Featured Interview: Meet the Ribbon Team!

What started as the desire to elevate the gifting experience grew into a start-up that has revolutionised the digital gifting industry in Malaysia while giving back to the community during the pandemic. Meet the founding team that makes your curated gifting dreams come true.

How - and Why - Did You Join Ribbon?

It began when I had a catch-up with Darren - the founder of Ribbon - in Ipoh last year. We were both back from Melbourne and I was looking for something exciting to do now that I was done with my studies. When Darren pitched the idea of a curated gift set with the upcoming Raya celebration, I instantly knew it would be a fun experience! What started as a small e-commerce project turned into a serious thing for all of us at Ribbon. It was invigorating to see the potential of what could be achieved through effort, teamwork and commitment. I definitely didn’t see myself co-founding a business but I’m very grateful to have joined a great team with such a strong vision.

Ashley

It was a feeling I couldn’t shake. During the peak of the pandemic in 2020, I had a strong calling to start my own business. And what better place was there to do it than my home? So, I left my job in Melbourne and returned to Malaysia. At first, I was clueless as to what I could venture into. All I knew was that it had to have a positive impact on the local community. One day, while I was searching for a perfect gift for a friend’s birthday in Kuala Lumpur, I realised there wasn’t really a unique platform for gifts. I wanted to be able to mix and match things in a personal way. Most strong brands were standalone and the next best alternative was to get food delivery. With the realisation that this was something I could change, I approached friends I had the opportunity to work with back in Melbourne, and this marked the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey.

Darren

I met Darren while we were working together at HWKR, a restaurant in Melbourne. I had always thought of becoming an entrepreneur when I was younger, but I never knew which industry I would venture into. Earlier this year, I returned from Tasmania - this was when Darren shared his idea of a new gifting adventure. I saw this as the opportunity of a lifetime. It would change the way we traditionally give and receive gifts here in Malaysia which usually revolves around gifting food. So, I took a leap of faith and joined the team.

Kee Yew

I worked closely with Darren at a previous startup in Melbourne and was always amazed by his passion and creativity. I ended up moving back to Malaysia and it was only a matter of time before we collaborated again. I'm thankful to be with amazing co-founders who share this unique vision of revolutionizing the gifting industry here, all while prioritizing social impact. Having been involved in startups before, I always liked to hear about new business ideas and how I could help to bring the vision to life.

Richard

Let's Get Personal - What Does Gifting Mean to You?

To me, gifting means putting a smile on someone’s face whenever, wherever, and without needing a reason to!

Ashley

Gift-giving gives us great satisfaction and gratification. The way we feel when we see the way someone’s face lights up - there is nothing quite like it.

Darren

Gifting shows someone how much we truly appreciate them and how grateful we are that they are part of our life. Whenever we receive a gift from someone, we know that we are appreciated.

Kee Yew

Gifting is as much about giving as it is about receiving. When you send someone a gift, it shows they were on your mind. As Jim Rohn said, “only by giving are you able to receive more than you already have.”

Richard

Describe Ribbon in a Few Words

Keeping human connection at heart.

Ashley

The all-year-round Santa Claus!

Darren

Making people smile through gifts.

Kee Yew

Fulfilling your gifting ideas.

Richard

What do You Love About Your Team?

I love that when the team comes together, diverse, crazy ideas are shared and we take each other’s perspectives with an open mind. Creativity shines through when everyone’s strength is played and cultivated.

Ashley

People often have trouble finding the perfect gift and tend to buy gifts at the last minute. And it’s amazing to see how the founding team is working passionately every day to solve those issues by utilising one’s skills and talent. As the team grows, I hope we could build a diverse team (be it religious background, skills, etc) to satisfy the gifting needs of the community in Malaysia and ultimately, the whole of Southeast Asia!

Darren

I love that the team trusts each other and took the leap of faith to explore online gifting together.

Kee Yew

Giving, or more broadly sharing, is ingrained in our DNA. We are fundamentally social creatures who prioritise human connections. While it may be easy to go to the cheapest e-commerce store to buy a present, we aim to provide more options to gift-givers out there, and for their loved ones. I love that the team can bring their unique strengths to the table and achieve this vision of curated gifting.

Richard

Where Do You Hope To See Ribbon in The Next 5 Years?

I hope Ribbon becomes the ultimate choice for gifting needs in Southeast Asia.

Ashley

I hope Ribbon will be the gifting platform for every household in Southeast Asia. I also want people to be aware that gift-giving is not only limited to others but you can treat yourself to a gift too. Intangible gifts such as the gift of time to the underprivileged communities is also another form of meaningful gift-giving.

Darren

When people talk about gifting, I hope Ribbon will be the first thing that comes to mind.

Kee Yew

I hope to see Ribbon as a pioneer in the digital gifting space, connecting loved ones and supporting the less privileged.

Richard

If You Weren't Building This Startup, What Would You Be Doing?

I would be doing social marketing or starting a small home baking business.

Ashley

I’d be a mad scientist finding a cure to combat antibiotic resistance for sexually transmitted diseases in a laboratory!

Darren

Climbing the corporate ladder.

Kee Yew

Working at another startup.

Richard

Could You Share Your Favourite Quote With Us?

“He that can have patience can have what he will” - Benjamin Franklin.

Ashley

“Keep moving forward,” from the movie, Meet the Robinsons. This was inspired by a Walt Disney quote: “We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

Darren

A quote by Richard Branson: “Brave people don't live forever but cautious people don't live at all.”

Kee Yew

“No one has ever become poor by giving.” - Anne Frank

Richard

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