Jennifer Mak – Independent Luxury Handbag Brand
Writing about web page http://www.jennifermak.com/
Interviewer & Editor: Yiting Wu (Yilia)
It is such an honour to interview Ms. Jennifer Mak. She used to have an enviable job with high salary and reputation, but because of her ambition and interest, Jennifer quitted her job and build up a start-up by herself. In order to get enough financial support to her brand, now she and her assistant are struggling to apply for the government funds and raise money from their side-lines. But both of them pour total devotion to the brand and enjoy what they are doing without any complaint. They are entrepreneurs, just like us, learning how to get access to success, and will also suffer for query and failure, but they never give up.
Jennifer Mak is an Independent Luxury Handbag Brand found by Jennifer herself, based in Hong Kong, China. The collection is a line of luxury exotic skins handbags made from the finest python, ostrich, lizard, stingray and crocodile for day and night.
With an MBA from Columbia Business School along with the experience of working at Loro Piana and Hermès, Jennifer subscribes to an uncompromising commitment to quality in creating classic must-have pieces for the modern woman.
After spending years creating bags and accessories for herself and her friends, Jennifer decided to leave her job in the corporate world to follow her passion.
Let’s hear her stories and suggestions.
Q1. How to make sure that your idea (to start your business) is feasible and consistent?
Having realistic estimates re how much it will costs to launch a first collection and how much it will cost to reach break-even and profitability is very important.
Q2. From the time you plan your business to the time you decide to start it, how long it takes? And what incentives made up your mind to begin?
5 months. It was research time and thinking time. Once you crossed the line of no turn, you just do it without questioning it. I think of the first few collections as “proof of concept” so that was an incentive – to prove that it’s viable.
Q3. How did you find your first partner? If you want to find one more, what personalities are the most important? Why?
I just did it on my own. Partners can be a great advantage or disadvantage. I’ve heard lots of horror stories; this is not to say I won’t consider- I think a strategic partner/investor can be very good for the business.
Q4. In the early stage of entrepreneurship, what should we pay most attention to? Talents, products, venture capitals or the organisation structure?
I think it’s always the products. Have to have a good product but you never stop thinking about money. Once your start to grow, then structure becomes important.
Q5. What difficulties have you come across in expanding your business?
A lot of larger retailers are very difficult to work with…to the extent it was surprising to me…
Q6. How to find and focus your potential customers?
We haven’t done any advertising or paid outreach PR, so it’s really through word of month and other forms of PR…We work with partners and share their database…
Q7.In your opinion, what kinds of abilities are indispensable in starting your own business?
You have to able to multitask because you are wearing many hats, being organized is important, being enterprising is important, being able to stretch the dollar is also important. In the end, perseverance and optimism can carry you a long way.
Q8. What advises could you give to the new entrepreneurs who, like you, wants to run a business in fashion industry?
Research and plan before you start, try to give yourself as long as a runway as possible and once you start, don’t look back!