Digital Startups in Asia
As fashion and technology continue to ride the wave of progress, more fashion entrepreneurs are finding new ways to shake up the e-commerce scene. We highlight 3 fashion and lifestyle digital startups in Asia that are paving the way forward.
A successful and much hyped about crowd funding project gave birth to bags and leather accessories brand, Gnome & Bow. Founded by Quanda Ong, the Singapore-based company reached their target of $30,000 needed to start their first production run in a matter of 3 weeks via crowdfunding platform – Pozible. Deeply fascinated by stories as a child, Quanda sought for a way to combine his passion for bags with his love of storytelling. Giving up his bank job of 2.5 years to focus on Gnome and Bow full time, Quanda is the designer and creator of bags and accessories with that missing spark.
Founded on the notion that bags can go beyond functionality to become a new medium for storytelling, Gnome & Bow weaves an element of fantasy into everyday necessities. Drawing inspiration from the classics to tales of fancy, Quanda develops story elements that are imbued seamlessly into the brand’s wares. As with reading a book for the first time, exploring Gnome & Bow’s imagination-fuelled products will uncover clever details that reveal a story you’ll find familiar, only with a modern twist. Their debut collection cleverly illustrates the story of “The Hare and the Tortoise” and is composed of a folio, briefcase, backpack, duffel, billfold wallet, card slot, card holder and leather bracelet. The brand will also be launching a bag collection for Book II: Jekyll’s Hyde in May this year.
Find Gnome & Bow at: http://gnomenbow.com/ | @gnomenbow
In the age of Pinterest and highly styled magazine layouts, we can’t say we’re new to the powers of the moodboard. Enter iDecorate – the do-it-all decorating site allows shoppers to curate and purchase items for the home with the aid of a digital styleboard. Realising that styling and decorating one’s home can be a mean feat for the uninitiated, Founder and CEO of iDecorate, Shana Buchanan, created the world’s first moodboard-meets-shopping cart, which allows people to visualise how the products they purchase will tie in together in one space. For the first time, users can drag and drop a photo of their home or venue onto the site and start styling with iDecorate products until they arrive at the perfect mix.
iDecorate curates an inspiring yet affordable collection of art and homewares created by artisans and designers around the world. Instead of trawling endlessly through images on magazines, blogs and Pinterest without being able to find products to match, users can easily select one of the many options at hand. Soon to launch is the iDecorate affordable art collection, which features collaborations with some of the hottest emerging artists from around the globe. Antoinette Wysocki’s original works sell for more than US$10,000 but a limited edition reproduction could be yours for just under US$500.
Find iDecorate at: http://www.idecorateshop.com/ | @idecorateshop
Having come across one too many incredibly talented fashion and lifestyle product designers who were established in their own countries and ready to grow across borders yet lacking the right platform and expertise required to be seen and heard internationally, Debra Langley stepped in to give these independent designers a stage. Omni-channel retailer Inverted Edge, has established itself as a curator of only the coolest fashion and lifestyle wares from contemporary brands, many of whom are fresh to the Asian market. The company is also the e-commerce partner for Manifesto concept store, SPH Magazines, and Digital Fashion Week Singapore, with a string of exciting new projects that serve to put a spotlight on emerging design talent around the world.
They’ve just launched TOKYO 3.0, a special collection of 12 cutting-edge Japanese designers who have never before ventured outside Japan. The collaboration between Yoshio Yokoburi, a well known Japanese brand consultant, and Manifesto, the concept store opening in the Capital Piazza development in April is definitely one to keep tabs on. Inverted Edge will again partner with Manifesto to showcase some of its selected brands in store while Manifesto will launch its online services exclusively at Inverted Edge. Ahead of that, they’ve also opened a two-month pop-up store at I12 Katong Mall on the East Coast, where customers can get a taste of the highly anticipated TOKYO 3.0 and Inverted Edge x Manifesto collections.
Find Inverted Edge at: www.invertededge.com
BREAKING OUT OF THE MOULD: Tips from digital startups, for digital startups
Don’t rush your business plan.
Take the time to carve out your business strategy and refine your product offering. Don’t be in a rush to get to market quickly with a subpar product. The lean startup with a minimum viable product can be tempting, and it works, but keep in mind that you haven’t set the threshold for minimum viable too low.
Align your image strategy.
Even when operating across multiple platforms, make sure that the way you present yourself online, in-store, on social media and through advertising can be tied to same thread.
Build a connection with consumers.
Most companies that have found success in the past couple of years have built a formidable brand that consumers can connect with. Debra Langley introduced us to Eyewear brand, Warby Parker, who earned its stellar reputation through customer referrals praising its high standards of customer service. Customers were so thrilled at being offered free shipping and free returns that they spread the word around. Of course, it also made them feel good that for every pair of glasses they purchased, another was donated to someone in need.