See the man on the right? That's the beloved founding father of OUTPOST Uniform: Lai Kam Hong - the first Ultimate Uniform Fan.
He's been known to us - and to many, whose lives he touched over the past decades - by many names: as the Ultimate Sports Man; the Business Man; the Great Outdoors Man; the Handsome Man; the Uniform Man; the Sharp-as-an-Eagle Man; the Disciplined Man; the Kids-love-Him Man; and - finally - the Passionate Man.
Why the Passionate Man, you may ask? This is his story...
That's the main ingredient for any successful venture - and Mr Lai had shiploads of it.
During the 1960's - when Elvis was singing, Martin Luther King made his historical freedom speech, and the Vietnam War was on its way - this young man started a uniform shop, tucked away in the hustle and bustle of a busy town known as Klang.
Mr Lai started the business as a uniform shop for scouts, selling basic camping equipment as well. Happily, he was able to meet the requirements of the local scouts and girl guides - not surprising, since he was Sharp-as-an-Eagle Man.
'The Customer is Always Right'
His success in always being able to suit the customer's needs was because of his classic mantra above - which the staff at OUTPOST have had drummed into their heads since the start, and for always (trust us on this!).
Igniting a new flame, by passing the torch
On one hot afternoon, under a shady banana tree, Mr Lai spoke to his son Richard Lye - a monumental occasion, as anyone who knew Mr Lai would attest to (he could probably have another title - the Seldom-Speaking-but-Always-Meaningful Man - but that is another story).
Mr Lai said, "Son, it's time you earned your rice bowl - you start work tomorrow." And when Richard pointed out his age, Mr Lai said, "Yes, I know you're only 12 - but it is better to start earlier rather than later." And that was how the business was later passed down to family members - period of time fondly remembered by the Lye family as "The Age of Reckoning".
Richard, in turn, eventually had a son of his own, Colin, whom he also got to continue the business that Colin's grandfather started - continuing the great old man's legacy, and ensuring that Malaysians still benefit from the vision of the man from Klang.
Keeping up with the times
Fast forward to the late 1990s, and a significant newspaper article appears (right)!
Richard jumped for joy - just like he did when he was much younger - as the news meant that a whole new market was open to him. As a result of the surge in demand for co-curriculum uniforms following the Ministry of Education's policy, Camps & Apparels Corporation Sdn Bhd was formed in 1999 by Mr Lai's family members, with the aim of revolutionising the retail concept by providing quality co-curriculum uniforms that complies with the attire protocol of the respective uniformed bodies.
After obtaining the approval from and endorsement of the Ministry of Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development in 2003, the company launched its first franchised outlet in the royal town of Shah Alam in 2004. In 2007, through a rebranding exercise, it introduced its new retail outlet concept under a new tradename: OUTPOST Uniform. Currently, there are more than 20 OUTPOST retail outlets in Malaysia, located in nearly every state.
As with all great legends, Mr Lai left behind a legacy that had one aim: to see the day when any child wearing an OUTPOST uniform will feel proud, smart and confident! It's a goal that is likely to be achieved and sustained - because every OUTPOST uniform comes with 49 years worth of passion (and counting).
We hope you enjoyed our story as much as our uniforms - because we sure enjoyed making them for you!
- The OUTPOST Team -