Dorm Room Success Stories
Hiblendr Founder: Andrew Poh’s entrepreneurial journey
In any classic tale of passion meeting purpose, we often deduce the stories as unattainable but still beautifully narrated nonetheless. We love hearing them though we don’t fully believe them. We always think, “Easier said than done.”
That might not be the case when we look into the unique story of a twenty-four-year-old student doing the impossible of running a successful business while also pursuing a degree in Law. Comprehending the intense pressure that comes from pursuing either fully is unthinkable, yet we see him doing a fine job at it. One can’t help questioning how he does it. What is his secret?
Your guess is as good as mine. Thankfully, through Xavier Mah | Stories Worth Telling, we heard from the man himself, and no, he is not Superman; he is Andrew Poh, founder of one of the most sought-out portable blenders, Hiblendr.
Andrew Poh, the founder of Hiblendr, gazing proudly at his most recent achievement; Source Hiblendr
Stepping out of the comfort zone
Any student can readily testify to the demands that come from pursuing a degree. Not only is it mentally and financially taxing, but it can also be physically draining as well. After moments of reflection, Andrew realised that healthwise he was not where he wanted to be. Following a busy schedule, he realised he barely had time to eat or drink healthy foods, thus giving birth to ‘Hiblendr.’
Hiblendr came from a place of wanting to be in an optimum health state without compromising one’s work schedule. Simply put, it’s when health meets convenience.
It’s been a little over a year since Hiblendr launched its first products and made a breakthrough into the e-commerce world. Looking back now, we asked Andrew if he could describe his journey in three words; what would it be. Without missing a beat, he answered with a smile, “Exciting, Challenging and Rewarding.” He later added that it is a challenging journey, but he likes “to step out of my comfort zone and push myself to do more.”
Which backs the same old question, how does he do it? What is his motivation, goals, dreams, and insight? What advice would he give to young entrepreneurs reading this?
Can you please explain how Hiblendr came into being?
I wanted to start eating more healthily but did not have time to cut vegetables, peel fruits, etc., so overall; I knew I wanted a blender but a portable one that I could use anywhere. I mean, it wouldn’t look appealing walking around with a kitchen blender (laughs).
So I went and searched online, but the options listed were not to my preference. They are not practical and not stylish. From then on, I did a lot of research on Pinterest and other related platforms and came up with a rough idea of what I wanted my blender to look like. With the help of my supplier in Shenzhen, China, we were able to create the prototype of what you see now.
How were you able to manage running a business and to pursue Law?
When I started Hiblendr, I worked for about 10 hours or more per day — understanding your priorities and knowing what you want should be your motivation. You should not be afraid to sacrifice your leisure time if you have goals you want to achieve. At the same time, you should also make time for self-care; for example, I go to the gym, I enjoy playing futsal. It’s all about balance.
Nutrition on the go with Hiblendr; Source Hiblendr
What is your most significant setback, and how did you get over it?
There were times when we failed to deliver our products on time as we would be out of stock due to logistics, so we suffered lots of shipment delays.
That first posed a difficult time for me because I hated the notion of ever disappointing my customers. As a contingency plan, we ran various campaigns to ensure our customers were compensated for the delay. We also made sure that our stock got more extensive and more frequent with every restock.
What is the most insightful knowledge you have gained along the way?
Before entering the e-commerce world, I did not have much experience to run a business. Having a startup meant doing everything, from sourcing, designing all the way to customer services and selling. I have come to appreciate the entire process, which has impacted positively on my wealth of knowledge.
When is the right time to start a business?
Progression over perfection. It is about executing before prioritising having the perfect plan because plans do not always go well, but if it is an idea, it will still remain an idea if you don’t implement it. Of course, planning is good. You need to take some calculated risks before venturing into anything but don’t wait too long to do it. Start working on it now!
How are you improving your product?
We are launching our second-generation soon. It’s stronger, better looking, with better functionality.
Is there anything you wish you could have done differently?
If I could go back in time, I would definitely try to scale my business harder and faster. I would invest more time and effort in advertising, do more restocks and acquire more customers across many countries.
What are your business fundamentals?
You need to build something that is sustainable, profitable, and is valuable to the customer. Those three are critical elements in building a business.
How did you motivate yourself? What’s your upcoming plan?
My goal. I want to keep improving myself. I want to be better than yesterday. The next nine months are going to be beneficial to me. I believe they are going to be rewarding in the legal world and also for personal growth. You could consider it as mental training. Keeping a positive attitude and having a good support system also helps.
Never lose hope; Source Unsplash
Don’t give up
Andrew Poh is a prime example of what passion paired with purpose should look like. When you are clear on what you want, you will fight with all you have to establish it. When particular situations such as operating during a pandemic, logistic problems and not having much experience in the e-commerce industry were beckoning him to stop, he went on.
Problems always come; the perfect plan does not exist but keeping a positive and progressive attitude will get you far.