Tiger Tales – A Profile of Ban Y J

The following article was published in Tiger Tales, an inflight magazine for Tiger Airways. I don’t have a copy to directly link too, so I’ve pasted the text directly into this post. Enjoy.


Ban Yinh Jheow TOY TYCOON

Toy fan meets entrepreneurial risk-taker in Ban, 37, who is the CEO Chairman of STIKFAS™, a company worth USD10 million today.

Ban received his first toy – an IG88 Star Wars action figure – in the 1970s, and his fascination with toys has not ebbed, as the Star Wars collectibles and Thomas the Tank Engine train set on his massive office desk will attest.

But where most boys just play with theirs, Ban has turned his toys into a money-spinner. STIKFAS™ brings to the world popular figures such as the Alpha Male Archangel, Beta Female Demoness and G2 Alpha Male with Dome Robot Walker – a first for Southeast Asia.

The idea to start the company came to him in 2001 after a visit to a toy fair in Japan. So he got busy, sketching the first STIKFAS™, a ball and socket self-assembled action figure. Ban roped in a few like-minded friends and a website was quickly set up – www.stikfas.com – to embark on a self-promotion drive.

This caught the attention of the world’s leading computer game publisher, Electronic Arts, which commissioned 15,000 figurines for packaging, along with their latest computer game, Emperor – Battle for Dune. The game’s stocks were quickly sold out and soon after, orders came pouring in from private toy enthusiasts around the world.

Work then began on the first mass production model of the STIKFAS™ Action Figure Kit, which was made available to the public through online sales in December 2001. From 2002 to 2004, STIKFAS™ was licensed to international toy giant Hasbro® Inc – a move that saw a growth in terms of its product range, distribution network as well as market recognition.

Today, STIKFAS™ retails over 100 different designs (from USD8/SGD12.35) through their website to clients in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, the Netherlands and even Africa, as well as niche toy shops in Singapore.

Ban keeps going, expanding the range as well as the market to tap even corporate requests for action figures. “We started with SGD500,000 and no experience,” he reveals. “We never aspired to make money, just to indulge our passion.”

The toymaker credits the company’s success to its dedication to put out the best toys that are educational and promote healthy fun, just like its inspiration, Lego.

“We want to push our boundaries, and as we have always done, we measure ourselves against international standards and brands. We are not afraid to go up against the best in the world, and that’s what drives us,” he says. BY Michelle Bong Photo LIONEL LAI

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