This week’s show, we have Sydney Badger who is doing amazing things. Sydney is a Co-Founder of Public Habit with a goal of reducing textile waste. She also spent a lot of time at Amazon and she’s setting up her own, basically B to C operations of fashion, clothes from China and other parts of Asia in the future. She shares her insights, and hopefully it gives everybody here some idea on sustainability and she’s using ‘made in China’ with her fashion business, which is interesting.
Topics Covered in this Episode
Can you introduce yourself for our listeners today?
So you’re in Shenzhen, China
How did you get here? Compared to Shanghai and Beijing experiences
Slow by Direct and Sustainable?
I read it on your linkedin, you are “slow” but direct and sustainable
So what is the order flow, example?
When someone buys on your site, what happens next?
Any order size, 1 piece, wholesale, custom order?
What are the typical clients and their order sizes
Brand on the product?
Product vs Brand discussion.
What’s your technology “Stack”
What kind of tools and platforms are you using to make this work?
Amazon as well?
What are your distribution channels
How can others adapt this model?
Do they need to adjust what they are doing now or?
How can people find you and learn more?
Ways to connect and learn more
People / Companies / Resources Mentioned in this Episode
Episode Length 50:59
That was a great discussion. I really appreciate you for sharing Sydney. Make sure to check their blog out as they are hoping to really build it off as a source of knowledge and end data that’s not intimidating about what’s happening in the fashion supply chain and manufacturing in China.
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[00:00:00] Episode 282 of Global From Asia and talk about B2C direct from China and sustainability and did my intro. I have Miles and Maggie. Say, hello.
[00:00:15] Welcome to the Global from Asia podcast, where the daunting process of running an international business is broken down into straight up actionable advice. And now your host, Michael Michelini. Thank you everyone for choosing to listen to the Global From Asia podcast. It’s, I’m recording today on Thanksgiving day here in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
[00:00:38] You guys know Thanksgiving? Yeah. What did you learn in school about. You got a day off today here. What’s Thanksgiving? Thanksgiving. You got candies. Thanksgiving you got candies. Awesome. So Thanksgiving is about candy. I didn’t know that, I remember when the Europeans gave native Americans some food together in the US. It’s a U S holiday, I guess it’s all about food and turkeys here, but yes, international school.
[00:01:17] So they had the day off and uh, I’m taking them out with me. I’m going to go to an FBA meetup and I’m going to talk to some people visiting. Um, so it’s just all good here in Global From Asia Episode 282 in a back of a Grab. I tried to do this intro it’s on the go, just to maximize my time and, you know, get you guys a little bit of updates.
[00:01:37] What’s happening here. So we’re working on doing some kind of an event here. Chiang Mai one day, but, uh, Miles, Maggie, you guys are going back to China for a while, right? Yes. You miss China? Yes. You like to speak English or Chinese?
[00:02:01] Really? I think, Maggie, you like English.
[00:02:08] All right, well, Wendy’s family is not feeling so well. There’s been some deaths and some other changes in the family, so she wants to spend more time with them. So that 2020 is going to be a time back in China. I’m going to go back for Christmas for a while and then, uh, might have, I might bet I might be on the road a lot with you guys in China.
[00:02:29] Is that okay? Okay. Okay. All right. I’ll keep you guys. I’ll keep listeners updated, but 2020 is going to be an exciting year. Um, well, a lot of moving around and I hope that you guys are preparing and girls are preparing for your new year. This week’s show, we have Sydney Badger. It was amazing, and I had to meet her at the Cross Border Summit here in going to China and she’s doing some amazing things.
[00:02:56] She also spent a lot of time at Amazon and she’s setting up her [00:03:00] own, basically B2C operations of fashion, clothes from China and other parts, in the future, in part other parts of Asia. I made some pretty fascinating discussions. I think she’s got to come back on the show. So much amazing things.
[00:03:11] She was sharing and insights, and hopefully it gives everybody here some in, of how sustainability and she’s using made in China with her fashion business, which is interesting. And she shares about why she’s so open about that. Okay. And also if you want to hear more of the kids and some of the life updates for me, we won’t squeeze it too much into this intro.
[00:03:32] You can hear the blah, blah blah session, right. Yes, my teeth is almost fall out. Yeah. We can talk about Miles’s teeth too later. Okay. So if you want some of that, blah, blah, blah session after the interview. Without further ado, let’s take it away to Sydney. Do you enjoy the Global from Asia podcast and want to meet other listeners and experts and we are working already on our fifth annual Cross Border
[00:03:58] Summit. Plan is Chiang Mai and November, 2020. Love to hear from you and hear your insights. If you’d like to be an attendee, as speaker or maybe you think it’s just a day in China, I’d love to check it out, at crossbordersummit.com/contact. Always open for . Collaborations. It’s about a year away, so there’s plenty of time, but we’re going to be working on it, making it better than ever.
[00:04:23] It’s all about quality over quantity, and we want to have a quality event in Chiang Mai about e-commerce, talking, of course, Amazon, also talking about Chinese e-commerce and talking about Southeast Asia. Lazada, it’s going to be an interesting one, a one of a kind anywhere in the world, so keep it, the dates open crossbordersummit.com.
[00:04:44] Okay. Thank you everybody for tuning in another Global from Asia podcast. We have an interesting one. You know, I’m always on the lookout for, you know, in- insights and people on the ground, you know, and I think that’s a big part of the show. It’s people, you know, practicing what we’re doing here. And, and uh, Sydney Badger, I [00:05:00] got to meet at the Cross Border Summit too also.
[00:05:02] Thanks for, supporting the events and coming and, and uh, thanks for coming on the show. Sydney. Yeah. No, thank you very much for having me and for the Cross Border Summit. It was great opportunity for me to be meeting people, new people in the Shenzhen, Guangzhou area as well. So I’m happy to be here and get to talk to you.
[00:05:24] Great. Great. So today we’re going to talk about going, you know, e-commerce from China and, and Asia direct, as well as sustainability, which of course is a, it’s not just a buzzword, it’s also like really important, you know, for the world. Um, to be more, you know, uh, think more about the environment and longevity.
[00:05:43] But before we dive into the, uh, into the meat, do you want to give people a little bit of background about yourself and what you do, Sydney? Sure. Um, so I’m a co-founder of Public Habit, which is a fairly new fashion, eCommerce site that, uh, create premium quality essentials. We primarily focus on cashmere and wool for women, um, and we make off styles on demand.
[00:06:10] So we don’t make anything until we’ve get an order. So we’re trying to take waste out of the system by only making what we need. Perfect. Yeah, it’s, it’s definitely, um, it’s great as is your co-founder or you have multiple partners as well? So the, it’s my co-founder and I,my co-founder.
[00:06:33] Zahar is based in Seattle, which is kind of my home base. I moved to Shenzhen just, just less than a year ago from Seattle. The cut for a couple of reasons. My husband’s work, Trump fed us over, but also we were, my part-, business partner and I was thinking about this concept of sourcing directs in the clothing space.
[00:06:57] I have a long history with China and myself without getting too deep into it. I studied Chinese in my undergrad degree and then moved to Beijing my junior year. Lived in Qingdao for a summer, worked for a small manufacturing company there, and then after undergrad I lived in Shanghai working for a consulting.
[00:07:18] The company that was helping brands come out to Asia. And I always wanted to come back. I didn’t know what it was going to look like, but fast forward 10 years, I’m back and I get to kind of be on the ground doing most of the sourcing and product development for Public Habit now, um, from Shenzhen.
[00:07:39] Great. Yeah. So I’ll admit I was, I’m a little bit ignorant when I was first coming to China. So you, you said a few cities, and for me listening, I’m like, wow, you were, you kind of hit all the major parts of at least coastal China, Beijing, Shanghai now, Shenzhen. So I think, at least for me, I didn’t really realize.
[00:08:00] Those are pretty far away. You know, I don’t want to, so listeners probably are pretty advanced, but those were like a few or a couple of hour flights each away from each other, and they’re much different types of environments. I even picked up brands in Shanghai, which is true, right? Shanghai is, I still think like importing into mainland China, selling into China, but it is also the fashion capital.
[00:08:21] And you’re, um, you’re doing fashion, but you’re doing export, but you are in Shenzhen. Maybe it’s also because of your era. You’re, um, you’re a spouse. Yeah. Is there all. Maybe give us some insights of why. Maybe that’s the one reason why, or was there any other other strategic reasons or business reasons? I would you say strategic reasons too
[00:08:47] I am you know, yes. If I could, if I could pick, I’m trying not to be snobby, but I do think Shanghai is a, is a much more lovely, exciting, especially as a woman in fashion. It’s a fun, [00:09:00] zesty and Shenzhen does not have that glamour. But sometimes where it’s at right now um, it is, I feel like uh, you know, I’m at the, in the same way that when I was in Shanghai 10 years ago, and kind of seeing all the changes and how quickly everything was, was moving.
[00:09:18] I feel like I’m in a similar environment here in Shenzhen, given that back home. I mean, people didn’t even know where Shenzhen is on the map. Embarrassing. Um, and I’m here and I’m watching. The speed at which everything’s happening. Um, the innovation across sectors. Um, you know, I, I wish my Chinese was better because I feel like I could have done so much so quickly from, from the locals here.
[00:09:50] But, um, I’m excited to be kind of getting it by versus just by living here is definitely a good place to be in the eCommerce and cross border space. I think for listeners, just a quick, uh, overview, but I think South China is still, is the export hub of, you know, of the, um. Of of China, I think, you know, Beijing, there’s not much export, I think there is, but when I, you know, I’ve, I’ve also done a lot of sourcing, manufacturing.
[00:10:22] There’s also Jigiang province, Ningbo and then, which is near Shanghai. But yeah, I think the South is, is still kind of the capital of course for, you know, e-commerce sellers export based. Mmm. I would say that the fashion, I would say just sorry, one more point on that. The it is, um, definitely not, you know, it’s definitely the hardware cities, so I’m not, I’m not finding as much of a community in fashion, e-commerce here, but the manufacturer . The fashion, I mean, the best of the best.
[00:10:58] There’s so much going on in Guangdong. Um, yes, there’s a lot around the Shanghai and, and go region, but half of my supply base is also in Guangdong, so that makes, makes my life quite a bit easier. Definitely, definitely. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, of course it’s hard. I think there’s no avoiding having multiple suppliers and everybody would love to have all their suppliers and their one, one city.
[00:11:20] Another last point for a lot of my friends still back home in the U S didn’t get just go, Oh, you’re in China, can you just take a walk to the factory for this product. You know, they have no idea that there’s different clusters of types of products. But, um, yeah, we can go on for this, but I think we’ll, let’s just move into this whole sustainability direct.
[00:11:41] I think I saw on your LinkedIn profile, or maybe in a conversation about slow, but slow but direct. Is that, is that kind of. Yeah, it sounds like an oxymoron. I a, agree. Um, yes. So we say, let me kind of try and break it down. Slow and sustainable because we only make what we sell. Um, but direct, because we’re looking to remove as many layers between the manufacturer and the customer as we possibly can.
[00:12:14] So just to, you know, I don’t know how many of your listeners, uh, kind of deeply in the fashion space, but we’re old fashioned customers, whether we like it or not. Um, so we as customers, you know, we’ll probably used to going into big stores like H & M or Zara or Gap. You see product on a shelf, you can buy it on the spot, or you can buy it online from, um, it’s all on the website.
[00:12:37] You get in a few days, but you never really think about how and where it was made. Uh, it just shows up and what we have learned from being on the ground in product development and sourcing and really going deep with some of our factory partners. We’ve understand how much waste there is in this industry. One in every three items on average that has made in the, in the fashion industry is never even sold, and that adds up to almost 50 billion garments annually.
[00:13:09] That’s just never finds a home and it’s typically going to end up in a landfill or incinerated. And the main reason for all of that excess, over production is really just poor planning and kind of a very inefficient supply chain of, in the fashion space. There’s just a huge long lead time between, you know, when a product is, is conceived like product conception through to one, it’s live it in store that’s anywhere from, you know, six to 18 months long.
[00:13:42] And the really, the outcome of that is an insane amount of waste that is really contributing to, uh, this growing, um, environmental problem that needs to be addressed. So for us, we’re all asking our customers to wait a little bit longer so we don’t, we don’t make any more than we need. And. Then we can ship directly from the source for moving a lot of the layers, warehousing or wholesaling to another retailer.
[00:14:12] Um, and that’s how we, um, that’s how we think about this slow and sustainable, but direct business model. Okay. Makes, makes sense. The, I also think a, I also think it’s, it’s a good tagline cause you’re setting expectations right away, you know. It’s way better to, you know, under promise or just make sure people almost build it in it.
[00:14:40] Good. I think that’s one of the negatives in a way. You know, of course there’s people that dropship off AliExpress, you know, there’s people that, you know, sell globally from, from Asia. I mean, that’s one of the negatives of drop shipping or sending B2C from, from China or Asia is it is slower too right, but you’re even making it so.
[00:15:00] So it’s great because I think one of the dangers a lot of people do when they do ship, uh, from Asia is they don’t tell either one. They don’t even tell the customer that they’re sending it from Asia. Then, you know, some customers are used to Amazon FBA where it’s delivered in a couple of one or two days, or even on the same day now maybe.
[00:15:16] But, um, so I think it’s great that you’re kind of almost building that into your expectation and in your branding and then also making it positively by the sustainability of the environment. Getting custom made to order as well. Um, well yeah, I think listeners are probably not so much into fashion, honestly.
[00:15:34] I’m even afraid of fashion. Maybe you’re, you’re actually solving, cause you’re, you’re doing it on demand. But I think a lot of listeners, or at least people I know, are afraid to do it because there’s so many different sizes and colors and styles, and like you said, everybody knows about clearance right?
[00:15:48] I think TJ Maxx, my sister worked in retail in high school at TJ Maxx. And there’s these, these bins of like, you know, clothes out for like 80% off. You know, it’s in a box. [00:16:00] I’ll wrinkled people. Just pick an at close, you know, it’s, I can imagine how much waste is in the fashion. Um, um, but I think listeners priorities so much experts in the fashion, cause I think a lot of us are just afraid to deal with all these sizes and, and, and variations.
[00:16:18] It’s, it’s a very close industry as all, I mean, if they think the way that I like to look at it and my analogy now or people who are starting to question where clothes are made is kind of the farm to table movement in food. We, in the last 10 years, especially in the U S which is kind of be my home base, there’s been a huge shift to wanting to know where our produce comes from, where our food is coming from, how chickens are raised, and that.
[00:16:47] I believe that trend is moving towards the fashion space too. People want to know that they, it’s a bit of a scary awakening when they stopped, when we stopped painting back then I is, so I think. [00:17:00] Always, you know, we really want to be an educator in this space. You know, we’re not coming from a design backgrounds.
[00:17:06] We’re really coming from business backgrounds, trying to look at what we thought were inefficiencies in the system and say, and try and help customers understand and allow them the opportunity to take a breath and say. Okay. Is this actually, is this what I need? Is this what I expect? Am I going to get what I expect?
[00:17:24] You know, people just want things to meet their expectations, and ideally we’re hoping that we exceed them because we can offer pretty exceptional value on some really good quality items. It makes sense. So I’m, I’m even curious. I’m Kim. I was trying to think of the listener. Can you walk us through maybe, uh, the order flow of a typical sure.
[00:17:46] Sure. So we sell exclusively on our website for now, publichabit.com, and if you place an order on our websites, we will then start production on the item with [00:18:00] one of our suppliers, all of our suppliers are currently in China. Um, and they will turn around product within a week. We do QC and packing and shipping out of a centralized fulfillment center in Shenzhen, and so we can turn around product to the customer within two weeks.
[00:18:19] So it’s been livid within three to four weeks to the end customer pretty much anywhere in the world right now. Great. Yeah, that sounds, that sounds like a good, uh, a good flow. And then I have no clue about fashion. So I guess people have to measure themselves or, you know, and then I would say a great question.
[00:18:43] I think there’s a, there’s a couple of ways that this could evolve. You know, for now, you know, there’s a true customization model that we just to, you know, we could do bespoke. Tee shirts to the inch of what your body needs or ones. Um, we are the belief that people want us to have done most of the work for them.
[00:19:05] So if I give them some choice, so I think what we’re starting is standard European, US sizing. Um, just a small size range to really test all concept and make sure that people are responding as we think they will to the quality and the, the styles. Um, you’ve got 30 days to try it and return it
[00:19:27] if you don’t like it, for free Um, and I think we’ll get a lot of data back in terms of how our sizing and I’ll fit. It’s working through that model. And I think we very easy because of our model to make tweaks to anything, whether it’s fit, design, style, color, we can, we can, we can make that tweak tomorrow.
[00:19:49] We don’t have a thousand units backed up then one, uh. We have until you order it. Okay. Yeah. I’m checking out the site again now, just as you talk and, uh, it’s, uh, it’s always, yeah. I’m always amazed at fashion, you know, that’s something I think I at least I’ll speak for myself. Maybe, I don’t know all everybody listening, but you know.
[00:20:19] The sizing and the colors, and the customers can choose to pick that online without, you know, seeing it, I guess you’re not, I guess there’s no rich. Oh, I see. A free returns 30 days. So then I guess you just build that into the model of people not thinking is what they thought when they bought it or.
[00:20:41] Exactly. I mean, I think on, uh, you know, when you think about traditional retail mockups, every retailers building in a returns model, but of returns allowance, but they’re also building in a mock down allowance and San storage. Yeah. Oh, and all the other things that kind of [00:21:00] contribute to some of those inefficiencies that I mentioned before and most of which we don’t have.
[00:21:04] We don’t have to worry about, um, long warehousing. We don’t worry about markdown allowance, but yes, the, there’s an expectation that we’ll have summer tons. Um, and I think that’s what we’re going to be learning in the next few months as we start ramping up orders. Understand. Yeah, of course. I mean, I think that’s part of the, especially with with, I think Zappos has the, they have the really crazy, no, no questions asked, but I think overall it works out because you don’t want any hesitation for them to buy it online.
[00:21:36] Right. I mean, I think that’s the whole idea is one drop that any kind of a reasons to not buy, and then he has all B to C direct one piece. Right. Yes. Okay. And then is it, it’s your brand says your brain is like a, it’ll come with your logo on, on the tags. That’s actually interesting question.
[00:22:05] We, uh, have the belief that labels are not adding anything special, um, or anything. You know, we kind of have a bit of a negative association of labels with added fluff and maxing and branding that don’t contribute to the actual value of the product. So if you ordered a cashmere sweater from us, all it would have, would be a care label with the size on it.
[00:22:29] That’s no brand label. Wow. Okay. Interesting. Yeah. I mean, for me, I mean, I, I’m more of, you know, I’m a con, I’m like, well, I just like this pocket. It’s just content. I like content marketing or inbound marketing, but the other, so one benefit is, you know, I also don’t buy clothes. It has a huge logo on the front of it, you know?
[00:22:52] But. You know, a little bit in the back if the quality of product is good, you want to maybe tell your friend or your friend, you know, your wife’s wash-, your husband’s washing your clothes, and they tell their friends. There’s some of that and there’s a practical reason. So you know, which way around to where the sweater.
[00:23:11] It definitely, it definitely may be something that we look to, to add in. I think one of we, we really liked this. Okay. This idea of, um. Kind of, no, Brian’s no-frills just the good stuff and. I think we’re recognizing as we grow, we’re building a brand, whether we’re building in in the traditional sense or not.
[00:23:32] Um, that’s who we are and we want people to have an association of and to understand why we’re doing what we’re doing. So we should take credit for that. Yeah. Okay. Yeah, I’ll, uh, it’s obviously your business. For me, it’s, I, we always say on the show or I think in every, everything I try to do is brand is basically the only thing.
[00:23:55] And you did so much work and you’re actually custom making it for them [00:24:00] anyway. I hope. Well, I w I would love to hope or see that develop. I feel, um, and we will take that. I’m going to write that in my, in my not feel. Definitely not the only one who said that. Yeah. I just feel like maybe a customer, I don’t know, unless the customer is really feels like they wouldn’t buy it because it has it, but I wouldn’t.
[00:24:20] Of course, I w I personally never buy clothes that has a huge logo on the front of it, or even in the anywhere on the outside, but it was just on the inside. It also kind of in my feeling of brand gives somebody association. They feel like they’re, they remember it and they get this feeling in their mind that dare, uh, you know.
[00:24:42] Yes. And we’ve won association. Yeah. I think though, what we, what we have learned, especially, you know, my business partner and I wa ex Amazonian, so we were working at Amazon and I think one of the big trends that we were paying attention to was how younger customers were shifting from a brand first.
[00:25:06] Kind of mindset to product for mindset, and that’s what Amazon does make you, especially in the, it’s kind of more emotional categories, like fashion doesn’t matter. I mean. Yes, people may be searching for Nike and other people searching for Nike, but a lot of people are just searching for white socks.
[00:25:25] And if you’ve got the most reviews and the best price, the for the quality, new wins. So we’ve as a, I do think that if public habit evolves to be more of a marketplace model, the relationship that customers have, will be with Public Habit as a marketplace that they trust. Curated product direct from the Source, which could be how this evolves.
[00:25:50] Like, yes, it’s custom made. It’s on demand, but they’ll still have an association and Public Habit as a brand in the same way that the customer has a strong association with Amazon is brand. Mmm. So that’s, that’s what we, that’s we think it could go either way, but, um. We hear you and we’ll let you know this doctor.
[00:26:10] We put those labels then. Oh yeah. I mean, he slipped that in by X Amazonian, I didn’t hear you in the intro. Say that. Of course. People probably like, yeah, no, that was a, that was six years in my life. Wow. Okay. Great. And, uh, yeah, I mean, I, we could talk about that. You know, that that idea of, that’s a whole podcast that will one your experiences there and too, that whole what you just slipped in there about Amazon not, you know, taking with product versus, or brand first.
[00:26:49] I’m still on the edge. I still hope that. You know, and there’s so many of these, quote unquote small sellers or, or, you know, mom, I don’t want to say mom pops or listeners, you know, or people attending our events that are hoping that their brand means something, is not just the lowest price on the, uh, on the search results.
[00:27:06] But, uh, you know, I guess there’s mixed feedback on that, but, well, without going into a tangent, one thing I will say is when my business partner and I started, we’ve obviously started with an Amazon model. We said. What have we learned? What do we know about this platform? And what we know is that great value always wins out.
[00:27:28] So, and we believe that fashion purchases, but can they continue to shift over to Amazon? So if we would be able to deliver great value on you know, more, more of your basic categories in fashion, um, and trying to target the customer that we know is on Amazon, for other categories, like home, like higher end home products and things.
[00:27:51] But, um, who would otherwise be shopping, let’s say Lululemon offline. Imagine if we could come in with a $50 pair of really high quality fitness leggings. And I think what we’ve, we found is that wasn’t nearly cheap enough. I mean, if we’d done probably enough research in that space and that category, we would have recognized we’d be up against Chinese sellers at $8 for leggings.
[00:28:19] But I do think that the concept of using Amazon as a testing platform, which is what we’d hoped we could do, test on Amazon without investing too much in inventory and then build a brand around the winners. That was the idea. Uh, that’s turned out to be much harder and much more expensive than we, I think, expected it to be as an FBA seller.
[00:28:43] Um, so that’s, that’s, that’s why like Public Habit came in, Mike. Yeah. Makes sense. I mean, yeah, me, maybe we can get you out in the future. I, uh, I’d love to hear more about this topic, but yeah, we can’t go too much off tangent too much. Although I think, listen, [00:29:00] boy, this conversation.
[00:29:01] Yeah. I mean, there’s, well even you’re just saying, but I think still a brand, even if you’re cheapest brand. If you’re, as long as you’re delivering good value and quality, people will know your brand is value and quality, you know, even being cheapest. So I still think there’s value to be associated with whatever your, you know, pricing strategy, quality level is.
[00:29:27] So people can buy more of that. You know, it doesn’t need to be some kind of like overpriced, you know, low, lower o average or same quality as others. But, but, uh, yeah, this is. Yeah. Well anyway, I just woke you, well, I guess also, if you’re going to be calling marketplace and you don’t want to compete, maybe you don’t want to compete with your, that’s the sellers on your platform.
[00:29:50] If you do become a platform rather than a, as you’re as a seller yourself, right? That might be another reason for your strategy so that you can open this up to others to..do? Exactly, exactly. But I think, you know, at the end of the day our conclusion was brand is less important than it has been. People at the end of the day that we target are saying, uh, very, very averse to labels in general.
[00:30:20] Yes, you can put a very soft label in that does not indicate flashy by any means, but we just didn’t think it added anything. We didn’t think that that was an important part of how we’re communicating, and we’re still going to be able to build a brand without having a label thrown into the garment just because that’s the way it’s being done hundreds of years.
[00:30:40] Okay, so let’s go to the next topic. Yeah. New section. I’m gonna add to the show notes. Um, and then when we check, we talked about this before we are recording. And even before, you know, preparing for this interview, I know you maybe didn’t want to make a big deal out of it, but I think listeners might want to know just what kind of technology are you using is, you know, what kind of tools or, or, or services that might be irrelevant for others trying to learn how to do it.
[00:31:14] Okay. Yeah, absolutely. I would say we kept it pretty simple. Um, we are operating just a Shopify websites, um, and we use an in house inventory management tool with our three PL that will, working with that can integrate with Shopify. And for now. That’s really all we need. We think when we kind of, at the outset when we would thinking about a marketplace of sellers and customers and having this wonderful Amazon Amazon style marketplace, not all we were, we’re trying to get a bit fancy at the forefront.
[00:31:52] And then we said, we’ve got a tough concept. Like, what’s, um. What’s the simplest, cheapest, fastest way we can see if customers are willing to wait full on demand products and turns out you can do a pretty effective, a pretty effective version of that with . It’s simple enough by sight. Nice. Yeah, that’s great.
[00:32:14] I mean. Cool. Well, there’s nothing fancy. Oh, it’s amazing. You know, the technology out there and people can, can make things happen right away. And like we said, uh, we don’t have to have deep programmers. They want to invest in like developers. You know, you can invest in the product supply chain, you know, making sure things get done right away.
[00:32:36] Yeah. What do you. Awesome. So I have the question, but so just to make sure everybody’s clear, your own, you’ve mentioned already in interview, that you’re just doing everything directly through your website. There is no, no other eCommerce transactions outside. Uh, no. Amazon? No. No, no. Uh, no other Market?
[00:32:55] No. eBay. Just purely, you’re a website. [00:33:00] website. Again, we understand the financials of being an Amazon FBA seller pretty, pretty deeply, and didn’t like those margins for what that would mean for, well, we’d have to resell it at for the customer. So we’re trying to go as direct as we can. Great.
[00:33:20] Um, so then I wonder if there’s paid paid ads in there for doing, you know, Facebook ads, Google ads, or are you doing it, you know, organic? I saw some Instagram posts. Okay. we are really pushing organic right now. I think, again, we’re trying to question everything that has been done in the fashion B2C space in the last 10 years.
[00:33:42] I mean, it’s so many of these brands that have popped up and being very successful, but they’ve, or being able to ride the wave of basic advertising being not affordable, but a reasonable investment. And right now for acquisition, it’s just not, um, it may still be the best place for us to acquire, but with, um, pretty committed to more of an organic approach through popups offline, trying to get in front of customers as much as we can.
[00:34:13] I’m trying to get as much feedback, PR media, um, and then our organic channels. I do actually believe that LinkedIn surprisingly has quite a powerful reach, so we’re kind of interested in testing that as well. Okay, great. Yeah. Hopefully this, this show helps out and a little bit for some of them marketing.
[00:34:33] I hope, you know, appreciate you sharing with us. And I don’t know if the listeners holiday orders, we might not be, I don’t know if listeners are your customer, but we hope maybe it’s weird. So it just, again, you’re targeting women specifically. Yeah, I mean, would you say is a, I’m looking at your Instagram and your website.
[00:34:57] What, how do you segment your, um. I say yes. So she’s, uh, she’s ashamed, uh, for now, um, we thought it would women’s styles. I would say that while there’s no clear demographic, because we ship globally, and so far our orders are pretty split between the UK and the U S it’s definitely more over big cities.
[00:35:23] Um. The not. And then I think we, we look at who we’re talking to in terms of this psychographic people looking for quality over quantity. It’s a bit of fatigue that people have had with the stuff and with Faux fashion, and I don’t know if you’re familiar with Mari Kondo, but there’s very much this Mari Kondo effect of trying to declutter your life.
[00:35:49] And. And I think people are really trying to understand how on a personal level, well, they can make changes that do you have a positive impact on the environment, on society, on the next generation. And we really want to be able to tap into that and provide some real solutions that it actually means something.
[00:36:11] So that’s who we’re talking to. Yeah, it’s great. I mean, you also recently. Just a, you know, earlier in November, 2019 posted, uh, about your backstory on the blog, on the site. And like I, I’ve talked to, especially, especially Chinese sellers, it’s funny, but even for Westerners sometimes don’t want to associate with China, especially with their product or brand.
[00:36:33] But you’re embracing it. You’re talking about it. Like you say, why, why China, made in China, you know, why is it special? Of course we can, we can link to this. I’ll link to his blog post too. Well, of course. Your main site. Well, um, so you’re not afraid. You’re not thinking that being made in China.
[00:36:52] You know, I was so proud of it. I, yeah, I think it’s, um. It is [00:37:00] unfortunate that it has so many negative connotations, and especially in the fashion space. I think, uh, we really want to debunk a lot of the myths about, made in China meaningful quality, which I think is the number one myth that still exists.
[00:37:16] I mean, if there’s anything that it’s not, it’s poor quality. Yes, you can find shady suppliers. You can find them anywhere. You can find them in LA and uh, in New York. So I think it’s about looking and building relationships with the right people. And there’s so much expertise here. We really wanted to focus on, on working with suppliers who are sourcing fabrics from very close to the manufacturing base.
[00:37:40] And because we focus on cashmere and wool The fabric doesn’t have to travel as far, which has also got some positive impact. The experts at Cashmere world, there’s no one who does the best. So then China, so for us, we, uh, proud to showcase what they can do. Um, and yeah, I’ll keep talking about that.
[00:38:00] Great. More power to you. Actually somebody just tell me if I’m reading Marina wool is like the, the coolest, the best fabric. If somebody trying to get me to to to use it for myself, they say it’s like light and can be warm and cold, so it’s cool. It’s cool stuff here. Yeah, I will say that is the one important fabric.
[00:38:23] That’s all Sterling and Marina wool, but the mills are in, are in China, so they bring in the Yarn from Australia and then they spin it in China. Great.
[00:38:36] Let’s maybe also kind of get wrapping up a little bit longer than my normal ones. But I think this has been an awesome discussion. So if for others listening, we’ve kind of, you know, hinted you’ve been sharing, you know, the tech and the story, and I think when we were talking at the summit, you said there’s a huge opportunity for more people to do this, right?
[00:38:55] I mean, you think this is the future of e-commerce. Yes, I really do. I think that we need to have more of a direct model. Um, I think, you know, fashion or not. I think that, Hmm, the retail landscape is changing and has been changing, but it’s really undergoing some dramatic shifts right now. Um, and particularly in the supply chain space.
[00:39:21] I think the lack of flexibility that, that has been. You know, I know fashion pretty deeply. I can’t speak for other categories. But the fact that it takes 12 to 18 months to commercialize a new product just is totally at odds with the customer of the 21st century, and the customer is not going to be less fickle in the future.
[00:39:45] Um, and I think he’s supply chains need to be more demand driven. They need to listen to customers and be able to react more quickly without having the risk associated of having to make too much stuff that they don’t need. And I think that the onset of that, I think you need a much more closely tied supply and demand that a much more closely connected.
[00:40:07] And one way with going about doing that is really consolidating all supply base building really, really deep relationships with these suppliers and putting some skin in the game for them. So nothing on a traditional kind of payment structure that you would typically have with. I supply, uh, 10 years ago.
[00:40:26] Um, you know, it’s gotta be good for them, good for us, and good for the customer. And we believe that the only way to do that is to actually make what people want versus have supplied drive what we’re trying to sell the customers, which has been the traditional model. Okay, exciting. So I think we’re, we’re, we’re raw.
[00:40:49] You know, I think we did a great talk. Great discussion. I think there’s a lot more we can get you on future shows if you’re willing. And I really appreciate you sharing. And what are some ways people can find you? Of course, public habit.com we linked it up and also that, I like that the little backstory blog posts there, a Instagram.
[00:41:06] Is there other, other, is that good or is there other ways to. I’d say those are the, those, the big ones. Um, I definitely think, you know, you can also find me on LinkedIn, Sydney Badger. Um, but I think the blog is kind of my baby right now, which we’re hoping to really build it off as a source of knowledge and end data that’s not intimidating about what’s happening in.
[00:41:30] The fashion supply chain and manufacturing in China. So I’m definitely, out to follow on that and our Instagram is a good feed of, of how we’re building and growing public habit. Awesome. Thanks so much, Sydney. It’s been a pleasure. Yeah. Thank you for having me. This has been really fun. Okay.
[00:41:50] Thank you Alpha Rock Capital, sponsor and supporter of the Global from Asia and what we do here. If you are interested in investing in Amazon FBA companies, brands, physical product businesses, and want to get more information, check ’em out. I am a partner there. Happy partner at Alpha Rock Capital.com/connect where you can engage with others and we will route you to the right agent or person in the team to talk to you about your investment or maybe you’re looking to sell your business.
[00:42:20] We have been doing that as well, so I’d love to hear from you. Tell them Global from Asia, Mike sent you and I appreciate it. Cheers. Wow. And Miles just showed me it’s, we don’t have video here, but this tooth is almost out. Miles your tooth fall out. Yes. Almost. Wow. That’s crazy. He just opens his mouth and takes his finger and pulls it out.
[00:42:46] Almost outweighs hanging on by a thread, but it’ll come out sooner. I, uh, wow. Okay. Daddy’s stuff. So you guys having fun with daddy. All right. Thanksgiving day here again, uh, hope you guys enjoyed that podcast interview with Sydney. It was, it was great. We had to rearrange the schedules and we made it happen.
[00:43:09] I was in Taiwan, she’s in China. It’s just amazing. But I think it really fits the, the whole idea of the show Global from Asia, you know, running an international business from Asia or China and she’s expanding quickly and I really wish her the best. And. And her, uh, expansion for Public Habit websites and fashion direct from China and other parts of Asia.
[00:43:31] There’s so much opportunity for sure to do so. What’s up next here? Well, there’s so much happening. As I alluded to in the preview, we are planning to go to China for the first half of 2020, and then go back to Chiang Mai after summer. So did you guys like the new school in Thailand? Yes. I liked it because we like the, we, we like we, we like to, we like to.
[00:44:12] We would like to meet. We like to meet grandma and grandpa. Oh, that’s in China. You mean in China, but you saw a new school in Chiang Mai in Thailand. Remember? We went to see it. Did you like that new school? Yes. A lot of playgrounds. They’re outside stuff right. It got two playgrounds, two playgrounds.
[00:44:34] So I guess more big kids. Then one for little kids, three playgrounds. The big kids have. Have a big Kids playground and a small and that, and the boy and the boy kids and, and, um. And that boy, girl can go in. Great. So you guys, I understand now what you’re interested in playgrounds, but uh, yes, it’ll be a half year in China and back to Chiang Mai, Thailand for the second half of the year.
[00:45:09] And we’re discussing a where to put the Cross Border Summit. It looks like November, 2020 in Chiang Mai. It’s gotta make that hard move, um, to Southeast Asia. We want to have more Southeast Asia content, more, uh, e-commerce from Asia, not just mainland China, just like Sydney. She’s expanding into Asia, not just China.
[00:45:30] So we want to stick closer to what we say about Global from Asia. What’s that? Temple. Oh, the temple. You like temples? Yes. He’s come up from the mountain. The Buddha lived there. Nice. Yeah. That Buddha lives in the temple. It’s cool. Do you like that? Yes. Yes. Never see it, one. We can go see the temples.
[00:46:00] Yeah, well, I guess these kids will get a lot of international exposure for sure. I mean, Thailand, a little bit of Thai. You want to learn Thai Miles? Yes. Yeah. And the new school is going to be more Thai, and then you’re gonna, you’re gonna learn how to write Chinese. Right? Mommy wants you to learn to write Chinese.
[00:46:18] Okay. Okay. Oh, okay. So it’s a three different languages. Amazing, English. Chinese and Thai, so I wish I learned that when I was a kid. And, um, but yeah, we’re looking to do more content in Southeast Asia. The Lazada was a popular one. I’m always a host of a panel for the Neat Hong Kong, Bangkok event a week or two ago in November, 2019.
[00:46:48] And there was a lot of interest, more interest than on Lazada than on the Amazon content. People were just really curious how to do that. So, and even at a Cross Border Summit, we had some speakers talking about Southeast Asia and there was a lot of interest there. So I think we’re going to add a whole track of this stuff to the cross border summit in Chiang Mai in 2020 our fifth annual.
[00:47:13] And, uh, for my plan, I plan to spend some time in Manila in early 2020, with the Alpha Rock team building out even more content and BizDev things for the investment stuff in the Amazon businesses. So I’m excited about that. But, um, it’s, there’s this, you know, I honestly didn’t expect this China move, but, uh, Wendy’s family’s been getting worse and worse with health.
[00:47:40] And hospital visits. So, you know, she says, you know, we don’t know her father and mother what will be happening longterm, the kids, grandparents, so it spends six months. It’s better than flying there for two days and flying back. So might as well make the most, yes, Maggie. [00:48:00] What this is the blah, blah, blah.
[00:48:07] You liked the blah, blah, blah. Yeah, I like blah, blah, blah. Alright. But yeah, I think the golden age of content, we’ll get more into Southeast Asia. Of course Lazada and more, um, you know, international business from Asia, not just China. I know I lived there and a lot of our content was that, but I think the world is changing and there’s more and more interest to do stuff in Southeast Asia.
[00:48:36] So I don’t know if there’s not many others doing that type of content. And I hope that listeners enjoy this. I always try to hear what you guys are up to. We also send out a newsletter. And emails. So if you’re not on our email lists, you can go to globalfromasia.com/subscribe and, uh, okay. Miles like China.
[00:48:57] I know. And uh, what? No, China. All right, Miles, you’re going to do the, you’re going to help me do the interviews. Where do these shows when you’re bigger . You got to say not just move your head. He’s definitely helped me make websites. We got a lot of websites. We do. We get so much content and internet, Mark marketing, um, miles.
[00:49:25] I’m excited to have you get more involved. With that. So anyways, we are rocking and rolling here, uh, almost at the, uh, meeting and it’s Thanksgiving day, if you can believe it. So I am, uh, just really moving along here and I think we’ll wrap it up. I got gotta. Clean things up before we get out of the grab car.
[00:49:50] And, uh, maybe the kids will be more involved in the show, but, uh, the really hard part is I probably won’t be seeing him as much in the first half of 2020 has, I, I could stay in China with them, but I don’t have an active visa for longterm anymore. It didn’t, didn’t renew permits and companies stuff.
[00:50:09] So I don’t know if I will, uh. Be able to stay there that long. Plus the Internet’s deep up in North China with really bad internet and I don’t know, there’s, I just don’t think I can stay there on a longterm basis. And, uh, luckily my wife is independent and understands, and that was her idea anyway, when she brought this all up anyways.
[00:50:33] Thanks Sydney for sharing and I hope you guys enjoyed this, blah, blah, blah session. We are, um, keeping things real here. As always, take care. To get more info about running an international business, please visit our website at www.globalfromasia.com that’s www.globalfromasia.com. Also, be sure to subscribe to our iTunes feed.
[00:50:55] Thanks for tuning in.