Waste Of Money Meh? Singapore Together Pack Is More Than A Freebie
So the NDP Singapore Together Pack gets distributed from today. But before your Grinchy self starts complaining (again) about what a waste of money it is, know this: There’s more to this year’s funpack than meets the eye.
Apart from the fact that it’s designed by the differently abled and holds actually useful things, like masks, hand sanitiser and a thermometer, what you may not realise is that it’s doubling as a much-needed outreach platform for dozens of smaller local businesses in these challenging times.
To mark Singapore’s 55th birthday, the companies have each created a special item which they’re offering at one-off prices via e-coupons that you can access using a code in the pack. The coupons give the businesses the opportunity to connect with the 80% of Singapore’s roughly 1.37 million households who will be receiving the item, which will (hopefully!) result in more support.
And there’s a lot of cool stuff in there, like a special offer for popular boutique ice cream store Ice Cream & Cookie Co’s exclusive NDP flavour; discounts and free face masks from Irvins Salted Egg snacks; access to special kueh-kueh from hip Peranakan specialist HarriAnns, and more.
Here are three inspiring stories of local businesses who’ll be contributing to the pack:
What do you do when you’re a smallish company facing one of the most challenging, big-bad-world situations? Bean-to-bar chocolate manufacturer Benns rallied other small local businesses who were struggling, and together they’ve created one of Singapore’s coolest new edible treats.
If you haven’t heard of Benns before, that’s because they used to focus on selling their ethically sourced chocs to the tourist market. But when tourist arrivals dropped to practically zero during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Singapore-owned biz had to pivot sharply.
“Once the tourist segment was hit, the majority of our revenue disappeared overnight,” shares director Jerome Penafort. “So we strategised to work with other local players and pushed ourselves to do things differently.”
It helped that the company, whose main production facility is in Selangor, had opened a small lab in Singapore before the start of the Circuit Breaker and Malaysia’s MCO. They quickly teamed up with other local artisans like Irvins and Brass Lion Distillery to make a series of chocolate bon bons with SG-inspired flavours like salted egg yolk and butterfly pea gin, which were so popular, they sold three times their target.
So what’s for National Day? A limited-edition collab with local marmalade maker Straits Preserves called "Tropical - Flavours of Home". This is a box of bon bons with zingy locally influenced flavours like Ginger Snap, Calamansi Surprise and Singapore Sling. And you can get this set at a special price of 2 boxes for $55 with the Together Pack coupon, instead of the usual $35 per box. Talk about sticking together in tough times.
If you’re a young parent, you’ve probably heard of Hegen, the innovative baby-bottle maker that started right here in Singapore. The brand has become so popular in its five years of business that it’s now in over 15 markets worldwide. But even a global network gets stuck when slapped with a crisis like COVID-19.
“Business was impacted quite badly - we didn’t expect it to be so terrible,” says founder Yvon Bock. “Our factory is in Malaysia and it was a nightmare because not only had our demand been affected, our supply then got affected by the MCO just as demand was starting to recover.”
But the entrepreneur decided to stay positive. Instead of giving up or laying off staff, she looked for different avenues to get her supply chain moving and alternative delivery options for Singapore buyers. She also invested in content to educate mothers on breastfeeding and supported frontliner mums by sending 1,000 Hegen gift sets to them. “We decided to look at it from a different angle - let’s not fret and just do what we can do.”
Hegen’s contribution to the Together Pack reflects her thinking. A limited-edition 330ml drinking bottle (for adults, not babies) decorated with nature’s fertility flower, the orchid, it’s a reminder for everyone to always see the silver lining. Bonus: It’s made of high-grade PPSU material that can hold temperatures of up to 180 degrees C, so it will keep your dabao’d kopi o piping hot. Only 2,020 are available and the bottle will be priced at $28 for the first 550 Singapore Together Pack redemptions (or $35 without).
This tiny sweet-treats biz needs no introduction, since its ice cream sandwiches and pint tubs are hot stuff in many cafes. But when the Circuit Breaker happened and its manufacturing facility was forced to shut, business cooled faster than cream in an ice cream maker, and founder Natasha Chiam had to think of other ways to keep the cash flow going. Things were tight, but she was determined to be fair to her staff.
“We calculated what we could afford and passed everyone cash bonuses based on the government subsidies we received,” says Natasha, who paid out equal sums to both her local and foreign workers.
And since there was “a lot of fear around taking public transport”, the company also decided to cover taxi fares for its employees to get to and from work every day.
Now things are slowly getting back on track, and Ice Cream & Cookie Co wants to do its part to rally more people. For National Day, it’s creating a red-and-white Strawberry Cheesecake flavour in special NDP packaging that it’s giving away free (along with a cooler bag) with every $40 purchase from its online store when you use the Together Pack coupon. “It’s good to cheer people up after having gone through such a tough year!” says Natasha.
The Singapore Together Pack will be available for collection at your nearest Community Clubs (CCs) or Residents’ Committee (RCs) centres from today (20 Jul) to 2 Aug 2020, if you choose to collect it.