What you need to know about

Head of Commercial Jia-Wei Loo lets us in on Epik-Shop's plans for South East Asian labels and shoppers

By Andrea Tim | Published: 17 Feb 2016

About Epik-Shop
Aida Salleh and Jia-Wei Loo wearing Kasamaya (Photo: Epik-Shop)

At first glance, Epik-Shop is a young website that sells independent fashion labels that offer a range of products from apparel to accessories. It's a growing brand, just a few months old and lead by a small team, looking to stand out in a fast-paced and competitive online fashion retail industry. One of its main goals is to connect merchants and shoppers all over South East Asia.

We caught up with Head of Commercial Jia-Wei Loo to find out more about the next big thing in online shopping and what it takes to be a fashion label that Epik-Shop wants. Click here to find out which of the five labels on the website she is excited about.

How did Epik-Shop come to life?
Epik-Shop was conceived by Tony Fernandes and is part of the Tune Group of companies. We want to build an e-commerce platform that connects you to ASEAN. In July last year, a small team of five came together to start building the business and we launched on 23 November. We're still very much in our infancy and have our work cut out for us! We're still a team of five.

What sets Epik-Shop apart from other websites like it?
Epik-Shop is a platform for brands and boutiques looking to sell to South East Asia. Instagram, Pinterest and messaging apps have made it easy for brands to sell directly to users on those platforms. We want to make it easier for the shopper and bring all these independent brands onto one platform. So instead of buying from four individual brands, you can shop them all in one place on a secure site.

From a merchant's perspective, we want to help them reach new markets. If you're a Thai brand or boutique, we help you reach the Malaysian and Singaporean shoppers. We take away the pain of investing in logistics, online infrastructure and customer service so they can focus on doing what they do best – which is designing, curating and producing beautiful things.

How do you curate the labels that you sell on Epik-Shop?
Aida, our lead merchandiser, and I look for brands and boutiques that are driven by design and meet certain quality standards. They don't have to be particularly trendy, but a strong brand aesthetic is important. Price points are an important consideration as well, we want Epik-Shop to be a value-driven site, as opposed to a discount-driven site. We jive very well with brands who display a realistic understanding of the value of their products. These brands tend to sell better on the site as well.

What is the best aspect of your job?
Getting to do everything and anything and learning on the job. I still get very excited and happy when a merchant agrees to sell with us even though we're brand new. This inspires the team to work hard for them as well. What challenges does Epik-Shop face? The biggest challenge is getting brands to take a chance on us. We're the newest kid on the e-commerce block so we're still innovating and still tweaking our business to make sure that we're always giving our merchants and customers the best experience. Some brands understand this, some don't. We don't get upset when people say no (well, sometimes we eat a lot of chocolate to get over the rejection). Even though we're connected to a larger group of companies, we are determined to prove our worth and are grateful to the brands that take a chance on us. We've made great progress in the last two months, so I anticipate our challenges to evolve.

What does Epik-Shop have in store for the future?
We will be launching in Singapore in March and in Bangkok in June this year. In the near future we plan to launch a kids section and also have 100 merchants by the end of March.

In the picture above, Jia-Wei Loo and Aida Salleh wear Thai brand Kasamaya, out this month at Epik-Shop.

Related: 5 labels to watch on Epik-Shop
Related: Jasmine Chong on her NYFW debut collection that's taken years to make


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