Name of Recipient:
Mr. Nelson Ng
From the television shows, to anime, to the food, the Japanese culture trend was and still is a big movement in Singapore. For those diehard Japanese fans in Singapore, they would have heard of Bonj, The Japan Central (BonJapan), a direct importer of Japanese products and goods from Japan itself.
Established on 23rd February 2008, BonJapan was established by Mr. Nelson Ng as a one-stop station promoting Japanese culture, lifestyle, travel and more. Boasting a huge collection of items directly imported from Japan, the items BonJapan carries include items such as toys, collectibles, food and beverages.
Since their establishment in 2008, BonJapan has worked with many organizations including banks, shopping malls, corporate companies and schools, with notable clients including the Standard Chartered and OCBC bank, as well as the local Singapore universities and the five polytechnics in Singapore. It should be noted that they are the first company in Singapore to promote and retail authentic Japanese items.
In addition, BonJapan also organizes a special event called the Character’s Café every year, where mascots from anime shows will be on site to provide customers with an unforgettable dining experience. Authentic Japanese food will be prepared specially for the event, and a drawing competition will also be held to spice up the event.
For Nelson, BonJapan is a dream come to fruition. “I was very passionate about the Japanese lifestyle, and during the years I was studying in Nanyang Polytechnic, me and my friends, who were also crazy about the Japanese culture, would often attend Japanese events. However, soon I began to ask myself, ‘How come Singapore do not have any authentic Japanese stuff?’ This gave me the inspiration to establish BonJapan.”
Fresh out of school, and new to the entrepreneurial world, the initial period of BonJapan’s establishment was a tough one for Nelson. “I remembered that at the start, I had to work very long hours, and as I did not have much experience in running a business, there was a steep learning curve. We also occupied a very niche market.”
“However, The Japanese culture is something that is still very popular in Singapore, and I was quite lucky that the business picked up very fast. Soon, we were working with schools as well as corporate companies to distribute our items. To further build up the business, I would go around to events and do some ground research, to find out what the customers are looking for. Now, BonJapan has a global website which delivers our items to around the world, and we have quite a bit of brand awareness. There is a high demand in the overseas markets, and we have some investors from overseas as well.”
Given the popularity, it seemed inevitable that there will be competitors. “Yamakawa actually copied our concept, and they opened up many stores across Singapore. However, what is unique about us is that we know what our customers want. We have sold many items over the past seven years, and we know the trends, and the taste of the customers.”
Now armed with seven years of experience as an entrepreneur, Nelson felt he has learnt much during his entrepreneurial journey. For him, maintaining focus is one of the most important things. He said, “You have to have the focus, and you have to believe in what you are doing. Just go for it. You will be facing a lot of obstacles from the environment outside, but if you have the focus, these obstacles will not stop you.”
“Successful entrepreneurs also need to stay firm, especially in their decision making. In the end, even though it may be wrong, they will have to accept it and move forward.”
Although BonJapan has achieved much, Nelson is not content to sit on his laurels, and has set in motion further expansion plans. “Of course, the domestic market will still remain our priority. But we are looking into expanding into some overseas markets.”
“We are also in the midst of establishing a online JMall, which will conduct wholesale trade for different categories. For now, the first floor will be selling candy and confectionaries, while other levels will sell be Toys and Hobbies, Fashion Accessories, and we are planning to even include a Travel level, which will provide our customers with travel deals to Japan.”
With his focus and clear-headed vision for the company, Nelson aims to lead BonJapan into many years of success. With the demand for authentic Japanese products remaining strong, there is no doubt that BonJapan will continue to thrive in the local niche market they have carved out for themselves.
50 Bukit Batok Street 23 #02-17
Midview Building S(659578)
T| 6560 5424
11 Orchard Road #B1-38
Dhoby Ghaut Xchange S(238826)