Hello everyone. In this article, I’ll be providing an update and sharing with you guys some of the plans that I have for Wah So Shiok, and what the website would be like in the near future (spoiler alert: some things are going to change).
It’s been almost four years since I started Wah So Shiok in late 2017. Since then, the website has grown much bigger than I ever thought it would (I started it as a small personal blog as a bored NSF). However, with growth comes change, and I’ll be addressing some of the changes that will be implemented for the rest of the year.
1) Focus away from watches, more into lifestyle
When I first started Wah So Shiok, it was originally a watch review blog, specifically on local microbrand efforts. My first article was a review of the BOLDR Odyssey, and I’ve always said that if it was not for Leon of BOLDR graciously lending me his personal watch for review, Wah So Shiok may never have started.
Gradually, I shifted into reviewing tailors and suits, before branching out into more menswear-related items like shoes, perfumes, bags, etc. Today, I even review pens and eyewear on Wah So Shiok! Some of my long-time readers have messaged me about this, asking me why the website appears to be covering everything under the sun when it originally gained popularity as a local watch review platform.
To be honest, after covering watches for almost four years, my love for horology has dulled a little. Watches will always be my first love, my foremost passion, but I no longer feel the same excitement for it as I once did. Frankly, a lot of the new offerings aren’t novel – it’s almost always another microbrand dive watch on Kickstarter, and even on the luxury level, it seems to be mere iteration with little revolution (cough, Rolex). And the scene has become too commercialised, too serious, too judgemental for my tastes. Simply put, it’s no longer fun to cover watches, and at times tiresome even.
As such, I’ve found myself looking elsewhere for the inspiration that spurred my initial posts. I’m glad to say I’m found enjoyment in exploring new areas such as wines, hotels, and even feng shui! It’s been a blast learning about new segments, as well as discovering new communities. And now that the website has quite a decent following and reputation, I also find meaning in shining a spotlight on some of my local partners, many of whom have been struggling with declining business due to the pandemic.
So what’s Wah So Shiok going to be about moving forward? Is it going to be a Mothership, covering everything under the sun? Well no. Wah So Shiok will be dedicated to featuring everything that might complement the lifestyle of a modern-day gentleman, but with a focus on accessibility. I would personally describe it as Augustman-esque, but on a more affordable level and with a focus on homegrown brands.
But if you follow me mainly for my watch coverage, don’t fret. Just like how Augustman covers watches, I too will continue to have watch related content on Wah So Shiok, just less frequently. Previously, I publish watch-related articles on Saturday, and lifestyle-related posts on Sunday. Moving forward there will no longer be such a demarcation, though I will still publish on the weekends. I estimate watch-related content to be about 30%, with the rest of the coverage to be on men’s lifestyle.
By avoiding being pigeonholed as merely a “watch review” or “suit review” website, as Wah So Shiok is currently now known for, I hope to attract a wider audience, and also broaden my coverage to the many noteworthy local efforts out there. I’ve been learning a lot recently about these new sectors, and I can’t wait to share my knowledge and interest with you guys.
TLDR: Expect to see more varied content on Wah So Shiok moving forward!
I’ve been quite quiet on social media recently – that’s because I was on a 6 months writing gig with SJX Watches, so that was where my efforts were focused on the past few months. But that has since ended, so now I have more free time to be active on my social media platforms.
I’m aiming to transform my social media accounts to be more active with my postings and stories, etc. In particular, I would love to engage with my readers more on social media. Previously, my only interactions with readers came from those that took the time to email in, or send me a DM/message online. Moving forward, I want to take the initiative to interact with you guys, to get your opinion and feedback about the things I do. That means replying to your stories, or comments, or even taking the extra step to view your profile and comment on related posts. I wish to gradually cultivate a community, where I get to know some of you guys by name, and perhaps even have a meetup after COVID is over.
I will also dedicate more time to my Youtube channel. I haven’t posted as frequently as I would have liked, as filming and editing videos can be rather tedious. However, they say a photo paints a thousand words, so a video probably equates to a million. I was heartened by the response on some of my videos thus far – a quick, unscripted video on my personal watch collection that I posted earlier this year now has almost 10K views! I’ve had a blast replying to the numerous comments as well, and it is such positive feedback that motivates me to create more and better content. I don’t have the flashiest setup, the most expensive camera, or the slickest editing skills, but I hope my layman’s local perspective makes for a worthwhile watch. And with Wah So Shiok venturing into more varied coverage, expect to see different kinds of videos very soon – the next one is going to be a VLOG review on my latest hotel staycation!
TLDR: I aim to be more active on my social media platforms, proactively interact with readers, and create more varied videos on my Youtube channel. If you haven’t already done so, you can follow Wah So Shiok on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube.
3) The Shiok Shop
Last but not least, I’m extremely stoked to announce the imminent launch of my webstore, named The Shiok Shop, or TSS for short.
A webstore was the logical next step – Hodinkee has the Hodinkee Shop, The Rake has its own store, and even locally Vulcan Post has its own ecommerce platform called VP Label. In a similar vein, I’ve always wanted to start my own webstore, and with COVID resulting in consumers buying online more so than ever before, I felt that this was the right time.
The Shiok Shop will serve as a curation of my favourite items. Simply put, if I’ve personally enjoyed using the item, it will be listed on the webstore. If not, then it won’t be. In other words, all the items listed on The Shiok Shop are those that I have personally reviewed, loved, and stand behind.
“But how can you maintain your journalistic integrity if you’re also selling the item you’re reviewing? How can we trust that your opinion is unbiased?” This is a question I’m sure some of you would have. To answer that, I point to Wei Koh’s (founder of Revolution and the Rake) interview with Forbes when he first started the Revolution and the Rake web-store. If you’re lazy to read through the entire article, I’ll sum it up for you. By actually selling the items, the articles and reviews need to be more truthful than ever before. If I sing the praises of an item I didn’t believe in, and place it up for sale, those who bought that bad item will have a negative impression of the website, the webstore, and by extension, all the other items available for sale on the web-store. Is that good for business? Obviously not. The only sustainable business plan is being truthful to my readers, and building on that trust and expertise to recommend items that are genuinely noteworthy.
Some may also wonder what’s the difference between buying on The Shiok Shop, and buying directly from the brand itself. Fundamentally, there’s little difference, aside from the fact if you purchase from The Shiok Shop, you will have an additional person in your corner should something go wrong – me. To make an analogy, it’s akin to either ordering McDonalds from Grab, or from the McDelivery app itself – both works, but if something goes wrong with the order, at least there’s Grab support to complain to and hopefully get a resolution from.
But to further value-add, there will also be certain items that can only be purchased from The Shiok Shop, such as certain package deals involving multiple brands. For example, there will be a wedding package deal, which includes a tailor-made wedding suit, a wedding photoshoot, as well as tea appreciation sessions at a teahouse for ROM ceremonies. Hopefully, these will be of interest to you guys – fingers crossed.
Lastly, there will also be special “shiok” editions, which will be exclusively offered on The Shiok Shop. Made in collaboration with local brands, these will be my twist on items that I’ve reviewed and enjoyed. Needless to say, I’m very excited to have my very own “shiok” branded products very soon.
The Shiok Shop is slated to launch in Q4 (late September/early October) later this year, with the aforementioned “shiok” collaborative editions to be released in early 2022, on a quarterly cycle (tentatively two items per quarter). Should The Shiok Shop be successful, I may be able to make running Wah So Shiok and the web-store my full-time job. That would be the dream.
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!
P.S.S.S Shiok is a common word Singaporeans use to express admiration or approval. As of 2016, you can find the definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary.