“We were really stupid,” said Mr Neo, as he commented on the beginning of their garment manufacturing company. Mr Neo, now in his mid 60s, and Mrs Neo, in her late 50s, had set up the company together when they were barely 20 years old. It was a bold move and one that came with a steep learning curve. “We realized we didn’t know anything,” lamented Mr Neo. It was also in this haphazard leap that they named their business OGS (not the actual name), after a female name they liked.
30 Years of Troubleshooting
Decades later, their company still stands strong and compared to the other factory grounds we have entered, OGS has a distinct sense of order. There was no one yelling, nobody panicking and no staff at a loss. Everyone and everything in the factory was working in some kind of unspoken harmony. Every part of the process runs on clockwork in an almost meditative rhythm.
However, this did not come easy. Getting OGS to where it is today has taken a life-long effort of troubleshooting, according to Mr Neo. “When running a business, it’s not just about the start. Throughout the entire journey, you will always be looking for solutions and fighting fire.” Despite how OGS appears now, Mr and Mrs Neo are still constantly on the lookout for potential solutions to improve the company.
Principles to Produce By
What we probably found even more astonishing is the fact that many of their employees have been with them for more than 30 years! We think that speaks volumes about working at OGS and the principles they hold dear.
Mrs Neo told us that it is common for garment factories to accept three faulty pieces out of every 100 pieces made. However, she would never permit that and never allow a single faulty piece to be packed for sale. It is not so much an iron-fisted need for perfection but rather, it comes from a place of deep empathy.
To Mr and Mrs Neo, Will & Well is not their customer. Their customers are ultimately the people who are wearing the garments that they hold a sense of responsibility towards. With that ethos, they not only ensure a high level of quality but also often make suggestions with the wearer in mind.
With their golden years in sight, Mr and Mrs Neo have started thinking about retirement. However, it would be a shame to see OGS, a gem that has been built through decades of troubleshooting, end its run. When asked if they have any succession plans, Mr Neo mentioned that they would be open if someone was keen to buy over the business from them. They also jokingly mentioned that if their sons’ (who are currently single) future wives have an interest in running the business, they would gladly hand over the reins.
Mr and Mrs Neo’s story really resonated with us and we hope that as we, too, continue to fight fires and seek solutions, Will & Well could also become a brand that provides meaningful value for both its customers and employees over decades.
But for now, we’re just glad to be able to rub shoulders with amazing people like Mr and Mrs Neo to produce our new collection