Jennie Baik Sends You Into a Virtual Shopping Wonderland With Orchard Mile


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."

-Jennie Baik

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.”

-Jennie Baik

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.

3 Min Read

7 Must-have Tips to Keep You Healthy and Fit for the Unpredictable COVID Future

With a lack of certainty surrounding the future, being and feeling healthy may help bring the security that you need during these unpredictable times.

When it comes to your health, there is a direct relationship between nutrition and physical activity that play an enormous part in physical, mental, and social well-being. As COVID-19 continues to impact almost every aspect of our lives, the uncertainty of the future may seem looming. Sometimes improvisation is necessary, and understanding how to stay healthy and fit can significantly help you manage your well-being during these times.

Tip 1: Communicate with your current wellness providers and set a plan

Gyms, group fitness studios, trainers, and professionals can help you to lay out a plan that will either keep you on track through all of the changes and restrictions or help you to get back on the ball so that all of your health objectives are met.

Most facilities and providers are setting plans to provide for their clients and customers to accommodate the unpredictable future. The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C. An enormous amount is on the table for this coming fall and winter; if your gym closes again, what is your plan? If outdoor exercising is not an option due to the weather, what is your plan? Leaving things to chance will significantly increase your chances of falling off of your regimen and will make consistency a big problem.

The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C.

Tip 2: Stay active for both mental and physical health benefits

The rise of stress and anxiety as a result of the uncertainty around COVID-19 has affected everyone in some way. Staying active by exercising helps alleviate stress by releasing chemicals like serotonin and endorphins in your brain. In turn, these released chemicals can help improve your mood and even reduce risk of depression and cognitive decline. Additionally, physical activity can help boost your immune system and provide long term health benefits.

With the new work-from-home norm, it can be easy to bypass how much time you are spending sedentary. Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity. Struggling to find ways to stay active? Start simple with activities like going for a walk outside, doing a few reps in exchange for extra Netflix time, or even setting an alarm to move during your workday.

Tip 3: Start slow and strong

If you, like many others during the pandemic shift, have taken some time off of your normal fitness routine, don't push yourself to dive in head first, as this may lead to burnout, injury, and soreness. Plan to start at 50 percent of the volume and intensity of prior workouts when you return to the gym. Inactivity eats away at muscle mass, so rather than focusing on cardio, head to the weights or resistance bands and work on rebuilding your strength.

Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity.

Tip 4: If your gym is open, prepare to sanitize

In a study published earlier this year, researchers found drug-resistant bacteria, the flu virus, and other pathogens on about 25 percent of the surfaces they tested in multiple athletic training facilities. Even with heightened gym cleaning procedures in place for many facilities, if you are returning to the gym, ensuring that you disinfect any surfaces before and after using them is key.

When spraying disinfectant, wait a few minutes to kill the germs before wiping down the equipment. Also, don't forget to wash your hands frequently. In an enclosed space where many people are breathing heavier than usual, this can allow for a possible increase in virus droplets, so make sure to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Staying in the know and preparing for new gym policies will make it easy to return to these types of facilities as protocols and mutual respect can be agreed upon.

Tip 5: Have a good routine that extends outside of just your fitness

From work to working out, many routines have faltered during the COVID pandemic. If getting back into the routine seems daunting, investing in a new exercise machine, trainer, or small gadget can help to motivate you. Whether it's a larger investment such as a Peloton, a smaller device such as a Fitbit, or simply a great trainer, something new and fresh is always a great stimulus and motivator.

Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine.

Just because you are working from home with a computer available 24/7 doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your entire day to work. Setting work hours, just as you would in the office, can help you to stay focused and productive.

A good night's sleep is also integral to obtaining and maintaining a healthy and effective routine. Adults need seven or more hours of sleep per night for their best health and wellbeing, so prioritizing your sleep schedule can drastically improve your day and is an important factor to staying healthy. Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine. This can help the rest of your day feel normal while the uncertainty of working from home continues.

Tip 6: Focus on food and nutrition

In addition to having a well-rounded daily routine, eating at scheduled times throughout the day can help decrease poor food choices and unhealthy cravings. Understanding the nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy can help you stay more alert, but they do vary from person to person. If you are unsure of your suggested nutritional intake, check out a nutrition calculator.

If you are someone that prefers smaller meals and more snacks throughout the day, make sure you have plenty of healthy options, like fruits, vegetables and lean proteins available (an apple a day keeps the hospital away). While you may spend most of your time from home, meal prepping and planning can make your day flow easier without having to take a break to make an entire meal in the middle of your work day. Most importantly, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

Tip 7: Don't forget about your mental health

While focusing on daily habits and routines to improve your physical health is important, it is also a great time to turn inward and check in with yourself. Perhaps your anxiety has increased and it's impacting your work or day-to-day life. Determining the cause and taking proactive steps toward mitigating these occurrences are important.

For example, with the increase in handwashing, this can also be a great time to practice mini meditation sessions by focusing on taking deep breaths. This can reduce anxiety and even lower your blood pressure. Keeping a journal and writing out your daily thoughts or worries can also help manage stress during unpredictable times, too.

While the future of COVI9-19 and our lives may be unpredictable, you can manage your personal uncertainties by focusing on improving the lifestyle factors you can control—from staying active to having a routine and focusing on your mental health—to make sure that you emerge from this pandemic as your same old self or maybe even better.