Jennie Baik, co-founder of Orchard Mile sat down with our founder, Iman Oubou to discuss how she has worked to reinvent the online shopping experience as we know it with her creation of Orchard Mile, the ultimate virtual shopping mall. According to Baik, the name Orchard Mile comes from Orchard Road in Singapore, which is similar to 5th Avenue or Rodeo Drive in the U.S. and ‘Mile’ refers to the Magnificent Mile in Chicago – the city’s most upscale shopping and dining section.
“With retail, as more and more retail doors are closing, people really do want to see the full collection of every designer. The experience that we’re bringing is that you can have all the access to all of the collections."
The two names represent what seems like the mall in the sky as Orchard Mile is home to dozens of designers in the luxury, contemporary and athleisure markets that sell their full collections on the site’s marketplace. Orchard Mile sells anything from Tom Ford perfume to Carolina Herrera evening gowns to Paige denim to Giuseppe Zanotti shoes. The best part? Each designer features their full collections on Orchard Mile’s site. The founder goes on to explain that only five to 10 percent of fashion brand’s digital sales are from their own website – the other 90 to 95 percent of their sales come from navigators, wholesalers, specialty stores, and the like.
Chandra Leather Mini Chain Clutch. Courtesy of Orchard Mild
But with Orchard Mile, the designers that are featured on the site buy into the marketplace, creating a direct consumer transaction, which is “really exciting for brands, and is more economical to be placed in this marketplace environment,” explains Baik.
Into You Halter Playsuit. Courtesy of Orchard Mile
Baik’s journey to creating Orchard Mile is quite untraditional. While most entrepreneurs will recommend starting a company with people you know on some level, Baik’s co-founders were all essentially strangers when they decided to start the marketplace after meeting at a networking event.
“Some people will debate me and say you probably made the wrong decision, but actually, I think what you want in a co-founder is a business skill set.”
She then explained to Iman that the decision to join her co-founders wasn’t immediate, and that, just like dating, she took about six months to “think about it.”
The founder also states that upon going to the networking event where she met her co-founders, that she wasn’t necessarily looking to start a business and enter the world of entrepreneurship. With a very diverse background from working with a friend with a fashion brand startup company in the beginning of her career. to finance, to consulting, and then to heading up the customer experience team at Burberry, Baik did not strategically set out to start Orchard Mile right away.
Like most startups, the daily operations at Orchard Mile are not exactly as glamorous as fashion lovers would think. “We’re not building a fashion company - we’re building a really interesting marketplace. About 5 percent of our business is that kind of [fun] stuff,” explains Baik. The fun refers to the runway shows, champagne-filled parties and blogger-like Instagram posts that many believe the fashion industry is like.
The founders, which include Jennie Baik, Julia LeClair and Mortimer Singer, started the company in November 2014 and officially launched in November 2015. What we were doing was building the tech product and signing the brands. ”Just signing the first working brands was so difficult,” explains the co-founder, since you can’t have a mall without the merchandise. Baik explained to Iman the difficulties the team faced when meeting with the different designers in the initial stages of contracting brands to be featured on the site and just how much background research had to be done on each prospective client when pitching the Orchard Mile to them – so much research that the Oscar de la Renta team thought that they had been hacked for all their data.
To hear more about Jennie’s run down the Orchard Mile, challenges she’s faced along the way, and how she selects her prospective employees, check out the Facebook live video.
The Orchard Mile can be found on Instagram at @OrchardMile.
Personally, I am over the top excited that we are on the cusp of turning the page on not only a new year but also on a new 10-year window of opportunities and possibilities!
You may be thinking, whoa…I am just embracing the fall season…yikes… it is tough to think about a new decade!
Yet it is this groundwork, this forward thought that you put in place TODAY that will propel you and lead you into greatness in 2020 and beyond. Designing a new decade rests in your ability to vision, in your willingness to be curious, in your awareness of where you are now and what you most want to curate. Essentially, curating what's next is about tapping into today with confidence, conviction, and decision. Leading YOU starts now. This is your new next. It is your choice.
Sometimes to get to that 'next', you need to take a step back to reflect. Please pardon my asking you to spend time in yesterday. Those who know me personally, know that I created and continue to grow my business based on enabling the present moment as a springboard for living your legacy. So, indulge me here! True, I am asking you to peek into the past, yet it is only in order for you to bring the essence of that past forward into this moment called NOW.
One of the best ways to tap into what's next is to clarify what drives you. To design a new decade, ask yourself this question about the past ten years:
What worked? What were my successes?
Make a list of your achievements big and small. Don't type them, but rather use ink and paper and sit with and savor them. Move your thoughts and your successes from your head, to your heart, to your pen, to the paper. Remember that on the flip side of goals not attained and New Year's resolutions abandoned, there was more than likely some traction and action that moved you forward, even if the end result was not what you expected. Once you have a full list of a decade's worth of personal and professional accomplishments, think about how this makes you feel. Do you remember celebrating all of them? My guess is no. So, celebrate them now. Give them new life by validating them. Circle the successes that resonate with you most right now. Where can you lean into those accomplishments as you power into the decade ahead?
Now comes a tougher question, one that I used myself in my own mid-life reinvention and a question I adore because in a moment's time it provides you with a quick reconnect to your unique inner voice.
If it were 10 years ago and nothing were standing in your way, no fear or excuses to contend with…what would you do?
Don't overthink it. The brilliance of this question is that it refocuses purpose. Whatever first came to mind when you answered this for yourself is at its core a powerful insight into defining and redefining the FUTURE decade. Bring your answer into the light of today and what small piece of it is actionable NOW? Where is this resonating and aligning with a 2019 version of yourself?
Then, based on your success list and your answer to the above question, what is your 2020 vision for your business and for the business of YOU?
Designing a new decade begins as a collection of 3,650 opportunities. 3,650 blank slates of new days ahead in which to pivot and propel yourself forward. Every single one of those days is a window into your legacy. An invitation to be, create, explore, and chip away at this thing we call life. One 24-hour segment at a time.
While you have a decade ahead to work on design improvements, you have the ability to begin manifesting this project of YOU Version 2020 right NOW. Based on exploring the exercises in this post, begin executing your vision. Ask questions. Be present. Let go of 2019 and the past 10 years so that you can embrace the next 10. Position acceptance and self-trust at the forefront of how you lead you. One choice at a time.
Don't get bogged down in the concept of the next 10 years. Instead position clarity and intention into each new day, starting today. Then chase every one of those intentions with an in-the-moment commitment and solution toward living a legendary life!