Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Key features used
You never quite know where your studies will take you. Benjamin Kee developed a brand for a school entrepreneurial project, but when he graduated, he decided to pursue it as a genuine prospect. The result of this was a Batik clothing rental business called Lemari, and everything from the online store to order management is run with Booqable.
Often, school is discarded as a waste of time, with very few transferrable skills being learned. However, as the saying goes: you only get out of it what you put into it. Benjamin found something he was passionate about and was able to form the foundations of his business during his time at school. He is transferring that into the real world with the formation of Lemari.
Benjamin started Lemari as a school entrepreneurial project in 2020. His team decided to look into a traditional Malaysian clothing production process called Batik. This process involves using wax to prevent colors from mixing during the dyeing. This ancient art enables artisans to be selective with their color palettes, resulting in intricate and unique designs.
His team found that the consumption of Batik has been declining over time and concluded that much of what was available was outdated, expensive, and too unique to be worn repeatedly. These factors made it inefficient to own Batik clothing and led to its decline in popularity among younger generations in Malaysia. So, they set about to change this attitude.
Benjamin noticed that clothing rental was really popular in western countries, especially for special occasions like parties and weddings. He then thought, “why can’t I rent out Batik shirts for short periods at an affordable rate?” From here, Lemari was born and became the brand it is known as today, renting out modern and attractive Batik clothing at a reasonable cost.
When Benjamin was getting ready to launch his startup, he got everything in place to deal with the processes required for renting out products. His idea was to use an e-commerce platform to showcase his products. Then, use a chat feature or WhatsApp to manage bookings and a spreadsheet to track bookings. Finally, he wanted to use bank transfers for payments.
He initially decided on this action plan as he thought creating a website with more advanced functionality would be expensive. However, he soon realized that even this plan would require too much work. After all, he would be running the business himself, and he wouldn’t have the time to handle these tasks and market his business properly… then, he found Booqable.
When Benjamin discovered Booqable, he found it was the solution he needed to run his rental business efficiently. He commented, “there were so many features that I would not have even thought of that should have been part of my plan.” Using rental software, he has been able to create the experience he wanted at an affordable cost while automating other tasks.
One feature he hadn’t thought about was the availability calendar, which allows customers to check when clothing is available. Therefore, reducing the back and forth from having to ask about it. In addition, the ability to take payments online also removed the process of requesting bank account details and completing manual payment transfers.
Now, he has created what he calls a “digital wardrobe” where customers can browse the different designs he offers. He believes using Booqable has enabled him to change the perception of rentals dramatically. At the same time, his customers have commented how easy it is to check designs and sizes online and make a booking immediately without any back and forth.
Focussing on the future
Benjamin believes that Lemari is creating a new consumption model to help bring Batik clothing back into the mainstream. By targetting the fence-sitters who are unsure about investing in Batik clothing, he can increase interest in the style without cannibalizing current retailers. This, in turn, transforms those who are uncertain into customers for said retailers.
In addition, the fact that he has been able to create a fully web-based store using Booqable has enabled him to utilize delivery. He is making the experience convenient for both himself and his customers. They can receive their rental orders within 24 hours and return them later without worrying about cleaning the products as Lemari takes care of them.
Finally, with the time that Benjamin has saved by automating several time-consuming processes, he has been able to focus on marketing. This is something that was very important to him, and he feared that without Booqable, he would not have the time to do this to the level he required. So he was pleased to have discovered it.