Jina Lee & Chloe Qiu, Founding Partner of Findings Group

What’s your story?
Jina: Chloe and I were born two weeks apart with different yet complementary personalities and skill sets. I grew up in California and she grew up in Shanghai, then later Sydney. We first met in the summer of 2011 when we were both vacationing in Shanghai. I had worked in fashion and Chloe in investment banking for 5 years by that time. We both felt that we weren’t cut out for the corporate world and wanted to try to make something on our own.
Chloe: We would be lying to say that we knew exactly what we were getting ourselves into when we set up Findings Group in September that year. All we knew was that there were a lot of cool products that weren’t available in Asia, so we wanted to bring them here. There is a Chinese saying that “new born calves are not scared of tigers’. If we had known back then how hard it is to build a profitable and scalable B2B distribution business across 13 markets in Asia within 5 years, I’m not sure we would have started! Despite the ups and downs, building Findings Group and helping our brands grow have been the most satisfying journey in our life so far and we hope to continue on this path for as long as we can.

What excites you most about your industry?
E-commerce has been disruptive not only to the traditional retail industry but also the trading and distribution industry in recent years. Great changes often bring great opportunities, and we are excited to see how we can seize them.

What’s your connection to Asia?
Although we both grew up overseas, Asia has always felt like home. Its growth may have slowed in recent years but it still remains one of the most exciting places to do business.

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Favorite city in Asia for business and why?
So far, Hong Kong for its efficiency and business friendliness. We are opening our first branch office in Shanghai this year, and hope to replicate it in other cool cities such as Seoul, Taipei and Singapore.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Jina: Do it right or do it again.
Chloe: When you think you are done, you are only 40% done.

Who inspires you?
People with extreme mental grit such as Amelia Boone and David Goggins.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
It may be disproved in the future, but scientists now believe that black holes are 2D holograms!

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Chloe: I was a nerdy book worm when I was young. Now I wish I had been involved in more sports. Building a good business requires as much physical strength as it does mental toughness.
Jina: I wish I had come out to Asia earlier. It’s such a dynamic environment with so many opportunities and being here has really opened my eyes to so many different perspectives.

How do you unwind?
Chloe: yoga, meditation and learning about quantum physics.
Jina: Running, cooking and growing vegetables in my mini patio urban garden.

Favorite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Chloe: Phuket. I was married there so it holds a special place in my heart.
Jina: Seoul. It’s not really for relaxation, but I love the comfort of having family there and it feels like my home away from home.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Chloe: Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin.
Jina: Greatest salesman in the world by Og Mandino.

Shameless plug for your business:
If you are a lifestyle brand with good design and quality products seeking growth in Asia, talk to us and see whether our multi-channel distribution network across 13 countries in Asia can be of help to you.

How can people connect with you?

This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
CallumConnectsCallum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia.  He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries.  He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence.  A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
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