Founder of online designer consignment shop HULA, Sarah Fung makes it super easy to buy and sell lightly loved luxury clothes online.
Formerly a corporate cat at Lane Crawford, Fung shares her passion for fashion, entrepreneurial insight, and secrets to managing stress.
A FEW words about HULA
Launched in June 2016, HULA is an online consignment shop that works just like a normal online shopping experience.
As a seller, every member has her own account, so you can see what she has sold, or purchased, and when. Meanwhile, buyers can shop online by size, color, item, or even the hottest fashion trends.
A FEW words of advice
Identify a problem... and solve it
While I was working in luxury retail, I realized there was a lot of waste in the fashion industry. Products had a 12-week shelf life, which sickened me.
These pieces were so beautiful, and well made. I knew there were people who would still love to own these pieces.
Choose the right location
HULA makes sense for Hong Kong — we have great products, because people are super stylish, they like trends, they shop frequently, but they have small wardrobes....
Find a partner...
I work with my sister! Vivien [Fung Thomas] went to the London College of Fashion. She is like my soundboard. It’s so nice to have someone to talk to and bounce ideas.
..who complements your skill set
I am more erratic — a bit more top-layer thinker, and she is more detail-oriented and organized.
Be agile AND resilient
Do things slowly and not to launch everything all at once. At first, we wanted all the bells and whistles with HULA. But we pulled back, because it wasn't going to launch well.
Surround yourself with entrepreneurs
It helps to be around other women who have startups. You meet so many people who are going through the same worries as you. It keeps you sane.
Talk shop ‘til you drop
I was fortunate enough to have worked in the industry before, so my contacts have been collected through my years of work. If you don’t have any contacts, then you have to get out there and start meeting people.
Hong Kong is great in this way — people really do follow up on calls and emails. In other countries, most people wouldn’t go out of their way to call you back.
No, seriously. Talk to A LOT of people
Don’t start this business in your head. The more you talk to people, the more you can gauge whether you’re on the right track.
But you have to learn not to listen to every piece of advice but be able to gather the best bits.
Go against the flow
I often went against authority when I was young — I always questioned why we couldn't do this another way, and why can't we make things better. I still always push for changes.
A FEW more questions
What do you do before 9am?
I probably went to yoga already, read my emails, caught up on the news, and checked on the website.
How many hours do you sleep a night?
6.5-7 hours on average
Favorite coffee shop for meetings?
Cupping Room is great, and Elephant Grounds is another favorite.
Secret stress reliever?
Ahead of really big presentations, I sometimes take organic ‘calming’ tablets by Nova Scotia — it’s a herbal tablet to keep my heart level down.
I also go to yoga — that really helps me to stay balanced. I hate the pun, but it’s true.
Best advice you’ve ever received?
Listen to other people. And make lots of mistakes.