Declan Ee always wanted to run his own business.
But when he graduated from the University of London in 2006, he saw his colleagues applying for jobs in investment banking and decided to give it a try.
His first gig? Lehman Brothers.
“I want to see how businesses work around the world. So it’s really exciting.”
But the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 not only affected global markets, it was also a shock to Ee.
“I’m in the subprime mortgage division. I prevented reporters from going to Lehman in Canary Wharf. It bothered me to leave the library at some point.”
… it’s about building a good platform and a strong business to deliver value to your customer.
Co -founder, Castlery
The 39 -year -old Singaporean left the investment bank in 2016, to build his start -up home, Castlery.
Today, the company is bringing in millions and its new units can be found in 300,000 homes around the world, Castlery said. CNBC Make It knows how.
Home furnishings for urban millennials
It all started when Ee returned to Singapore 11 years ago and furnished her wedding home.
His good friend and founder Fred Ji is also looking for modern supplies.
“We gave a connection at that … [the process was] distraction. We want to get good pieces but can’t get them. “
That’s because of things like cost and time management, he explains.
That’s when they had the idea to sell retail supplies to “urban millennials” between the ages of 25 and 45.
“This age group, you go through big changes. You leave school, you start building your business, you get married, you have a child … We add things to our homes,” he said. and Castlery’s president to CNBC Make It.
Ee wanted to give options to young people who wanted to have a “boosting place” or “something better than Ikea,” – without breaking the bank.
In 2013, Ee and Ji first went with Castlery, allowing customers to view a virtual studio and purchase furniture online – a breakthrough in the traditional building industry.
“When shoppers started shopping online for supplies, they realized, ‘I don’t have to go to 25 -storey stores anymore.’ The next time they need to buy something, they will do it again online. ”
Learning from blow-ups
Ee’s knowledge of the investment bank, where he “saw a lot of bombs,” taught him a thing or two about running his own business.
When the money came to Castlery, Ee was determined not to go down the “business street” early in the morning for his start.
“With the VC game, you want to slash your cost every 18 months. And when we started, I knew we had to spend time learning the profession,” he said.
With no experience in the real estate industry, Ee felt he would need six to seven years to build the ropes, which was the longest “financial life” of VCs.
“Well, there’s an argument … that’s the source of the frustration – you don’t understand the concept, because you have to add all the basics.”
But Castlery’s first influx was from families and other businesses that left their businesses.
“Basically, it’s about building a good foundation and a strong business to deliver value to your customers.
The development of the disease
When the disease contracted in 2020, Castlery began to expand into the U.S. market, apart from his presence in Singapore and Australia.
“I thought, alas, this is not expected. He said district locks in 2020, designed to break the chain of disease.
But his emphasis shifted to excitement as he saw the rise of e-commerce, with wide-ranging open spaces requiring consumers to rely on online stores for their customers.
We grew fast, our eyes were green.
Co -founder, Castlery
And while millions of workers have been laid off from their offices and forced to work from home, the “feel of home” has also changed, Ee noted.
“It’s not a place you come back to [after work]. You are doing your work, you are seeking what you want, there are your children. How do you furnish your home because you are spending so much time there. “
With so many people looking to improve their neighborhood, “Castlery is growing fast,” Ee said.
“We’re growing fast. Our eyes are green.”
According to Castlery, the business grew “six times” during the sick period, earning over $ 100 million in the most recent fiscal year ended March 2022, and gaining revenue in 2020.
However, with no illness or disease, Ee believes Castlery’s biggest value is the design and workmanship of his products.
“I talk to customers from America every month and they’re like, ‘We love your washable sofas!’ I thought, ‘Yeah, is that something?’ “
“I think we’re Asians, we’re a real deal,” he said.
Ee added: “They’ll explain to the US, you don’t get this option at this price.” According to him, his accessories are “20% to 30%” better than similar brands on the market.
Each collection is delivered to the customer, an engineer and a designer – all three run a good oil press to ensure the products get to market at the right time and at the right price.
It’s obtained through a “process that has been cleaned up over the years,” Ee said.
“Each collection is given to a customer, an engineer and a designer – all three run a good oil press to ensure the products get to market on time and in a timely manner. buy. “
He added: “[The] The customer knows the best manufacturers to work with. Engineers redesign inefficient processes and the designer creates resources at the best possible cost. “
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Exercise: This story has been updated to explain the deadline for when Castlery expected to seek business funding. It has been updated to reflect the value of the industry in 2020.