Mandy Chan: A Millennial Thriving in the Business World

Mandy Chan: A Millennial Thriving in the Business World

When she was at the age of 19, Mandy Chan founded her company. And within just three days on Kickstarter, she managed to fully fund the company’s first product, the Quiver Bag. Now, after overcoming waves of obstacles, her company is worth millions.

On The Breakfast Huddle, Elliott Danker and Bharati Jagdish spoke to Mandy Chan, Founder, The Bold Company, about her experience with building the company and the challenges she had to overcome.

Bharati Jagdish: Tell us more about your journey. I understand The Bold Company – a local athleisure brand – was first launched on a crowdfunding platform with the Quiver Bag. So what exactly gave you the instinct to do this?

Mandy Chan: A lot of it started back when I was in Junior College (JC). I organised an entrepreneurship symposium and it was there that I met my mentor who offered me an internship, where I was able to create marketing materials and even pitched to people twice my age. It was then that I noticed something different; between working in a start-up, and what I saw at home – which was my dad dragging himself to work every single day.

I had another internship at a different start-up and again, noticed something interesting. The founders of the start-up were always the first to reach and last to leave the office, but they always carried a sense of satisfaction and excitement whenever it came to their work. It was an obsession. They were so into what they were doing that they could not stop talking about it. It was not the work situation I was used to seeing at home, and I really wanted in.

At this point, I also received an offer letter from SMU but made the decision to pursue entrepreneurship full time instead. So I took a gap year. It was a decision made from a gut feeling and I figured I had nothing much to lose besides a year and my life savings, which probably amounted to $1000 at that point in time.

Elliott Danker: How did you make The Bold Company stand out from potential competitors? I’m sure you faced plenty of pressure from people who emphasised the importance of standing out.

Mandy: It was essentially solving a problem that I was facing then. Whenever I was at the gym, I would always leave my toiletries behind after I was done showering. And if I were to chuck all my toiletries into one duffel bag, then I risk spilling shampoo onto the contents of my bag. So it was a niche problem that I was solving and that made me stood out.

Bharati: I am sure you have a lot of global competitors as well. What are you doing to stand out from them in the industry, that is booming in this Covid-19 era? 

Mandy: For us, it was all about engaging with our audience. So for example, at the start of Circuit Breaker (CB) last year, where everyone was in a lockdown, we managed to engage a lot of fitness influencers who hosted live workouts on our channel. And that was just one way we were able to communicate with the community.

It is also about listening to our consumers and customers as well. We treated them as friends, talked to them, and found out what was good about our product that they liked. Essentially, it was all these genuine reactions that made us different when it came to our product creation process.

Elliott: What were the challenges that came with starting a company at a young age?

Mandy: The most memorable incident for me was when I travelled to China and age became an apparent problem. When I was at the factory door, they welcomed me until they found out I was the founder. They soon started to question me about my business plan, assumed I was just fooling around and rejected me from producing by offering me really exorbitant prices. They mentioned they were dealing with more high-end clients and did not usually entertain ‘small fish/fry’ like me.

Bharati: How did you overcome this challenge in the end?

Mandy: I knew the manufacturers preferred to see big numbers and I presented to them what they wanted. I told them I was planning to produce 10 000 units and needed a sample first. I also dressed like I meant business. You cannot appear in just a t-shirt and a pair of jeans, which was what I did initially as I thought they would not care as much.

But eventually, you will find someone who will believe in you. After searching over ten factories, we found one that took a chance on us and produced our first batch of bags. Of course, we had to make the full payment but at least they were willing to give us a smaller quantity than what we required.

Listen to the full podcast to find out how Mandy’s entrepreneurship journey benefited from the Made With Passion mentorship programme, as well as how she overcame the impacts of Covid-19 in the industry.

Download the podcast.

For more, tune in to The Breakfast Huddle with Elliott Danker, Bharati Jagdish And Finance Presenter Ryan Huang on weekdays from 6AM to 9AM.

This interview was broadcasted on MONEY FM 89.3 on 17 September 2021.

Disclaimer: All analyses, opinions from interviews, recommendations and other information broadcasted, podcasted, published or printed herein are for general information. You should not rely solely on the said information and are advised to seek independent financial advice from your own financial or investment consultant prior to making any investment decisions. Before acting on the information you hear or read on MONEY FM 89.3, remember to consider if it is suitable for your own investment objectives and financial situation. SPH Radio does not accept any liability for any loss whatsoever arising from any use of the information broadcasted, podcasted, published or printed herein.

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