Confused where to go shopping in Singapore? The newly launched website, Travelshopa (more about the name later), hopes to solve the problem. The search-based website, claims to be a community of Singapore based retailers and designers across fashion, gifts and home-wares that connects them with local as well as global shoppers.
Renée Lodens, Founder and Managing Director, Travelshopa says that the website was born out of a gap in the local shopping scene. “There are plenty of sites, books and brochures that promote food and beverage, accommodation or what to see and do, but few resources that go into the details of shopping.”
The Australian founder moved to Singapore in 2010 and found that her search for local boutiques and artisans was no easy feat in the region. “As an avid traveller and resident in a new city, I saw the need for a platform that had readily available information about the local shopping scene for both local and global shoppers,” she says.
She started creating lists of her own favourite boutiques and stores. Her lists grew over time and “friends and family began to cotton on to” her tips and started asking her for advice on shopping destinations.
Eventually, she left her career in business development and strategic marketing behind and started Travelshopa – which started as a blog – in November 2012. Since then, the website has become a five-member team, and claims to have seen double-digit monthly growth in terms of unique visitors and pageviews.
What’s there for businesses?
The “highly-curated” website, which primarily is a “invite-only marketing platform”, claims to have more than 180 profiles of registered businesses in Singapore. Business registrants are provided with a login where they can create and update their profile, upload event information, create image galleries and monitor statistics on their business profiles via a dashboard. The added benefit of registering on Travelshopa is “access” to “more local and international shoppers” and leveraging the team’s “SEO, SEM, email marketing, social media marketing, offline marketing and PR” efforts.
Lodens, herself, comes from a background in consulting, strategic marketing and is “passionate” about supporting local businesses; and has over ten years of experience in the B2B and B2C business development domains.
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With the bootstrapped startup, she aims “to put the spotlight on the growing number of independent designers and retailers (in the region)”, showcase the “amazing local talent” and “provide practical support to local businesses.”
What’s there for the shoppers?
Shoppers can browse through the profiles of registered businesses in Singapore (the website claims to be in the process of adding more other cities from the Asia Pacific region), follow their favourite businesses, and create their own shopping trips. Shoppers will also be able to interact with each other and registered businesses and contribute reviews to the online community.
Some of the prominent registered local businesses include Taylor B, Strangelets, Art from Junk, Linen&Design, Bowerbird Home, Blinky Modern Gallery and Originals, besides others.
What’s in the name?
A search through dictionaries and their online versions, reveals no results for the word ‘Travelshopa’. However, the website’s ‘About Us‘ page tells us that “A Travelshopa is a savvy shopper with a penchant for unique, high-quality things.” It also, delves more into the meaning, a la dictionary style (see image on left). Read a bit more, and you know, that it is travel-shopper, but Lodens would probably insist on pronouncing it her way. “The name was inspired by our founder’s love for travelling and shopping (everywhere), and her love for language; particularly the way Aussies pronounce anything ending with -er as -a,” the website says, justifying the name.
The website, while had a soft-launch in July, this year, the official launch was done on October 31.