Knocked out of the skies and grounded, three pilots turned to their next love and it’s a wrap! Literally that’s it! Here’s their story of life-saviour opportunities in a crisis…
For Senior First Officers Yie Kiong Yong (KY), Kevin Yoong and Scott Rais, the skies were literally their playground. For five years, they were high-flying their dreams – as fly-boys of the world’s largest low-cost carrier.
They were Top Gun Tom Cruise in commercial aviation… until 2020 came and lives change. From the cockpit of high-flying, it turned into the pits of low life just overnight. To say that the fall from the fallout of Covid-19 was drastic is an understatement!
Plunged to the depths never encountered, it is all about survival. Foolhardy it may seem when clutching straws after loss of income, they turned to passion which once brought a turning point in their lives. Passion driven, they were able to take to the skies. Now, could their other passion drive them out of the pits?
For the trio, cars have been their passion too. And what sparked it off as a possible lifeline being cut off from flying allowance was Kevin’s dream to wrap his car. A business opportunity? An uncrowded playing field? An income stream?
Ignited by fertile imagination that went into overdrive, all three decided to enroll into a car-wrapping course to learn more.
That first investment soon enough led to a major investment – the car-wrapping franchise of SWAGGER. Confident that pooling together their savings, it would be the right move to swagger during this hiatus of limits of the skies.
SWAGGER GARAGE OUG in Taman OUG, Old Klang Road, officially opened for business in August 2020, five months after MCO.
Now at this point, the top-of-mind question in some reading this will be: what’s a car-wrap?
A wrap is a large vinyl applied directly over the original paint of the vehicle. Wrapping allows change to vehicle's colour, finish and appearance in a very short period of time. The great thing is the wrap can be removed, returning the vehicle back to its original colour and condition, if necessary.
While it may seem to be a wrap for these fly boys, can it be for real that this transition from the skies to the ground can be that easy? Can this be sustainable for passion-driven without business acumen?
“Flying is and will always be our main passion, our bread and butter. But we need to survive and, of course, to keep our cars! Getting into the car wrapping business is our logical proposition for survival,” said Scott.
But flying into uncharted territory?
“Yes there are challenges. Up in the air in our cockpit, we don’t have to deal much with people. Just the cabin crew and there is a hierarchy to fall back on,” added Kevin. “Now, we have to manage people – customers, our franchisor, staff and even ourselves. Dealing with people is challenging.”
KY chipped in: “When we fly the only thing that we cannot control is the weather. In business, not everything is under our control!”
To this, Kevin added: “For instance, if our staff don’t turn up at work, our delivery will be pushed back. We cannot allow that to happen especially when we are so new. So, we have to do it ourselves to meet the deadline.”
Another key consideration for these new entrepreneurs is quality.
“Wrapping is like an art. It is skilled work and everyone has their own perception of a perfect wrap. What is good for one person may not be so for another. It is a challenge to keep all sides happy,” said Kevin.
So, what does the future hold for these flyboys turned w-rappers?
All three share: “We want this business to succeed and for us to open more branches. But we also want to be able to fly regularly again. The ideal situation is for us to have one foot in the air and one on the ground – that would be a dream come true.”
And for now: “Till we all can take to the air once again, we will continue to keep trust in travel and urge the thousands in the industry to keep flying – if not literally then in their attitude and outlook!”