Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are facing different kinds of challenges and started new ways to deal with them. Starting from February, we will have different alumni from East Asia region to share their insights and stories in the newsletter and monthly What's On in 2021.
The story of woman entrepreneurship
Ms. Astor Chan
Let me share my startup story.
I used to be a lawyer and a negotiator of listed companies. I was a frequent speaker in law conferences, and I had to travel a lot for work. At the same time, I missed most of my son’s basketball games.
Five years ago, at the age of 40, I quitted my job as a vice president of a listed company in the United States and started my own legal consulting company. From that, I had flexible working hours, and I could attend all my son’s basketball games.
At the same time, I also started selling Korean fashion with my friend, who was also a lawyer. We opened a Facebook page and arranged a pop-up sale once a month.
Things went very well. Both legal and fashion businesses were growing. I became a well-known Asia legal expert and was invited as a speaker in startup conferences.
Three years ago, I began to suffer from severe hair loss and was diagnosed with cancer. Stress was a significant cause of my sickness. I immediately stopped all my legal work.
After my recovery, I only wanted to do something I was passionate about. It was a big move to transform from a legal professional to the fashion and beauty industry. There were many things I had to learn along the way.
I always focus on three key areas: products, services, and people. I adopted the O2O model in my business, and it was the key strategy to grow even during the pandemic in 2020. With the online data analysis, we know the products that our customers want. Using digital platforms can help tell our story, build our brand and develop a relationship with our customers. Operating a physical store becomes a showroom that can bring tailor-made experience and service to customers.
After years of hard work, we have built a reliable customer base, mainly professional ladies. We have over 30,000 followers in social media now.
I also make an effort to be a more caring and compassionate business owner. As a female leader, I am empathetic and a great listener; I care about people. This helps me to build a close relationship with my colleagues and my customers.
It is not easy for a female to play different and many roles in society. She is a wife, a sister, a daughter, and most importantly, a mother. We have built a community for ladies to support each other both online and offline. Every year, I encourage ladies in our community to donate to breast cancer funds and empower women from the grassroots together.
I have a few words of advice to entrepreneurs: “An idea can never be perfect; success is all about execution. The idea can be changed during the execution. Don’t just think. Work on it.
*The views and opinions expressed in this section are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the editorial positions of UoM East Asia Centre.
Manchester Global MBA Alumna: Ms. Astor Chan
Co-Founder & CEO of May 16
Solicitor of Hong Kong SAR since 2001
LLB (University of Hong Kong) (1998)
MBA with Distinction (University of Manchester) (2013)
LLM (University of London) (2016)
Teaching Assistant to Program on Negotiation (Harvard Law School) (2015-2017)
2020 GBA (Greater Bay Area) Outstanding Young Women Entrepreneur
2020 Top 50 Influencers by Hong Kong Living