SaltyCustoms: Consistency better than flashes of brilliance

The company is now serving customers in more than 50 countries and has grown into an 8-digit company since its establishment 

by NURUL SUHAIDI 

THE T-shirt and merchandise printing industry has evolved significantly over the years, transforming from simply displaying logos or slogans to a booming sector of creative self-expression. 

SaltyCustoms came into the scene 14 years ago to change the T-shirt and merchandise printing industry through technological adoption and automation, adding greater value to this age-old industry while transforming the landscape. 

CEO King Quah shared that armed with a passion, consistency and commitment toward quality, SaltyCustoms saw exponential growth in the retail printing space as it leveraged technology offering customers an easy way of ordering customised merchandise through its platform. 

“Starting the business was a simple decision. There was a demand for good quality and well-designed shirts in the market so we supplied them and then very quickly, we grew to three countries, shipped to over 50 countries and eventually produced over three million merchandise including shirts, bags and more,” Quah told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR). 

SaltyCustoms began its customer base from just the support of local community and acquaintances, but it was not long for the business to grab the attention of a national radio station and had its first break. 

Since then, the brand started supplying merchandise for sport events, widespread through word of mouth and eventually grew beyond Malaysia as well as sought-after global companies like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Facebook, Nestle and Coffee Bean for their products. 

Integrating Tech into Biz Operations

Incorporating cutting-edge technology into its business operations and innovations drives SaltyCustoms’ success, with which it strives to be set apart from other players in the industry. 

“In the backend, we have a very solid infrastructure. It is a network that allows merchandise ordering to take place quite autonomously. 

“For example, if you want to make shirts or tote bags for small events, with a minimum of 10 pieces you can just upload your design on our website, choose the colour, complete the ordering process and we proceed to print,” Quah said. 

The service it offers includes “Salty-Basic” which allows people to customise merchandise from minimum 10 pieces, followed by other services such as guidance from the team to bring business designs to life. 

With “SaltyOrigins”, the group makes custom orders for clients from scratch, provides customised project management solutions, with door-to-door delivery and “e-store” solutions that build an online store or e-commerce for businesses. 

Product quality remains a top priority at SaltyCustoms, Quah says

Advantages Of AI For Biz 

Just like other businesses, staying ahead of the competition is a challenge and Quah attributed his company’s ability to be up to track with a solid team with years of expertise, commitment toward quality and excellence, as well as the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI)-generated artwork. 

Quah was committed to building robust AI power design tools for the company and upgrading its central management system (CMS), a powerhouse for SaltyCustoms’ business that will allow a stronger infrastructure and business ecosystem. 

“The CMS is a one-stop centre for all of our business transactions to take place, from customers to suppliers to all the vendors in the middle, and we want it to be the expert coordinating platform,” he added. 

Apart from CMS, the brand also harnesses design with the power of AI and allows people to generate designs or ideas by just using simple keywords. 

Although it has a large inventory and stock-keeping units, product quality remains a top priority as SaltyCustoms only deals with suppliers it thinks are best in the business, has a strict onboarding process and a CMS with a robust data collection centre. 

To sustain this legacy, Quah emphasised that maintaining the company culture and its customised system are pivotal, as these two are the key engines that run the company which has been built over the years to streamline their overall business operations.

“Talents come and go, this is a natural progression of life. “We are building a system and a culture to ensure that whoever else that comes will also be successful,” he added. 

Quah shared two major milestones that demonstrate the company’s strengths, including assisting global company Amazon and a local company which the team was proud to be a part of. 

For the AWS project, SaltyCustoms co-CEO Puteri Nadzirah Inez said the team was tasked to help with a line of merchandise from start to finish. 

“The start means designing and then incorporating it in the merchandising part, and we saw it through until the delivery ended. What makes it very good is there were little to no issues with it,” she said to TMR. 

SaltyCustoms has also assisted a local company which was relocating and restructuring by providing them with new sets of merchandise. 

“The project started at the end of last year and we managed to consolidate and conclude the entire project at the beginning of this year,” Puteri Nadzirah added. 

Quah attributes his company’s ability to be up to track with a solid team with years of expertise, commitment toward quality and excellence (Pics courtesy of Quah)

Good Prospect Ahead 

With the growing e-commerce market, Quah believed the future is bright for the company. “SaltyCustoms is in the position to be the No 1 merchandise solutions company in South-East Asia. There are no signs that the market is slowing down, it has a lot of opportunity.

“People are buying merchandise on e-commerce platforms and if you look at South-East Asia, SaltyCustoms is the commanding name in merchandise solutions,” he added. 

He aimed to make SaltyCustoms more appealing and accessible to everyone, be it students, small firms or big corporations through the various verticals it offers. 

With the rise of digital technology, Quah said the company needs to adapt to market changes and constantly upgrade as the industry can be saturated with a lot of competitors. 

“Not only that, the leadership team must be able to learn and unlearn new things, and strive for excellence in everything that they do,” he added. 

Describing the company culture as empowering, encouraging and fun, Quah draws strength from the desire to bring a better life to himself and all his teammates as a reason to keep going and not give up on his legacy. 

“Looking back after 14 years, I am happy with the progress that we have made. Not only for business but as a person, I have grown a lot,” he said. 

Internationally, SaltyCustoms serves customers in more than 50 countries and has grown into an eight-digit company since its establishment, spread through word of mouth. 

“I started the company when I was 21 years old, and the fact that this company is still standing is just testimony to my ‘not giving up’ attitude. 

“I also believe that consistency is better than flashes of brilliance,” he said. 

This year, the brand is set to launch a few significant events with other thought leaders in design. 


  • This article first appeared in The Malaysian Reserve weekly print edition

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