There’s a common misconception that those who are simply overly tidy have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), a serious psychiatric condition. So coming across a local business producing storage boxes for organisation named OCDEE, I presumed it was a reference to the disorder, which may come off rather insensitive.
When probed, its team was grateful that we brought it up. “OCDEE actually stands for Ordinary Concept Done Exceptionally Excellently. And we want the name to be almost instantly relatable to a space or area as a noun, rather than about the symptoms of the mental disorder,” its brand manager, Lim Chwee Jenn told Vulcan Post.
Looking at its actual acronyms, the idea behind OCDEE’s name makes sense. It redesigns common organisation products like shoe and storage boxes, and builds a version focusing on quality, functionality, practicality, and durability in a way that looks aesthetic too.
With sneakerheads in mind, OCDEE came up with the Convi Shoebox. It’s the brand’s bestseller to date amongst the 42,000 shoeboxes it’s sold as a year-old business.
Convi for convenience
Prior to OCDEE, Chun How was one of the founding members at ServisHero, Sonno, and Alcosm, mostly in the business development and marketing roles. Jeanne, his co-founder, has been in the household manufacturing industry herself too, with at least 5 years of experience in finance, procurement and supply chain.
The idea to start OCDEE struck them in July 2020 when they both identified a rising demand in plain shoeboxes for organisation in the sneakerhead community. Together, they’d spent their spare time during the lockdown to come up with the Convi Shoebox.
It’s an easy-access shoebox that has a 120° lid opening at the front, which has a finger handle to help slide your shoes out to reach for it conveniently. Made from polypropylene plastic, OCDEE claims it’s durable and stable enough that you can stack up to 8 boxes atop one another.
This means you don’t need to have a large amount of space to set this up, in contrast to the space typically need for regular shoe cupboards.
Of course, there are similar storage solutions for shoes already in the market. For example, Tower Box has its own version, but doesn’t have the same lid or drawer functions as OCDEE.
Moulding it together
“We learnt that it’s actually quite a heavy investment when it comes to mould manufacturing, therefore we have to consider how we could adapt the ideal design to available resources in order to remain cost-viable. The whole execution took us 3 months and the pandemic made it harder,” they shared.
Ultimately, they spent RM12,000 as capital on R&D and other start-up costs.
OCDEE managed to convince a manufacturer to come on as a partner through a profit-sharing model, so the brand didn’t have to absorb the initial cost of mould manufacturing. Today, OCDEE can produce at least 3,000 Convi Shoeboxes per month.
For market research, the team read through pages of customer reviews from other shoebox sellers to gauge whether or not they were pricing their products fairly.
They realised that distributors selling transparent shoeboxes either retailed poorly-made products at low costs, or at an unreasonable price due to the distributorship model. Distributorship is where stockists who make a partnership with the manufacturer will purchase the products, and sell them at a higher price for more profit.
“So, our Convi Shoebox shall step in as a middle ground, providing people not only with the quality but also a more affordable pricing, hassle-free purchasing experience and a longer-lasting product. That is the gap that we wanted to bring a solution to,” the team affirmed.
With this direct-to-consumer model, OCDEE is able to offer its Convi Shoebox at RM39 per box, which is slightly cheaper than Tower Box’s set of 2 costing RM89 (RM44.50 each).
These products are currently sold through OCDEE’s website, along with its official Shopee and Lazada stores. To expand, the team is exploring partners to work with both online and offline for its second year of business.
Building customers’ trust
As a new brand, many were cautious over whether or not OCDEE was a legit business due to their previous experiences dealing with unreliable shoebox purchases.
Some questions usually posed to the team include concerns about its product quality to its price point, and whether the brand would cover for replacements if products get damaged during deliveries.
With confidence in their products, OCDEE’s team wanted to also provide customers with a favourable pre and post purchasing experience.
“We actually gave out a free new shoebox for every complaint about damages that we received before we eventually introduced our 30-day parts replacement policy,” they explained.
Their efforts paid off, reflected in the 42,000 units of shoeboxes they’ve sold to date, with an 11% month-over-month (MoM) growth. OCDEE’s brand credibility also picked up as a result, via positive reviews from customers who also recommended the brand’s products to their friends.
Although OCDEE’s original target market was sneaker-lovers, the brand has found most of its buyers in young professionals in their late 20s to early 40s who want a conducive living space.
Since I’ve personally seen many friends and family members revamping and reorganising their homes during the lockdowns, I asked OCDEE if they saw this trend give rise to sales too.
The team replied affirmatively, adding that they’d also leveraged on it for marketing. “There was a time earlier this year when we actually tried highlighting Convi Shoeboxes for multi-purpose uses such as bedside drawers, desk organisers, cap organisers, and general organisers. Guess what? They were some of our best performing campaigns.”
Though they’re making an average revenue of RM131K per month, its founders reported that OCDEE is not yet profitable at this stage as they’re reinvesting heavily in the brand’s growth.
“Ultimately, we have always wanted to be a home and living brand mainly focusing on providing practical yet functional organising and storage products. The intersection of MUJI and IKEA, maybe,” they pictured.
To achieve that, they will first focus on expanding their team and product range to serve different storage needs for various living spaces like kitchens, bedrooms, and workspaces. Later, OCDEE will expand into more sales channels to market its products to neighbouring countries too.
Featured Image Credit: Chun How, co-founder of OCDEE
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