Excerpted from Berita Mediacorp

The current COVID-19 pandemic did not hinder Shaikha Zahirah Shaikh Alwie to achieve her ambitions. More so, it opened up opportunities for the young entrepreneur to chase her dreams.

Recently graduated with a Diploma in Optometry from Singapore Polytechnic, the 21 year-old decided to start her own business, more specifically open an optical shop in the midst of a pandemic. This is a business line rarely ventured by the Malay / Muslim community.

“Even though we are experiencing COVID-19 right now, I am sure many people still need spectacles – it’s a daily necessity and it remains important for us to periodically check our eye health,” she said.

Ever since in school, the Madrasah Alsagoff Al-Arabiah alumni has expressed interest to start her own business.

With encouragement and support from her parents and brother – who also owns an optical shop, Shaikha Zahirah opened House of Spectacles in Golden Landmark Shopping Centre last April 2021. To watch her interview – click here

FACED CHALLENGES TO GAIN CUSTOMER TRUST

This young trader faced various challenges when she first started her business. Which includes gaining the trust of customers, especially the elderly.

“To get my customers to understand the importance of checking their eyes regularly is quite challenging. This is because many feel they need to check their eyes only when their glasses are missing or broken,” said Shaikha Zahirah.

“In fact, people should make a point to check their eye health every year. This is so that optometrists can detect any complications such as cataracts, glaucoma, or contact lens infections before it’s too late,” she added.

Despite the challenges, the youngest out of four siblings was not discouraged.

USING SOCIAL MEDIA TO HELP BUSINESSES

As a new entrepreneur, Shaikha Zahirah works hard to inject creativity and innovation to remain competitive amongst other larger and more mature companies.

To do so, she optimises social media platforms like Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram to publicize services and promotions offered in House of Spectacles.

For example, through the TikTok platform, House of Spectacles uploads informative yet funny materials to raise public awareness on the importance of maintaining eye health.

According to the young owner, customers who are satisfied with the services offered are encouraged to provide feedback and share their experiences via their own social media.

Shaikha Zahirah’s desire to help the community see the world more clearly makes her stand out in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“From the beginning, it’s been my dream to start my own business and it should be something that contributes back to the community. I think spectacles and eye health are just some of the ways I can help the community,” said Shaikha Zahirah.

This new entrepreneur hopes to continue helping the community, especially children overcoming myopia or hyperopia.

Excerpted from Berita Mediacorp

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