The Start-Up Entrepreneur Series in collaboration with Entrepreneurs.my and This Week In Asia, aims to inspire a new breed of Generation-Y entrepreneurs, showcasing success stories of entrepreneurs in the region who have succeeded despite their young age. We interview Fashionpreneur, Social Media Strategist and Entrepreneur, Jon W on his start as a fashion entrepreneur and his transition of being a social media strategist to becoming the next big name in online fashion.
Getting to know about The Start-Up
- Tell us more about Your Company – What have you built? What is your product or service to your customers? What is your track-record so far?
ZNG IMPRESA is the company managing the shoe label, Z’NG. I aim to build a fashion empire that houses several fashion brands, but we are still at a humble beginning and we are glad that the brand has garnered some media attention. The brand’s Facebook Page is reaching 1,500 members before we even launch!
- Why did you decide to go into this business? Is it because it is a lucrative market? Is it a Blue Ocean which your talents and expertise through your business can provide?
When I was working for a massive fashion online retailer, shoe is/was the most sort-after product as compared to the rest and because I am a big fan of shoes, it feels right to dive into this business.
In Malaysia, there are many footwear retailers but it’s quite rare to spot a brand. I wanted to build a luxury shoe brand that revolves around three fundamental principles – sophistication, practicality and affordability. My competitors are either selling products that are very practical but too expensive, or not practical and very pricey. I wanted to be the dot connecting all these different aspects and you know them ladies – they can never get enough of shoes.
- Please share with us, when you established your organization during its early days – How did you fund it? Any tips on raising the funds? Any tips on convincing investors?
Because I was working in Singapore for a short period of time, I’ve managed to save up and big chunk of them had gone into the shoe business. From stock acquisition, to building the online store, the traveling, etc – all came solely from my pocket. Since I used to work for a VC for a short tenure, I roughly know how they roll.
If they were to put $1 into your business, you better darn well return them with more than $3. Having said, I am open to acquiring investments since it is the fastest way to expand the brand but I would like to remain having control over all creative aspects of the business.
- Where do you see your business growing into, for the next 5 to 10 years?
I am aiming to have at least a flagship store in Kuala Lumpur next year and each of these neighbouring cities: Singapore, Jakarta, Bangkok, and Sydney in the next 5 years. Some say my dream is too big, but I think the sky is not the limit. I would love to see my brand poised as a competitor to the big names such as Tory Burch, Jimmy Choo, and Brian Atwood in time to come – giving them a run for their money. My ultimate wish is for Oprah Winfrey to name my shoes as one of her “favourite things”.
- What is your vision for the industry that you are in? Do you see a trend coming up that your business can capitalize?
Fashion retail now requires brand owners to be present in both offline & online sphere and you can’t afford to be either. Tiffany & Co. led the way by going online back in 1999 and they are not lacking of brick-and-mortar stores too. What people view online, they might be purchasing the product in your walk-in store.
What customers see in your offline store, they may buy it on your e-commerce website. One of the easiest ways out to create immense digital presence is to leverage on the large online retailers in the region – namely Zalora, which is also the trend right now.
Fashion brands are jumping on the bandwagon to display their products with one or more online department stores and Z’NG is doing the same too. Another amazingly exciting trend is to use viral videos to promote a brand via product placements. This is one I’ve yet to explore.
To be Continued to Part 3 on the 30th of January
### Special thanks to This Week in Asia as our supporting partner in bringing to us, the Start-Up Entrepreneur Interview Series ###
About The Start-Up Entrepreneur:
Back in March 2010, at 23 Jon W. founded a national level competition by the name of Project One & Only (Project O&O), an online pageant that garnered 30,000 fans on Facebook in a span of 3 months. His exposure and experience with Project O&O secured him the position of Brand Manager for I Nouvi Professional. Jon W. then brought his expertise over to Zalora Singapore as the Regional Head of Social Marketing.
Hailed as an exceptional young entrepreneur by his peers and fuelled by a deep appetite for everything fashion, Jon W. recently founded Zng Impresa, a company which aims to build, expand, and to market Z’NG, the visionary footwear label in creative & unconventional ways.
Armed with his fashion designing passion, Jon W. participated and emerged as one of the Top 8 finalists in Digi Fashion Design Competition 2007, among the Top 10 finalists for Fendi Baguetta Bag Design Competition 2009, came in as 2nd runner-up for Voir Shoez Design Competition 2010 and has been featured in New Straits Time and EH! Magazine.
About the Company:
ZNG IMPRESA (“Company”) was formed back in August 2012 to manage Z’NG, the footwear brand. The Company aims to build a fashion empire housing different fashion brands ranging from footwear, accessories and apparel to cater to the ASEAN market.
For more information on their latest selections of high quality, trendy and ‘In-Demand’ footwear, please visit them here.
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- Talk to Inspire: The Love for Shopping, Comes an Online Fashion Boutique
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