Following news of bankruptcy protection filed by LA’s hottest digital fashion brand Nasty Gal, many were quick to call founder Sophia Amoruso a failure. But not Kara Bensley-Austin from Singapore’s The Wyld Shop, who thinks Amoruso is still inspirational.
Kara Bensley-Austin, founder of The Wyld Shop.
Sitting in her home office on the east coast of Singapore, her hair tied back in a messy bun and dressed in a leopard-print sleeveless getup, Kara Bensley-Austin looks like she has a devil-may-care attitude. It's not hard to see why she chose to name her fashion business ‘Wyld’.
The Wyld Shop is an e-commerce platform that aims to introduce Singaporeans to Australian High Street fashion - a mix of styles with a more beach bohemian vibe that is laid-back, carefree and unique. Brands available on the e-retailer include the iconic eyewear brand LeSpecs and vintage inspired designs from Minkpink.
Here the native Aussie shares some tips on how to grow slowly and steadily as an e-retailer.
Have A Vision Your vision should be bigger than just yourself. I’m actually obsessed with animals. Dogs, cats, and zebras in particular, because they are such social creatures. Plus, no two zebras are the same, even though they look it. Like the saying: "Same-same, but different." With The Wyld Shop, I sort of played on that idea of uniqueness, to create a community where every women can embrace their individuality. Being in Singapore also sets us apart as we decided to stock only Australian brands so we’re trying to be a platform that exposes Aussie icons like LeSpecs and Minkpink to the Asian market, who may not have heard of them before.
Build A Positive Connection It’s not only important to connect and build trust with your customers but also to surround yourself with like-minded entrepreneurs, who are happy to help you out and see you succeed. Acknowledge the fact that you just cannot do everything. To a certain extent, we can. But you got your strengths and your weaknesses, so don’t be afraid to ask for help or learn from others as well as show and receive compassion. I personally felt very sorry for what happened to Nasty Gal. After filing for bankruptcy protection, people were quick to jump unto that one pivotal fact and downplay what founder Sophia Amoruso has done. Sure, the company lost a lot of money but Amoruso is still an amazing success story, who made something out of nothing. She went from dumpster diving to managing a multi-million-dollar business! And I believe she’ll bounce back, she’s still got it. But she’s probably devastated and gutted now, and people just need to put themselves in her shoes. And that’s my thing, I really care about people and believe we should encourage one another.
Stick To The Mission Our mission and message is strong (Live Wyld and Live Free) but in a really fun way. I’m someone who doesn’t really take myself seriously but love wholeheartedly what I do. I was always going to do this for the long haul. Although honestly, I want to step away for a while to rest but I want to be involved as much as I can for the sheer satisfaction of it all. I want to meet customers and build this community that edifies one another through fashion. It’s important to look at the vision and big picture of things so that you can pull through in tough times.
Mei Anne is a wonderer but more so, she’s a wanderer. Her hands twitch to get ideas out while her feet itch for a new adventure. When she isn’t writing for Billionaire.com or planning her next trip, she enjoys a good sip — of coffee, tea, and other things. Follow her on Instagram (@meiannatee) to see if she’s still obsessed with window seats on a plane and jelly shoes.