Jakkie Tay, 25, Founder of Temporary

"Everything is Temporary"

1. Can you share with us some background info about yourself and what you do for a living?

My name is Jakkie. The founder of Temporary. I was born and raised in Johor Bahru. Temporary was started as a curated thrift store. It was established in 2019. Initially, our physical store was located at Mount Austin but after one year due to some reasons, we moved to Ulu Tiram. So far, we are still mostly doing the curated thrift thing. But, apart from that, we are also trying to do more than a thrift. Not only focus on second-hand, pre-loved, and vintage products but also, we want to own our item like merchandise. For example, we just celebrated our second anniversary recently, so we had come out with our anniversary t-shirt.

2. When and how was the first time you have an interest in thrifted clothing?

It was started when I was 13 years old, and I went to a bundle store for the first time. At that time, I was shocked by the fact that I can buy a lot of good stuff at a lower price. Back then, there were quite limited choices for us to get into fashion trends and streetwear. Sometimes, when I looked through the foreign magazines, I noticed there was a variety of attractive fashion and styles that I can try. So when I went to the normal fashion store, I could not find anything similar to what I saw in the magazines. But, when I went to the bundle store, I had the chance to find something that I like at a reasonable price. Since then, I have been thrifting a lot and I always have thoughts in my mind like it will be great if I own a thrift store. Time goes by, and a lot of things happen. In 2019, I decided to open my first store before I got too old.

3. What makes you think that thrift stores are interesting?

The first thing that makes the curated thrift store or vintage store interesting is you can try a lot of styles at a reasonable price. I think the most important thing is you can be unique. When you are walking around the street, you will hardly find someone wearing the same cloth as you because normally the item that you got from thrifting is the item that you rarely find. You can create your style.

4. The Covid-19 outbreak in Malaysia has become one of the worst globally in these past few months. How does Covid-19 outbreak affect your business and how does it changed your life routine to accept the new Norma?

At the beginning of the pandemic, we closed our store for a visit and open for appointments only. However, since we have no idea when we can re-open the store, and when all this restriction order will be ended, so we changed our business model. We no longer accept any appointments for now and decided to shift to an online store instead. Fortunately, the response and feedback that I received from the customers are mostly positive and the sales still doing great. Another thing is I had to stay at home or my studio most of the time. A lot of work like shooting must be postponed and some changes need to be made. Anyhow, I also look at the positive side, where I have more time for myself and I think adapting to the new Norma is not much for me because I used to stay at home quite a lot before this.

5. What do you think about today’s thrift scene?

I still considered myself young and fresh in this industry, but I think I have seen quite a lot of changes compared to what we have 10 years ago. Today, we can see more and more people do thrifting. For me, I think there is a huge gap between today’s demand and supply, and the prices compared to the old time. Somehow, what triggers the price to keep increasing is because people nowadays are eager to impress others and wear something they think other people will like even though the price is high.

6. Everyone who works hard to succeed will experience the ups and downs of career life. What are your most difficult time and biggest achievement ever since you enter this industry?

I think my ups and down keep continuing. I always doubt myself. For example, when the sales are not so good for a period like a month or a week, I always doubt if there was something that I am not doing right, or if the feedback was not good as I expected. I keep reflecting on myself. I would not say I have achieved something big so far. I still trying and keep doing my job and hopefully, I will achieve something in the future.

7. Success is subjective. Every person has a different definition of success. How do you define your success? 

I think when I own a team. So far, Temporary has been running by myself like a solo business. I do hope in one or two years the business will grow organically, and I can have a team and the business model is more systematic.

8. What is your inspiration?

If you ask me a person from Johor Bahru who I inspired the most is, maybe I can say the founder of Crossover Malaysia, Jem. I do not know him in person, but from what I know is he also started his career from the bottom at a young age. His clothing store is located in the center of Johor Bahru in City Square. He always doing great and keeps moving forward. He makes me believe if I keep doing something that I like, I will achieve something.

9. If you are not an owner of a curated thrift store, who are you, and what are you doing for a living now?

Maybe a banker, or something 9 – 5 job.

10. Is there any certain advice or beliefs that you live by?

If I can translate to you, there is one EDM in Mandarin that says, “doing your part the best and leave the rest to God”. It means we must do our best, all we can. However, we must understand that there are certain parts that we have no power to control like unexpected situations. We cannot blame all those unexpected things that happened, indeed we have to face it, then leave the rest to God and move on.