This week on FEW Members' Corner, we would like to introduce you to Cheryl Leung, Founder of Sau Lee, a designer clothing brand inspired by the bold, eclectic women of Hong Kong.
Hi Cheryl, can you tell us more about your entrepreneurial journey?
SAU LEE is the answer for modern women around the world who have a love for fashion and aren’t afraid to stand out from the crowd. Whether you want something that will make an impression at a party, an event you’ve been looking forward to or your best friend’s wedding, it’s all about the perfectly fitting dress that makes you feel chic, confident and sexy. We have dresses that have a unique design, luxury quality, and a fair price.
SAU LEE draws on my personal style and my experiences growing up in a city that is uniquely East meets West. Surrounded by a family of financial masterminds, I found myself the creative black sheep. Upon graduating from UCLA with a BA in Psychology and completing a graduate leadership program at Lane Crawford, one of the industry’s most influential fashion retailers, I was ready to fulfil a lifelong dream and launch my eponymous line, SAU LEE. Established in 2014, it has grown into a confident brand you can trust to deliver quality, fashion-forward pieces with a great fit.
What inspired you to start your company?
At the time I started my business, I felt Hong Kong was really lacking in a) dresses that were high quality and unique (not fast fashion) that didn't break the bank with designer price tags, and b) dresses that were flattering on different figures including my own (petite frame (5'3) with curves). I had always loved fashion, retail, and above all dresses, so I decided it was time to start my own label!
So far, what's been the most challenging part of your journey?
Honestly, there are quite a few - ranging from manufacturing, to retail, to wholesale - but I would have to say managing our cash flow is something that has been a constant challenge as the business has grown, and has really taken me up until now to really understand it!
A FEW WORDS OF ADVICE
On running a business
The biggest lesson I learned is to not hold too much stock! My first few season's I produced entire collections whereas now I only produce what has been wholesaled (so I can meet the minimum and not have to produce 50 units just for our online store).
On the top three things someone should consider before starting their own business
Are you passionate about the brand/concept, and will you genuinely love the work? Are you willing to give it 150%, all day, night, on the weekends etc? Do you have the capital to run the business for a set amount of time, and do you have a growth plan in place?
Personal success: my relationships (with my partner, family, friends), Company Success: Year on year growth, learning from mistakes, and overall improvement.