Gift marketplace sets itself apart from the rest

  • Unconventional gift options include breast milk jewellery and flashing LED balloons
  • Patent-pending SendGift to make shopping for gifts easier when rolled out


The Camdy team (from left) senior creative producer Lim Yee Teng; graphic designer Nas Alia; CEO Edward Chee; senior marketing manager Keith Liew; and CTO Ahmed Zafar


IN AN effort to differentiate itself from other gift marketplaces, Camdy operates with the promise of carrying “innovative, unique and personalised products under one roof.” The company began in 2016 as a business for photo-printed items but, due to dwindling demand, recreated itself into the marketplace it is today.

Browsing through the website, one stumbles upon unconventional gift ideas – from plant terrariums, flashing LED balloons to roses carrying messages on its petals, and even jewellery made from baby cords and breast milk.

The company’s four-person founding team is made up of chief executive officer Edward Chee, senior marketing manager Keith Liew, senior creative producer Lim Yee Teng and chief technology officer Ahmed Zafar.

Catering for a range of occasions and people, Chee dubs his company as the “Etsy of Malaysia”, referring to the global e-commerce marketplace for handmade, vintage and unique goods.

“We are happy to build this platform because, while there are lots of other marketplaces around, there’s no marketplace focused on helping creative businesses,” he says.

To date, Camdy has managed to bring over 500 artisans onto its platform. Speaking of its value proposition to vendors, Chee said: “We provide offline businesses with an online presence through our site. Vendors can sign up for free and create a shop.”

However, upon creating a profile and uploading photos of products, it is subject to approval by the Camdy team who decide if the products fit in with its unique requirements. Additionally, the startup also carries out digital marketing for vendors on its site.

“From time to time, we launch Google Adword campaigns to help specific artisans,” Chee said. In some instances, Camdy also provides photography and videography services that are free-of-charge, for now, to promote products.

One of the early business challenges for the team was the onboarding of vendors on the platform. Starting off, the team visited bazaars and approached individual sellers on social media to invite them to Camdy, managing to recruit over a hundred vendors in a span of two months in 2017.

“We decided to solve the supply side issue first because we realised that without enough good and unique products, visitors would come to our site and have nothing to shop for,” Chee explained.

Like many other new businesses, Camdy is no exception to entrepreneurial teething pains. “We found that our current business model is not sustainable and it is difficult for us to survive by just charging a small 10% transaction fee on each item sold,” Chee shared.

Facing this dilemma, the Camdy team was determined to overcome this hurdle and was struck with an idea. Chee shared, “To take Camdy up a notch, I thought of a gifting solution called SendGift, which is a software as a solution (Saas) plugin that can be implemented on other marketplaces outside Camdy.”

The patent-pending solution is intended for people who struggle with buying customised gifts. SendGift works by taking away the guesswork from the giver and instead allows the recipient to key in their colour preference and delivery address.

As far as deploying this new idea is concerned, Chee said, “We have received pretty good feedback from some online retailers that we have approached. But there is still a lot of groundwork to do – we’d love to connect with online marketplaces to offer our value.”

With such a differentiated solution under its belt, Camdy may have just found its competitive edge over other gift marketplaces. “We have learnt that our products are just one piece of the puzzle. Marketing, fundraising, educating the market, having a good team and maintaining our community are important components too,” Chee said.


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