Ninth Gallery (Exclusive Interview): Your one-stop lifestyle store that crafts your curiosity in every touch!

Ninth Gallery, a lifestyle store where we bet you will walk out with the perfect gift in hand. There is no time for us to regret once we have purchased something. After all, do not you and your loved ones deserve the best?  

So, do not waste your time looking for stores as Ninth Gallery is here to save your day. Hop on this ride as we bring you along the journey of Ninth Gallery where you can experience the secret behind their success and what it is all about.

Background of the founder 

Eve Lim Ninth Gallery Founder

Behind the absolute Ninth Gallery is Eve Lim, both the founder and director. As a graduate of BS in Economics and a minor in Mathematics, Eve began her career in financial risk consultancy before taking the route which was less travelled and boom! It was the kick-off of Ninth Gallery. Taking a real hands-on approach to run her business: from sourcing to speeches (Eve was a speaker at Giffitionary Taiwan 2018) or even shipping and packaging; there is no task too small to concern her at her store. 

*Oooo, we’ve got a superwoman check !*

The idea behind Ninth Gallery

Ninth Gallery was dreamed up from humble beginnings on Ninth Street in Columbia, Missouri, back when Eve was a university student. Taking on the idea of infusing arts and culture into our every day and brewing life’s aesthetics in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, she sought to create a contemporary cultural oasis and premier lifestyle destination in the city that she loves to live. 

Their vision holds a sense of simplicity. With a multitude of playful products from brands created to delight by designers from all over the world, the idea of discovery and exploration precedes all else here, reflected neatly in their mantra, Brewing Life’s Aesthetics. 

Introduction to Ninth Gallery 

Ninth Gallery Main Sign

Ninth Gallery gathers various international design influences and seeks to create a comfortable place to explore one’s ideas and visions for their own space. Their mission is “Brewing Life’s Aesthetics”, where they aim to infuse the philosophy of art, beauty and taste into every day; turning the mundane into something special.

Reason upon choosing the name ‘Ninth Gallery’

In the Ninth Gallery, they take great pride in curating a selection of joyful things for their customers. They have always wanted to curate a gallery that customers could explore like an oasis away from the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur. 

When they discovered a location for Ninth’s Gallery’s first physical store at Publika Solaris Dutamas; one of Kuala Lumpur’s arts and culture hubs; that is when they found the name; Ninth Gallery. The name Ninth Gallery came to be as it fits very well amongst the mix of creative retail stores in Malaysia, art galleries, cafes and restaurants in the area.

Products

Ninth Gallery Shop Products

Ninth Gallery is a lifestyle store where you can find a wide variety of labels, brands, and product categories under a single roof as long as they fall within their aesthetic. They carry things that bring delight and inspiration to one’s life – from cult Japanese stationery to intriguing Kickstarter goods. Eve tries to fuse a mix of local and international brands that complement one another, making Ninth Gallery a one-stop lifestyle store ideal for home and living.

Motivation to start a lifestyle store 

Lifestyle stores are inspirational. They are the places that give you ideas, and consistently changing stock means that no visit to Ninth Gallery is ever really the same as the last. Their entire team, from founder to staff, have always had it in their minds to introduce new brands to the roster of products. By this, they would like to enlighten their customers with every trip by bringing beauty and delight to their home on any occasion. These are why they don’t see themselves as just a gift shop in KL, where you walk in and transact money for a product. 

* When you are heading to Ninth Gallery, bear in mind that you are putting your feet into an absolute gallery of inspiration*

Best selling items

  • With its retro stylings, affordable price range and mid-century colour range, the Penco Storage Caddy is an ideal addition to one’s office desk or home.
  • Their Nahe General Purpose Case in Wide has been their bestsellers during the MCO.

One of our customers found out that it had fit her disposable masks perfectly and after sharing that on our Instagram stories, it’s been flying off the shelves!

– Eve Lim
  • The Penco Pile Up Caddy is another store favourite. With a wide selection of colours to mix and match (and they match the Penco Storage Caddies perfectly as well!), the Penco Pile Up Caddy locks together when you stack them up to create a cool aesthetic retro workspace.   

Challenges faced

Starting a business isn’t easy. Eve added that one has to learn to navigate customers, consignees, comments and criticisms and only then they will come to a point that ‘What you know is best over what others tell you they believe is the best’.

Inspiration

‘Sometimes inspiration doesn’t come from a person, but from your travels and your life experiences. There is no way to be sure that you can mirror somebody else’s success in your own life, but every day is a chance to chart your unique path.’

– Eve Lim

Collaboration with local designers and international designers

They have worked with local designers for a couple of years, beginning with their first Makers Field Trip in 2018. The Makers Field Trip is a competition that they launched in conjunction with Pop Up Asia; the largest handicraft trade show in Asia; that allows chosen local and Singaporean creators to be exposed to an international market and audience. Makers Field Trip participants have the chance to sell their product in Taiwan and meet platform vendors, materials traders and manufacturers from 13 different countries in Asia.

The Makers Field Trip has been a partnership outreach program that Ninth Gallery hopes will carry on for years to come. It has been a rewarding experience learning about so many people and their grassroots companies, and they look forward to sharing with every new brand that joins them on the trip.

Struggles faced during Covid-19 pandemic

‘Not being able to have a physical store was difficult for the team, as we have forged good relations with our regular customers over the years and not being able to assist them in person had its challenges.’

Eve Lim

However, they are glad to say that when they made the shift from brick and mortar retail to focusing on online sales, their customers came along for the ride and interacting with them regularly via Facebook and Instagram live selling, updates on their Instagram stories, and through their online gift shop in Malaysia; they were able to make sales during MCO.

Words of advice

Understand that creating a business plan is just as important as coming up with an idea for a business. A business plan is your idea laid out, ready to be analyzed and improved, so there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain by creating one.

An unforgettable moment

Eve can’t decide between the time she was mixing concrete to make a cleaning station in their back room on their first Makers trip. It was before they launched the store when they decided that they’d like a dedicated cleaning station. She had heard back from the contractors and the quotation was too pricey, so that is when she mixed the concrete and moulded her cleaning station. To this day, their contractor still teases them about it, but it works just fine! In fact, even better than fine!

As for their first Makers trip to Pop Up Asia in Taiwan, it was the first time they had executed a trip for local designers that they didn’t know very well. It was a unique experience getting to know so many local designers whose work they admired, especially in such a short time away from Kuala Lumpur. Working together to create exposure for each brand and learning about one another’s aesthetics and ethos and making it all unite at their booth was not only beneficial for our time at Pop Up Asia but a learning experience for future endeavours.

Plans for Ninth Gallery

Ninth Gallery is paying their attention towards online presence. If there’s anything they learnt during the Covid-19 pandemic, it was that regardless of location, as long as they provide a shopping experience that is unique to Ninth Gallery and provide the excellent selection and service they pride themselves by, they will thrive.

Lavanyah Guna
Lavanyah Guna
I either be munching on something or curling up on the couch, no in-between, I mean besides catching deadlines obvs!

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