Noticing a lack of options for brands looking to dispose of excess stock, Diego and Delphine started OnTheList offering clothing, accessories and lifestyle goods from well-known brands at heavy discounts.
What’s your story?
Delphine and I have been working in the fashion industry since the beginning, and when we came together wanting to start something, we always touched on the point where brands are constantly faced with inventory problems, which is yet taken care of in Asia. Not only is it costly to store inventories, Delphine and I also felt unfortunate with the inventories that are taken with extreme actions of destroying them. We wanted to start OnTheList right then in the hope of producing a sustainable option to the consumers and that’s how we started.
What excites you most about your industry?
The industry is forever changing and creative, so we always have to keep up to pitch.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I discovered the beauty of Asia when I first went to Singapore in 11 years old. Everything was so new to me and that sort of inspired my dream to work in Asia. I had the opportunity to work with big brands in France and we’re always working with clients in Asia. Eventually, I decided to come to Hong Kong to see for myself and it is indeed a good place to start because of the pace and all the people I met here are super open-minded, which makes it easier to work something out.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Definitely here in Hong Kong. This place is international and surrounded by open-minded people, which makes it so easy to share ideas with and come together to do projects together. Of course, it is still challenging to open a company here in Hong Kong but I feel this is the place where opportunities lie.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Test and try small first; while doing so, remember to take in feedback and when it’s time, make it perfect.
Who inspires you?
Good question! There’s so many I lost count! But if I were to name a few, I would say Coco Chanel and Bill Gates.
Coco Chanel is definitely an icon no one can deny because of her creative ideas and she’s actually one of the first who started marketing fragrances! I’ve read all the books about her and whenever I need some inspiration, I look for them back in her books. Bill Gates built an empire with Microsoft but what attracted me more is the charity work he has done and how he gives back is really inspirational.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Well, this is not recent but what always blew me away is learning about the waste that is building up in the environment. OnTheList started exactly because Delphine and I saw that and we wanted to provide a green alternative to the existing problem while reminding people that when they purchase, make sure they think through that this is what they need and do not overbuy for themselves or for others.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Many things! I would want to come to Asia earlier because so much happens here!
How do you unwind?
Yoga, having a good time with friends, and golf. I only think about golf when I golf.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Love Tokyo for food and sightseeing!
Everyone in business should read this book:
“The Enlightened Capitalists” is a great book I recommend! The book very much focuses on how a leader could be ethical in the decision making process and taking the social good into account. The quote “do well by doing good” stays on my mind.
Shameless plug for your business:
Don’t be shy of trying. If you want to be an entrepreneur, don’t be afraid of making mistakes!
How can people connect with you?
Feel free to connect with me through LinkedIn and email.
This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews
Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.
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