“We had no customers when I started my business three and a half years ago,” confesses Junko, who moved to Singapore in 2013 with her German husband and two young daughters.
Despite studying accounting in the U.S., worked as a venture capitalist in Tokyo and having experience of running a small company, the beginning was tough.
“The first location was in Orchard Plaza, so every day I stood in Orchard Road handing out flyers, but still nobody came,” she says., Her lucky break came when Liang Court, known for its Japanese clientele, approached her one day and invited her to move her shop there.
Junko is also one of 23 winners of The Finder‘s 2018 Expatpreneur Awards.
“Now, thanks to the customers and our staff, MamaRazzi has become a well-liked brand for baby, kids and family photos,” she says, noting that more than 2,000 families have used the service. “We strive to capture your children’s loveliness on high-quality photographs that serve as a keepsake of lifetime memories.”
One big reason for MamaRazzi’s success? Junko loves what she does. “Since becoming a mother, I have been addicted to taking pictures of our daughters. They grow up so quickly,” she says. “The name originated from my husband jokingly calling me ‘mamarazzi’, combining the words ‘mama’ and ‘paparazzi’.”
These days, Junko has assembled a team of award-winning MamaRazzi photographers, and designed a website that helps make the photo-taking process as simple as possible: Customers can choose between the English or Japanese language, and easily view popular locations like the Singapore Botanic Gardens or East Coast Park. They can also peruse the gallery of photos organised in categories from Maternity and Newborn to Omiyamairi and Kimono.
With nearly 2,500 followers on Facebook, it’s not surprising that MamaRazzi regularly gets inquiries from families as well as children-related businesses. “We have done yearbooks for preschools, and the schools and parents were very happy with our customised products,” she shares.
This all harkens back to a tender moment – between Junko and her then-newborn daughter – that inspired her to start MamaRazzi in the first place: “It’s a business that is entirely devoted to families and really done from the customers’ perspective. We always try our best to look at families with a mother’s eye ourselves.”
177 River Valley Rd, #02-28 Liang Court, 179030
Tel: 8122 7385
By Sara Lyle Bow, The Finder Issue 292
More on The Finder:
Meet the Winners of The Finder Expatpreneur Awards 2018
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