My idea for our brand ODORE came about sometime in year 2010, when I discussed with my Husband about how we would lead our lives when our Sons will leave home to lead their own lives.
At that time, I was an early childhood educator at an international school while my Husband was a violin teacher at his own music school. Both our Sons were in secondary school, and they were already self-sufficient with their meals and laundry.
I proposed to join my Husband full time to grow his music school, but he was cautious about the idea. My Husband shared that the music teaching industry was a gig industry, and he felt that a business model built on a gig industry may not be a business we could grow, in particular when we always wanted to build our own brand.
Instead, my Husband suggested for me to consider the wellbeing business. This idea made sense to me, as we were already “healers” at our work. While I nurtured my Students at the international school, my Husband guided his Students’ along their musical aspirations.
My Husband also meditated with a scented candle beside him before he slept. Thus when I proposed to explore the business of scented candles, my Husband supported me.
I began my research, and decided to focus on candles that contained only natural ingredients, since candles that contained man-made chemicals would conflict our idea of wellbeing.
My research led me to Living Light Candles in New Zealand and to its founder Cynthia Baur. In the course of my communications with Cynthia, she not only encouraged me on my entrepreneurial journey, Cynthia also inspired me with stories of her successes and failures during her own entrepreneurial journey.
Cynthia also introduced me to Linden Leaves Pure Bodycare, also from New Zealand.
Although at first glance, products from Linden Leaves Pure Bodycare and from Living Light Candles came across as different product categories, I gradually saw the similarity for wellbeing in these two product ranges, that is, aromatherapy bundled into functional product forms. Both brands also used natural ingredients in their products. I then decided to start my business with these two brands, and I secured authorized distributorships in Singapore for both brands.
Next, I pondered over a suitable name for my business, and came across the Latin word “odor”.
Odor can mean “smell and fragrances”, and it can also mean “stench”. I was (and still is) intrigued by this dual meaning of “odor”, because dual meaning presents to me the concept of balance, the balance of yin and yang, of good and bad, of old and new, of male and female, of success and failure, of acceptance and rejection, of darkness and light.
More specifically, the concept of balance in “odor” blends well with my idea of wellbeing, which is about striking a balance in our life priorities ... if for some reason we cannot prioritise our daily activities in accordance with the needs of our bodies, we become ill.
I then decided to name my business “ODORE”.
What colour or colours would be suitable for ODORE? and how would I design the logo for ODORE?
After some research on the meaning of colours, the colour orange (as with the word “odor”) also impressed me with its sense of dual meaning. Orange can mean encouragement, enthusiasm, determination and success, words that motivate me in my entrepreneurial journey ... and orange can also mean happiness, attraction, stimulation and warmth, words that describe how I like to see my Customers when they buy ODORE products. Consequently, I perceive the colour orange as a bridge that facilitates communication and understanding between ODORE and its Customers.
In addition, the colour orange is not as aggressive as the colour red, and is not as dull as the colour brown. Again, this feeling of balance blends well with my idea of wellbeing.
With motivation from the word “odor” and from the colour orange, I then designed the logo for ODORE such that it comprises two circles, an inner white circle and an outer orange circle. The word “Odore” is positioned within the inner white circle.
My logo for ODORE aims to communicate the idea that if you are lost or confused, there is this tunnel open for you, and that leads you to the company ODORE ... and as you journey along this tunnel, it is hoped that you may feel a better sense of balance in your life.
I subsequently registered ODORE as a sole proprietorship in year 2011. That same year, I resigned my job at the international school. I organized my savings, and my Husband and my Mother-In-Law supported my efforts by way of capital investments.
ODORE began operations in my home, and after I had spoken with some retailers and had a better grasp of the my distribution channels, I relocated ODORE operations to a warehouse in Midview City in central Singapore. While I managed the sales and marketing, my Husband assisted me with the deliveries.
Over time, to further shape our idea of wellbeing to our Customers, we expanded our product range to include home display items and contemporary jewellery.
However, it became clear to me that the brands represented by ODORE will not receive optimum retail displays due to limited and costly retail floor space in Singapore. The sense of balance came to me, and I decided to include retail in my business model to balance our distribution efforts. Consequently, in year 2013, ODORE started its first retail shop at Serene Centre, also in central Singapore.
The following year 2014, I received an invitation from Far East Organisation to set up a retail shop at their newly refurbished Katong Village in eastern Singapore. I immediately saw the potential in Katong district and decided to relocate our retail shop from Serene Centre to Katong Village.
By the end of year 2014, I discussed with my Husband about the direction that ODORE should continue to take. We concluded our discussion with a reminder to ourselves that we had always wanted to build our own brand.
Consequently, after consultations with our Customers, our Colleagues and our Suppliers, we successfully launched the following products under ODORE brand in year 2015:
- Aloe Vera Gel
- Bugs Shoo Away!
- Castor Oil
- Essential Oils
- Magnesium Oil
- Sweet Almond Oil
In year 2016, I converted ODORE from a sole proprietorship to a private limited company.
In that same year 2016, while serving their National Service in the Singapore Armed Forces, my younger Son won the Gold Bayonet Award in his Specialist Cadet course. Months later, my eldest Son graduated amongst the top 5% at Officer Cadet school, and he was offered service as a Guards Officer in the elite 1st Guards Battalion, an offer which he accepted.
With these inspirations coming to me from my Sons, and with ODORE’s business growing and becoming complex, I asked my Husband to join me full time at ODORE. My Husband accepted my offer, and he closed his music school at the end of year 2016.
In year 2017, we continued our research to develop and expand the product range under ODORE brand. We also registered ODORE as a trademark. To adapt to digital channels, we built our own webpages and our online shop. However, to manage our operating costs, we did everything ourselves.
This year 2018, we shall continue to launch more products under ODORE brand. However, with continuing challenges in the Singapore economy, as well as increasing uncertainties in both our traditional and digital channels, product development under ODORE brand will also have to adapt to these uncertainties and challenges accordingly. In this regard, both my Husband and myself continue to find inspiration and encouragement in the concept of balance as embedded in our ODORE logo and its orange colour.
And as time goes by, and with the continual support of our Principals, our Suppliers, our Colleagues, as well as my Family, it is my belief that ODORE will continue to grow in the years to come by way of carefully sourced products and services to sustain the loyalty of our Customers.
ODORE Pte Ltd