Motherhood inspired a former bank relationship manager to launch Artisan Nook, a craft marketplace in Singapore designed for women entrepreneurs.

Etsy users in Singapore may find Artisan Nook familiar, yet it uniquely connects mothers and aspiring female entrepreneurs. This local marketplace offers a platform for women to showcase and sell their creations, fostering their business growth.

Former Bank Manager Launches Marketplace for Female Entrepreneurs
A snapshot of Artisan Nook’s website

Reena Yin, the founder of Artisan Nook, acknowledges she hasn’t used Etsy but was aware of its presence. Her motivation to start Artisan Nook was purely intrinsic, she told Yahoo Finance Singapore.

Since its inception in October 2023, Artisan Nook has featured nearly 10 Singaporean “artisans” offering products ranging from babysitting services to jelly drinks and scented candles. Despite its small scale, Yin believes this is just the beginning.

Motherhood as a Catalyst

Yin’s decision to leave her position as a Julius Baer relationship manager stemmed from the changes motherhood brought. “Motherhood changes everything,” she said. “I felt the need to step back from work to spend quality time with my children.”

Her first child arrived during the pandemic, allowing for ample bonding time. However, the birth of her second child coincided with the reopening of borders, which led to frequent travel and less time at home.

Balancing her career and being present for her children created “mum’s guilt” for Yin, ultimately leading her to resign from her high-paying job.

Transitioning from a five-figure monthly salary to the uncertain world of entrepreneurship, Yin faced skepticism from friends and family. Nevertheless, she pursued her goal, driven by the desire to spend more time with her children.

Accepting Risks

Financial planning was crucial before Yin fully embraced entrepreneurship. With her husband’s stable banking salary, the couple, parents to two young children, assessed the viability of Artisan Nook.

After months of meticulous planning, Yin set aside 12 months of her salary for expenses. They invested nearly six figures into Artisan Nook and another venture, Jia-Home, a homemade chilli brand based on a family recipe.

The investment was split 65/35, with Artisan Nook receiving the larger share. Yin’s banking background helped her assess risks and determine her capacity to manage them. She questioned, “If the numbers decline for a specific period, can I handle it?”

Personal Challenges

Entering e-commerce as a first-time entrepreneur, Yin had to learn new skills like setting up a website and navigating e-commerce functions. Fortunately, technology eased this learning curve.

Support from friends, family, and former clients has been invaluable. Yin turned to successful businessmen among her former clients for advice and perspectives on business uncertainties.

Feedback from trusted individuals led Yin to diversify Artisan Nook’s offerings. Initially focused on products, the platform now includes services, thanks to encouragement from her mentors.

Despite handling practical challenges, Yin faced emotional hurdles. Losing the security of her banking salary affected her sense of self-worth, which had been tied to her high-paying job. “I used to contribute up to 60 per cent of family expenses, but that’s changed.”

Yin has ambitious plans for Artisan Nook. “I hope we can grow into a mini Shopee for women and build a supportive community, as entrepreneurship can be lonely,” she said.