When you first meet Fadza Anuar, you will immediately identify intellect and wit as some of his defining characteristics. This Masters graduate in aeronautical engineering is the last person you'd guess to hold the co-founder and CEO of FashionValet title. For the uninitiated, FashionValet is one of Malaysia's leading online fashion e-commerce companies.
Having turned 27 years old recently, this young entrepreneur and father of two is a man of vision and has a great game plan. Despite his young age, he and his wife Vivy Yusof (Managing Director of FashionValet) have made a prominent mark in the industry through the company's support for local and emerging brands.
FashionValet has also recently achieved the RM10 million revenue mark and secured a multimillion dollar investment led by Elixir Capital, an American global private equity firm – incredible feats for a mere five-year-old company.
The self-confessed 'nerdy engineer' sat down with us to talk about his experience, thus far, with FashionValet and what it is like to be a man working in the women-dominated fashion industry.
(Photo from Instagram @fashionvaletcom)
Back in the UK, Vivy and I were very well acquainted with online shopping. We even did our groceries shopping online. When we came back to Malaysia, there wasn’t anything like that. So, we thought it would be a great idea to start FashionValet.
When FashionValet started, we approached 50 local brands. It was like selling them a blank piece of paper and 10 of them including Tom Abang Saufi and Razwan Radziwill bought the idea. With that, we just went ahead with it.
The fashion part of the business comes from Vivy and I came on board because as a nerdy engineer, I was very interested in the e-commerce aspect of it. I love all the technical and operational details of the business. When you combine the two, you get fashion e-commerce!
The first two years, I had to go to all the fashion events. It was quite intimidating at first. Thankfully, I met a few other drag-along husbands, who were also there with their wives. So we stuck together and formed something like a 'drag-along husbands' club.
When you compare Southeast Asia with big players like Europe and China, our consumers here spend much less when shopping online (only 1% compared to the main markets at 10%), but that it's not all bad because it means that there are more opportunities for us.
Market numbers are important but as just an indicator. For us, once we believe in a certain product, we just push our way through to make the numbers happen. After all, we are the ones who will make it grow.
Since joining FashionValet, my knowledge about the fashion world has expanded. I've learned all the terms and essential nicks of the trade. My wife used to dress me up for work and events, but now I can manage it quite well by myself.
Despite being in a women-dominated business, I feel quite at home because it was an e-commerce business and I am really good with the tech and operational side of things. It really helps me blend in well with the ladies.
I don’t have a particular fashion icon that I look up to. My main splurges are for watches and shoes only. For me, as long as it covers the necessary parts, it’s good enough to wear. Though recently, I have found a new interest for Dolce & Gabbana designs.
- Kristy Yong of Ms Read and dude & the duchess on her work ethos and beliefs
- Jovian Mandagie on never saying "never" in business and entrepreneurship