock that had just arrived from warehouses around the world.

The stock was all aimed at the average Asian girl who wanted to look sassy, gorgeous and not pay fortune for her clothing, accessories and shoes. So this is how we did it ….


How did I choose the products, without knowledge of Ladies’ Asian fashion?

This was the most fun part! First I got the owners to walk around with me in the city of Kuala Lumpur and point out exactly what they thought a girl should be dressed like and the clothes they should buy from their store.

Second and funniest part was to get a bunch of fashion magazines and cut out some pictures and mixed and matched some tops with skirts, shorts with tops, accessorize this and that. Well I will brutally honest, but I sucked! However I persisted and found myself becoming quite the fashion expert.

So then to source these HOT items. How when where?

There are way too many resources to mention here but the biggest secret would be to click here. It’s the best and safest. Tonnes of resources and many people find legitimate suppliers there. Even if you have a doubt, you just leave your question and the staff will research and give you feedback.

When you buy from China, Thailand, Vietnam and Korea, there’s no guarantee of safety. I used it to source 5 out of 10 repeat suppliers that Flayva now orders from. IT is worth a lot more than a couple of hundred bucks, but so cheap and easy to get help.

So after I sourced and contact my suppliers through salehoo, I asked the forums in salehoo and great responses were given and I continued to do business with my suppliers.

I got samples to some products free, catalogues and pictures (which is great for online shops etc.).

Then obviously the wholesalers locally were great to get a start, BUT yes BIG BUT, the price you pay here is 100% of your profits in THEIR pockets.

When sourcing from outside your home country, yes you can get a great price but I recommend to really do your homework. Salehoo will teach you everything about this.


Well well well this is the worst part! Data entry and pricing. Well what do you do?

Get yourself a POS system! So what POS system should you get?

Well for hardware you can choose any cheap computer from your local computer store and you probably think I am crazy that I would suggest Salon Iris for retail. BUT it is amazingly powerful software that allows you to do so much with your products and clients that doesn’t cost you a fortune.

It prints bar codes, loyalty points, customer database, lay by, refunds, security, password protected sections. IT’S AMAZING for the price!

You can even lease the program, making it tax deductible. It is around 40$ US / month.

So you get yourself registered, and start entering the data. The better the POS system, the more control you have over your sales, stock and inventory control.

Once you have entered the products, get your labels printed and start tagging the products. Ensure you have protection against price changes in your software. Salon Iris actually allows you to password protect individual clicks and records everything.


You will need to get yourself a good salesperson, an expert in fashion and has a passion for clothing. So we placed an ad on the window in the mall and within a few days we were ready to go.

The initial few days, I watched the shop from near and far and monitored the traffic. By doing this for a few days, you really can get a picture of YOUR market, not your competitors.

This is not the staff but one of the partners. Mandy is an expert on fashion and training the staff was completed thoroughly with her sound guidance.


So now we’re ready in many ways … So what was the result … Click the pics to view!


I don’t know how many nights we spent awake to put the ideas together, but with headaches, countless coffee and minimal sleep, the success of the shop was destiny. You know what though, it was worth it and was quite easy. Just plan and prepare for small windfalls and always ask!!!

My friend and client was completely satisfied and really made me feel the future of the shop will be a complete success.

If you require more information or assistance, you may call or email me. If you want to visit Flayva Boutique, you are more than welcome to do so in Melaka Palawan Mall.

Thank you for reading …

With love,

Micho – itsmylawofattraction