[SG] Attempt to earn pocket money led to starting an e-commerce business

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At age 30, Alfiyan (@bizkut) is an e-commerce veteran, sharing tips with his family, friends and followers on how they can easily make $2,000 to 2,500 just buying and selling on Carousell. Before you dismiss him as one of the “guru” from YouTube ads, Alfiyan honed his skills from a young age.

“I was in secondary school when I started selling unused gifts or items around the house on eBay and Yahoo Auction back in 2004. My parents had to support me and my two siblings, and I only had $5 a week as pocket money. It was barely enough to cover school materials and basic food, so I started using the school computer to post my items online,” shared Alfiyan, who used most of the money to support himself for school and set aside a small amount to “reinvest” by flipping items for profit.

When Carousell started in Singapore in 2012, he quickly switched to selling on the platform as well. “The user-friendly platform made my efforts so much easier! Just snap some photos and list it. Selling on Carousell continued funding me during my National Service till university. I had to cycle to my army camp every day to save money on public transport, and so I invested in a bicycle which I bought from Carousell,” he said. However cycling daily caused saddle soreness, so he had to buy a pair of cycling tights which he felt was extremely expensive then. 

To save money, he tried to sew his own pair of cycling tights himself and for his friends. The demand grew through word of mouth. He started ‘Bizkut’ in 2010 to sell affordable, quality sportswear for the local sporting community, and sold mainly on Carousell, his then-blogshop and social media pages. “I paid an aunty to sew them for better quality, and changed up to eight suppliers from Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan and finally now in China to improve the quality and remain affordable,” he said.

Alfiyan managing his Carousell orders.

Alfiyan has seen ups and downs, from using Carousell for extra pocket money to starting his own business. “Financial difficulties made it extremely hard and slow to run my business. Money can’t be reinvested as I am using it for myself. I started this business off from zero, scratching and clawing my way to what it is now. With the rise of Decathlon in Singapore four years ago, my sales started to drop and I almost gave up,” he shared. Between 2018 and 2019, he started various companies, including a social enterprise The Widaad Project to help youths at risk in 2018, paperbackpackers to train youths in digital media and e-commerce, and a digital media agency HeyhahaSG.

When Carousell announced their partnership with Enterprise Singapore to provide grants to entrepreneurs and SMEs, Alfyian signed up for it and developed his own strategy using the Seller Tools. He added, “Carousell has shown me that starting a business is actually easy and that dreams are possible.”