Christy Ng is a successful businesswoman turned from an aspiring shoe designer in Malaysia. Her online shoe store ChristyNg.com with its slogan “WELCOME TO SHOE HEAVEN” is selling globally. Her fabulous shoes is well-loved by trendy shoe buyers since she started it in July 2010. So I’d like to chat with her to discover what has created her success and what entrepreneurs can learn from her lessons to grow their startups in a regional level.
Normally great designers are not good at doing business or management and via versa. What’s your thought on this perception?
A good fashion designer might not be a good businessperson and similarly, a good businessperson may be a lousy designer. [quote]The idea is to focus on your key strengths and get people with complementing talents and skills to help grow your business.[/quote]
Selling shoes online is even more difficult than selling clothes online as if customer isn’t comfortable with shoes and her feet will feel painful. Things are much touchier when you’re selling custom-made shoes coz customers are very stylish and likely have more demands to touch and try real shoes. How can you deal with it?
Contrary to what you say, we find that buying shoes on the Internet is easier then buying cloths. As long as the customer knows her shoe size, the process is pretty straightforward. As for comfort, our high heel shoes come with an elevated platform front with thick insoles. Our products come with genuine leather back counter and are handmade from top quality materials. As for custom made shoes, our sales numbers are growing consistently from quarter to quarter because there is high demand for custom made shoes around the globe. [quote]We try our best to provide detailed and elaborate descriptions on our products on our web store. We also put extra effort to produce high quality studio images of the actual product, which we sell so that consumers can have a very good idea of our products before purchasing them.[/quote]
What are your top three customers’ countries in Southeast Asia besides Malaysia? Are their styles different?
Yes, their styles and tastes are very different. However, we obtain better sales from first world countries like America, Canada and Australia. [quote]Malaysians tend to prefer neutral or earth colors like nude, black and beige when they shop for high heel shoes whereas Filipinos and Indonesians love funky, edgy and colorful designs.[/quote]
What is the most difficult thing to sell products online over many countries?
It is definitely easier to target first world countries where Internet penetration and credit card usage is at its maturity. The difficult part of selling products to different countries would be anticipating the different international customs rules and regulations of different countries. [quote]Some countries impose heavy import taxes and fees making it very difficult for online sellers to sell into such countries.[/quote]
Which factors involving in starting a new shoes design?
Understanding the customer’s needs and demands will be the most crucial step before we start designing a new product. [quote]We need to ensure the design WILL SELL before making it.[/quote]
Your FB page has an impressive number with nearly 200.000 fans. But I’m much more impressed with 100% 5 star rating from your shop on Etsy with more than 90 reviews. What is your secret to make them satisfied with such a high level?
[quote]Our goal is to create the perfect pair of shoes for all women across the globe. We live by this mantra everyday.[/quote]
As the saying goes, “With the right pair of shoes, she can conquer the world.” Customer satisfaction will be the key to every success! It’s that simple.
What are your priority next year: increase no of designs, quality of design, sales volume or?
Quality will always be our key priority. We believe that as long as we provide good value to all our customers, the sales will come automatically. [quote]The more happier customers you have, the higher your sales volumes will be.[/quote]
Finally, how about the role of Malaysia as a starting point market for your business?
Being a Malaysian and starting my business here in Malaysia has been great. Malaysia is indeed the Shoe Capital of the world. We have many talented shoe designers and manufacturers here who have generations of skills in crafting handmade shoes (*). Malaysian made shoes are a class of its own. [quote]Apart from that fact, Malaysia’s booming economy and vibrant business opportunities makes my home country a stimulating marketplace for start-ups and SMEs.[/quote] Also, the government has implemented several initiatives to help digital businesses propagate in Malaysia. The reduction of company tax by 1% in the recent budget 2014 is also another positive move in helping young businesses like myself thrive. Examples of government initiatives include the Digital Malaysia initiative, which is aimed to drive the nation’s wealth creation and improve standards of living within the country in efforts to create a developed digital economy by 2020.
[quote]With the right pair of shoes, she can conquer the world”.[/quote] Yes she can!
(*) ChristyNg company is based in Penang, and I just remember I’ve watched an Asia Star show on BloomBerg, it featured Jimmy Choo, a world top handmade shoe designer, he is from Penang Malaysia too.