Multi-million greenback app founders share enterprise start-up suggestions

When Chris Halim and Raena Lim quit their jobs in 2016 to start their own sustainable fashion company, they had no idea how successful it was going to be.

But one thing was clear: Bring a basic product onto the market as quickly as possible – that is the advice they are taking today.

“As a start-up founder, there is a great temptation, especially at the beginning, to build the perfect product before you bring something to market, or the temptation to go for all functions and revise everything,” said Halim, a former consultant.

“To the best of our knowledge, that would be a mistake,” the Style Theory CEO told CNBC Make It.

Just start

After Halim and his banker wife Lim saw an opportunity to bring a clothes rental business to Singapore, they wasted little time creating a waiting list to measure interest before rolling out the service to a small number of consumers.

The best way to get something to market is always to just do it with minimal scope and get it to market as quickly as possible.

Chris Halim |

Co-Founder and CEO, Style Theory

As demand grew, the couple expanded their user base and apparel collection, adapting to customer needs.

This advice is shared by many business leaders, including the iconic book “The Lean Startup,” which recommends entrepreneurs develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and then quickly test and iterate in response to customer feedback.

The co-founders of Style Theory, Raena Lim and Chris Halim.

Style theory

“The best way to get something to market is always to do it simply and with minimal scope, get it to market as quickly as possible, and then get customer feedback,” Lim said.

“Based on customer feedback, you can iterate and improve it. I think this is a much better way of developing something that customers will love, ”he continued.

Dream big

The couple’s nimble, data-driven approach served them well. Five years later, the company has around 200,000 users in Singapore and Indonesia and a collection of 50,000 items of clothing and 2,200 shoes.

With the support of $ 30 million from investors such as Softbank, Alpha JWC Ventures and the Paradise Group, the company is now planning to expand to Hong Kong and introduce men’s and children’s fashion.

In entrepreneurship, you face failure every day … it’s far more important to focus on what you are going to do next.

Chris Halim |

Co-Founder and CEO, Style Theory

“This future is for you to shape and you and your team can dream about it and say, let’s make the call to do something completely different,” said Co-Founder Lim.

But, the couple warned, it’s important to take the highs with the lows. Their business has been badly hit by the pandemic and despite the move to offer new services, the rental service has only recovered 75% of pre-pandemic users today.

“In entrepreneurship, you face failure every day, you keep making wrong decisions and it’s all up to you,” said Halim.

“It’s much more important to focus on what you’re going to do next, how you’re going to fix it, and how you’re going to grow the business next.”

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