The entrepreneurial streak: handmade earrings for a social cause, thrifted clothes and more
The Refuel Team met with Minc Babes' founder, Nora, to find out more about her various initiatives and startup journey. Read to the end for an exclusive promo code - for Refuel readers only!
What were you doing last Summer? For the longest time, I remember my friends and I spending our school holidays either searching for a part-time job, or toiling in said part-time jobs. Nora's a little different though - last Summer, she spent her time making a whopping 500 unique earrings for sale on her online store, Minimal Concepts.
Right from the beginning, Nora has always been interested starting in her own businesses. Her first venture involved her hopping on the blogshop bandwagon back in the 2010s and starting her own online apparel store, before transitioning to Nora Bakes where she sold cakes and brownies, when the blogshop industry was disrupted by bigger players like Taobao and EZBuy. Her latest venture is Minc Babes, which Nora envisions as a company that holds a bottomless collective of brands.
There are currently two subsidiaries under the parent company Minc Babes - Minimal Concepts and Threaded Concepts. It all started when Nora decided to start selling handmade earrings under the brand Minimal Concepts in April 2019. Then, in January this year, she began the business development of Threaded Concepts, a new brand of thrifted apparels.
The Social Cause
Though Minimal Concepts was founded as a for-profit store, it has since morphed considerably to take on a significant social aspect. Minimal Concepts' earrings will typically be given to the organisations on a consignment basis, and are then sold for fundraising efforts.
Since its founding, Minimal Concepts has already partnered with more than 10 different organisations, supporting their fundraising initiatives. These include a partnership with Peculiaries during Breast Cancer Awareness Month last year, and raising funds for the reforestation and education efforts for the villagers of Berastagi, Sumatra Indonesia through a collaboration with YEP Project ASA Unite. The startup also launched an independent fundraising project to raise funds for the children in Sudan in the midst of the political and humanitarian crisis, with half of the proceeds donated to UNICEF.
On Motivations, inspirations and future plans
Though the competition in the handmade accessories market is huge in Singapore, Nora has found a way to overcome that through her unique designs and collaborations with social organisations. The fulfilment of knowing that she is doing a good deed is a huge push factor and motivation for keeping the startup running. Nora also has a strong social circle of friends and designers, who give her inspiration and advice.
When I first started Minimal Concepts, people were skeptical, and said it would not succeed. But if you really work for it, it will happen.
Threaded Concepts is set to be launched in May this year. This comes as a fresh breath of air for the thrift shop scene in Singapore.
Minimal Concepts is running a sale specially for Refuel readers! Simply follow @min.conc and @hellorefuel on Instagram, and quote 20OFFREFUEL for 20% off a minimum purchase of $10.00 from 17 Feb to 24 Feb.
Nora is also looking for aspiring designers to work with her on Minimal Concepts, and new ideas for Minc Babes. Do drop us a line on any of our social media or at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested!
Learning more about entrepreneurship, innovation or just curious about how startups make money? Find out more about the Minc Babes business model here!
Refuel was founded to inspire aspiring entrepreneurs through the stories of startup founders. We aim to build a global community of entrepreneurs and innovators, and hustle on together.