May 25, 2014

Elska Inspiration Talk

Jes was invited by her lecturer to give a presentation on Elska to a class at Raffles Merchandising Institute yesterday and I went with the intention to support her but was recognized as the co-owner and had to give some input here and there. Other than looking presentable with a pretty dress and Elska heels, I was very unprepared. Thankfully I was very composed in the impromptu talk and Q&As as I tend to get quite nervy (even if I don't show) for my well-prepared speeches.

I think it's great to share with students the difficulties we have faced/are facing while building up a brand. Even though we did a thorough market research and had concise planning before Elska launched, 90% of our plans went awry. The important thing is to adapt when facing unexpected situations. I gave an example of how we had 200 bad quality shoes coming in from China, at that time as we just started out, we had to fly down to China to do quality check on stocks personally, and as we were only 3 months into Elska, we had too many things to oversee and were too busy to head down that one time and assumed the stocks were alright judging from the good quality samples we received. We were extremely shocked when the quality fell short of our expectations but we couldn't blame it on the factory as it was really our fault for 'approving' the batch. But in the end, I managed to convince them to redo the batch for us. We spent so much money sending these goods back only to have them confiscated by China customs and the reason behind it was because we had to apply for a 'license' for the goods to be approved but the license was too expensive so we decided to give up the goods. It was a lot cheaper to pay for a new batch production than to obtain the license.

After this incident, we decided to hire part-timers for production quality control. This was one of the unfortunate events we faced in the past year, we didn't have much experience when we decided to start Elska. When I was designing shoes for Miss Sixty and Energie, the production was based in Vietnam and I was mainly in charge of design. Things might be a lot more different if we had more advice and guidance when we first started. We learnt the hard way but I guess it's good in a way as we grow with these experiences and are extra careful dealing with unexpected situations now. (:

Finally, we would like to say a big thank you to Anissa and Raffles Merchandising Institute for having us, it was a pleasure for us to share our experiences. (:

Till next time,

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