As an apprentice jewellery craftsman, young Mr Michael Teo observed that women love diamonds, but only the well-heeled could afford them. Hailing from a humble background, this spurred young Mr Michael Teo to dream of making jewellery affordable for more people.
In 2001, Mr Michael Teo opened his first jewellery store in Clementi. As the boss of a small company, he found himself having to oversee every aspect of the business, from procurement to sales. Despite meeting countless obstacles, Mr Michael Teo did not give in. He learnt from his mistakes and worked tirelessly, for 16 to 18 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Many companies selling luxury goods were hit hard by the Global Financial Crisis of 2008. Taka Jewellery was an exception. Its unique selling point of offering fine jewellery at affordable prices turned out to be a blessing in disguise and allowed the company to tide over the crisis.
Today, Mr Michael Teo’s Taka Jewellery Pte. Ltd. consists of over 17 jewellery stores in Singapore. On top of its retail success, Taka Jewellery has earned itself a stellar reputation overseas through its exports of well-crafted and well-designed diamond and gemstone jewellery to more than 40 countries across five continents.
Looking back, he confesses that building his business was a ‘trial and error’ process. Mr Michael Teo shares that in order to be a successful entrepreneur, it is important to keep to one’s promise to earn the trust of others, to have the courage to innovate and experiment new things, and to have strong self-belief in one’s abilities.
Business acumen, or in his words, ‘sharp eyes’, are crucial for entrepreneurs to get ahead of their competition as the business world changes continuously and rapidly. For instance, in the past, jewellery purchase was a form of investment with the aim of preserving value and wealth. Today, jewellery is increasingly viewed as a status symbol rather than an investment. Companies have to take advantage of this trend to grow their businesses. For Mr Michael Teo, he keeps himself abreast of developments and trends in the jewellery market by reading both local and international news, and participating in trade fairs.
Despite his glittery success, Mr Michael Teo remains a simple and down-to-earth man who prefers to go about unadorned. Day in day out, he continues working towards his dream, which is now embodied in the mission and tagline of Taka Jewellery – “To share the joy of fine jewellery with everyone”, “Because every woman deserves true value”.