An honest chat with Daniel from Interstellar Goods
We speak to Daniel from Interstellar Goods and he shares with us a little more about his day to day, and also his dreams and ambitions. Daniel is not just a trained lawyer but now an entrepreneur, intrepid adventurer, innovator, coffee lover and more! He is someone who subscribes to lifelong learning and always strives to put his customers first with every idea and venture. Check out what Daniel has to share about the work that Interstellar Good does, his thoughts on mental wellness and more!
Bootstrap: Tell us a bit about yourself
Daniel: Hi I’m Daniel! I’m an avid traveller, and one of my dreams is to do a 3 year backpacking trip around the world. I like to dabble in random hobbies in my free time, and have tried my hand at things like learning a new language (French), coding, making cold brews and acrylic painting.
Bootstrap: What is Interstellar Goods and what got you started?
Daniel: Interstellar Goods is a platform for beautifully innovative items from all around the world. A lot of our wonderful products begin life on crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, and are brands which value customer service and community building very heavily.
Interstellar Goods started about 3+ years back when I still used to be a corporate lawyer. One day I decided that while I was still young, I should embark on my dream to run my own business. I decided to try my hand at something I was passionate about – Kickstarter products. Interstellar Goods was born out of a passion for curation, experience and innovative products, and remains my full time job until today.
Bootstrap: What can we get excited about?
Daniel: Our stuff is carefully selected to be both beautiful AND exceptionally functional. Everything on Interstellar Goods is designed to add a touch of zen to your daily life (and travel!). We work with quite a few exciting brands directly, and many of the items we carry come straight from overseas.
One super cool product that will be coming to Singapore soon is the eco-friendly range of drinkware by Made by Fressko. They do these super Instagrammable reusable, vacuum-sealed coffee cups that are spill-proof (both lid and spout). Everyone who has seen Fressko’s drinkware has instantly fallen in love with them!
“Well-designed products remove a lot of frustration in daily living,
and in fact add these beautiful moments of delight throughout the day”
Bootstrap: Your mission, “Interstellar Good’s mission is to simplify daily life with better-designed products.“, is very refreshing to us! What do you hope for Singaporeans to understand about this?
Daniel: Well-designed products remove a lot of frustration in daily living, and in fact add these beautiful moments of delight throughout the day. I hope for Singaporeans (and anyone that buys our stuff really!) to experience and appreciate these moments that speak of a creator’s passion. I also hope for Singaporeans to appreciate the value of quality products that can last for years.
Bootstrap: Since Covid has shaken up the world, how has it been like for you? And how can people in Singapore support you?
Daniel: Times have definitely becoming tougher after Covid. For instance we used to carry a lot of travel-related items, and the demand for that simply vanished overnight. But our mission remains the same, just perhaps with more lifestyle-focused products. It is our mission, and the onus is on us to deliver value to our customers. So I would say it isn’t really about what the people in Singapore can do for us. One thing we really appreciate though is a happy customer who drops us a thank you text, or who tells his/her friends about us. Small gestures like these really go a long way, and it absolutely re-energises us!
“I always believe life isn’t always about pursuing what is easy – rather, it is about going after what is meaningful, what brings about the greatest self-development.”
Bootstrap: How has it been like running a business? Do you have any words of encouragement for fellow Bootstrappers?
Daniel: Running a business has definitely been tough, but also extremely rewarding. I always believe life isn’t always about pursuing what is easy – rather, it is about going after what is meaningful, what brings about the greatest self-development. Framed in this perspective, success and failure take on very different mantles – simply put, are you a better / more satisfied person from doing what you’re doing, or not?
As long as the answer is yes, that is all you need. It might have been Mark Twain that said, “20 years from now, you will regret the things you didn’t do more than the things you did.“. Imagine yourself at 40, 60, 80 – how will you look back at what you are doing today (regardless of the outcome)? And how would you have looked back at yourself, if you did not do it?
Bootstrap: In conjunction with Mental Health Awareness Month, what does mental wellness mean to you individually?
Daniel: To me, mental wellness means believing life is worth living for. It embodies an element of hope for and control over a future one wants, and a state of fulfilment and contentment. Mental wellness is a very real thing, but difficult for many people to understand or be aware of. And the reason is simple – it is something invisible, unmeasurable and just…intangible. How do you even know if you are in a good state of mental wellness? Let alone for others to know when you are not.
I think mental wellness is incredibly important to pay attention to. Without it, people cannot live their best and most productive lives. It’s probably trite that society is most enjoyable with happy people in it, and you cannot have happy people if they do not feel fulfilled. To a large extent, mental wellness is within one’s control to improve over time, so it would be shame to be resigned to think that this is something inborn and unchangeable. Things like physical exercise, deliberately scheduling time off (and properly disconnecting from work) etc. are all lifestyle choices that people can make. But we must also recognise that we are in very stressful times, so my hope for fellow Singaporeans if for us to extend an extra dose of compassion to one another. I have no doubt that better times lie ahead – we just have to get through this together.