What’s your story?
I grew up and studied in Sydney, relocated to Brisbane in 2004 then moved to Singapore in late 2010 with then fiancée, now hubby. I have spent my entire career working in the wholesale and retail fashion industry. Upon moving to Singapore, I hit the ground running with an amazing opportunity to bring an iconic Australian eyewear brand to Asia which prompted me to start WYLD Agencies. Observing a gap in the Singapore fashion market for affordable, quality, on trend brands, I pivoted the business in 2012 to an online fashion retailer selling Australian brands that have done well in Australia but have little or no presence in Asia. Hence, theWYLDshop.com was born.
What excites you most about your industry?
Fashion is super subjective, so it always excites me that there are endless opportunities to be creative and as the industry continues to evolve it presents challenges that force us to re-evaluate and learn to adapt to the constant changes that occur globally in the industry.
What’s your connection to Asia?
This is an interesting question to answer, because my heritage is actually Filippino however, I was adopted from birth and have been raised as a true blue Aussie. So apart from living and working in Singapore for the past 4 years, this really is my only connection to Asia.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
I would have to say Singapore because it has been very good to me and it’s the city I am most familiar doing business in. When I first started knocking on doors, I was fortunate enough to meet delightful Singaporean business owners who took a chance on me. It was certainly a great first impression of doing business here and continues to allow me to develop meaningful business relationships.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
I have received loads of excellent and valuable advice but the best would be “Common courtesy costs you nothing” & that “you should never be afraid of failure because it is not final and it only gives you the ability to learn and grow and most importantly, that it is part of success”.
Who inspires you?
My Mum and Dad are my greatest source of inspiration. They work incredibly hard, are fantastic people who inspire me through their generosity and care for others. They have taught me invaluable life lessons about the importance of relationships, have always encouraged me to “have a go” and their unwavering support continues to give me the confidence that I can achieve anything…. if I “put my head down and bum up”.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I have recently learnt that industry analysts anticipate B2C e-commerce in Southeast Asia is expected to grow at least five-fold to US$35 bIllion per annum by 2020. There is a huge addressable market unfolding and we intend to stake our claim. Another vital recent learning was the intrinsic value of support and friendship, this has gone above and beyond blowing me away.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I have no regrets but I guess If anything, I should have trusted my gut instincts more.
How do you unwind?
By immersing myself in consecutive episodes of my fave tv series whilst having some serious couch time with my dog, cat & husband.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Bali, because everytime I leave the place I feel rejuvenated. I truly believe the place has healing powers.
Everyone in business should read this book:
The Truth about getting the best from people – Second Edition by Martha I. Finney
Shameless plug for your business:
theWYLDshop.com is Asia’s online destination for an eclectic curated mix of quality Australian cult Fashion and accessories brands like Minkpink, Le specs and 8 Other Reasons. Our WYLDones are fashionistas with a diverse lifestyle who love everything high street but are looking for an urban edge.
Live WYLD Live Free – Be who you wanna be
Enquires – shop@theWYLDshop.com
We are also seeking to connect with investors and industry leaders.
How can people connect with you?
People can connect with me via email firstname.lastname@example.org ; my linkedin profile Kara Bensley or through our company Facebook page theWYLDshop.com
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing has started, built, bought and sold half a dozen businesses in a range of industries across two continents. He is the owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 11 countries and he is also the CEO of Entrevo Asia, a company that runs 40 week Growth Accelerator programs.
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