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Bryden Apparel
from Singapore, Singapore
started April 2014
alexa rank
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Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.

Hi there! I am Donovan from Bryden, which is a clothing manufacturing agency. We specialize in providing a top-notch end to end service for fashion brands to create great quality clothing for their brand.

Our customers are usually small to medium-sized businesses and we take delight in helping them compete with the bigger brands by offering a wide range of customization & product options that are typically out of reach due to large order quantities imposed by manufacturers.

In the 6 months before COVID, we were bringing in $85,000 in monthly revenue and we’re on course to hit more than 1 million dollars in annual revenue.


Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?

Since we were featured in the last article we have a great 7 months period (July 2019 - January 2020) where we were on course to reverse the losses from the previous years and make a profit.

While it’s hard to be perfect in all 3 aspects at the start, a business should strive to remove all personal biases about the viability of the business model, their strengths, and ability to execute and not be overly confident about their revenue forecast.

We tried a few things during this period, which was optimizing our website, SEO, and SEM campaigns. Our paid traffic grew & organic search traffic by 57.81% 8 60.98% respectively compared to the previous 6 month period. All these efforts were done in house which helped our bottom line.


One of the initiatives we tried was to work with a marketing agency to produce some videos and test marketing on Linkedin, but that didn’t work out well as expected.

We also stopped posting on Instagram frequently as we noticed that we were getting too many inquiries that were not our target customers. I came to the opinion that the audience on Instagram will be more suitable for e-commerce brands rather than our type of business.

However, things took a drastic turn as we were entering the period when the factories closed for Chinese New Year in February. The COVID-19 situation has started to unravel in China. The usual 3 weeks factory closure became an extended break till April and was a huge hit on revenue as orders that were halfway in the process couldn’t be worked on.

Thankfully we had a manufacturing partner in Thailand who was able to help on producing some orders for some clients who were impacted by the situation in China.

Currently, we are working on clearing some backlog orders and we are happy to say we have been back on track for most orders!


What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?

The COVID situation and a key member of our staff leaving us before COVID has certainly made us reflect on whatever we are doing and our outlook for the future.

Working from home during the lockdown period was a major adjustment mentally but we were able to cope by having phone /video calls every day & operate without major hiccups as our processes were set up to allow flexibility.

As it was not possible to hire during the lockdown, my partner and I had to take over all the on-going projects from the staff who left.

While it was painful for the handover phase as we have to read all the past conversations to understand the project requirements, it allowed us to review and go through the whole process from start to end.

This created some interesting insights that made us streamline our processes and to spread out the delegations of tasks to my China team to avoid getting in the same situation in the future.

My partner and I have also decided not to hire permanent staff as a replacement because of the current market situation and instead hire freelance project managers to assist us in taking some of the tasks off our plate.

One other key thing that helped us was to double down on focusing on our ideal customer and not to allow too much flexibility in accepting all types of projects. That has led to a happier experience for us.

What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?

Currently, we plan to recover from the COVID situation and achieve profitability on a consistent monthly basis and we are reviewing any complementary services we could offer to our current customers that they could benefit from.

One of the visions we have in mind is to offer design services to help our clients to create stunning designs that can help them to sell more. I think people are naturally drawn to creative and beautiful designs so it will be exciting to see how the design improvement works out!

Have you read any good books in the last year?

One of the most inspiring and mind-opening books I read was You Are Not So Smart by David McRaney. It gave me a better understanding of how the human mind works and how I have certain biases which led to certain decisions being made.

Being more self-aware of these biases has changed my perspective on a lot of things in my everyday life in personal relationships and business.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?

The COVID situation has exposed a lot of businesses that were over-leveraged and led to several closures & bankruptcies. I believe that post-COVID will be an interesting landscape for businesses and they will need to keep in mind the following things to create a sustainable business:

  1. Business and revenue model
  2. The skills/time required to execute the revenue model
  3. Marketing prowess

While it’s hard to be perfect in all 3 aspects at the start, a business should strive to remove all personal biases about the viability of the business model, their strengths, and ability to execute and not be overly confident about their revenue forecast.

It’s good to have a pessimistic perspective as it will frame the mind to think in more creative ways to make the optimistic perspective happen.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

Currently, we are not looking to hire but are on the lookout for collaborations and partnerships with other services providers like designers/agencies to offer more solutions to our clients.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

Donovan Mathews, Founder of Bryden Apparel

Bryden Apparel has provided an update on their business!

8 months ago, we followed up with Bryden Apparel to see how they've been doing since we published this article.

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