Leaders Perception Magazine is currently running an interview series called – Leadership in Times of Crisis
Today, we had the opportunity to interview Wendy Wang who is a Founderat F&J Outdoor.
Scaling an e-commerce business to success requires a combination of passion, perseverance, and strategic decision-making. In this interview, we have the pleasure of speaking with Wendy Wang, the founder of F&J Outdoor, a leading outdoor furniture cover store. Wendy shares her backstory and the inspiration behind starting her e-commerce venture. She also discusses the initial challenges she faced and reveals a pivotal moment and strategy that played a significant role in scaling her business to success. Join us as we delve into Wendy’s journey and gain valuable insights into the world of e-commerce.
Interviewee Name: Wendy Wang
Company: F&J Outdoor
Wendy Wang’s favourite quote: One of my favorite quotes, which serves as a guiding principle in both my work and personal life, comes from Thomas Edison: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
This quote has been a constant reminder that failure is not a setback, but a stepping stone to success. It strengthens my resolve when the going gets tough, and various attempts at problem-solving don’t seem to work. It is a testament that perseverance is always an answer and the importance of a positive mindset.
Looking at failure as a learning opportunity, I have been able to overcome challenges in my journey as an entrepreneur. It has pushed me to continually innovate, take calculated risks, and explore new territories, all of which have been instrumental in the growth of F&J Outdoor.
Thank you so much for joining us today! Tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your backstory?
Wendy Wang : Thanks for having me today! My journey in the world of international trade starts with my natural curiosity and keen interest in understanding how global markets work. I was always fascinated by the interplay of different economies, the role trade agreements play in shaping consumer behaviors, and how businesses can leverage these dynamics for growth.
Around 9 years ago when I started working as an International Trade Specialist. I had the opportunity to network with different businesses and understand the nuances of their operations, challenges, and strengths. This paved the way to developing my competencies in areas like customs issues, trade compliance, and tariff classifications among others.
Around 5 years ago, my entrepreneurial itch transformed into a fully-fledged outdoor furniture cover store called F&J Outdoor. With this venture, I sought to combine my expertise in international trade and my years of hands-on experience with different industries to build a brand that offers high-quality outdoor covers.
Today, I’m proud to say that we’ve built a loyal customer base who swears by the quality of our products. It’s rewarding to see the listings from our store on https://fj-outdoors.com/ grace many an outdoor space and bear witness to countless warm, joyous, and memorable moments. You can also find more details about my professional journey on my LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/wendy-wang-155071280/.
What inspired you to start your e-commerce venture, and what were the initial challenges you faced?
Wendy Wang : Thank you for this question. It was my diverse experiences while working as an International Trade Specialist—a role that exposed me to diverse industries and businesses—that sparked the idea of starting my own e-commerce venture. I discovered a niche market lacking serious attention: quality outdoor furniture covers. There was an abundance of stunning outdoor furniture, yet protection for them, such as sturdy, resilient covers, paled in comparison. My passion for providing practical solutions to unmet customer needs led me to establish F&J Outdoor.
Initially, the challenges were plentiful. For one, building a user-friendly website that reflects who we are as a brand and can also facilitate smooth transactions for customers from diverse backgrounds was quite a challenge.
Next, creating a robust supply chain to ensure prompt delivery and maintain our commitment to quality was no small feat. It took a significant amount of time, resources, and strenuous effort to find reliable manufacturers, negotiate terms, and establish quality control measures.
Marketing was another hurdle. As a newcomer in a crowded digital commerce space, distinguishing our brand and products from other competitors required a lot of brainstorming. I believe that our commitment to quality, customer-centric approach, and specific niche helped us overcome this.
Lastly, adapting to the legal and tax framework for e-commerce businesses was an uphill battle. It required a hefty amount of research and enlisting professional help.
These challenges felt daunting at the time. Still, I must admit they helped me grasp the multifaceted aspects of running an e-commerce venture, giving me invaluable experience that I continually draw upon today.
Can you share a pivotal moment or strategy that played a significant role in scaling your e-commerce business to success?
Wendy Wang : Absolutely! That pivotal moment for F&J Outdoor came when we decided to expand our portfolio beyond traditional markets. While our initial focus was on the U.S., we noticed a growing demand from international customers who appreciated the quality and durability of our outdoor furniture covers. The international buyer segment presented an exciting potential for our brand, and I realized we needed to form a universal strategy to cater to this emerging market.
Leveraging my background as an International Trade Specialist, we meticulously designed an international shipping and distribution network that adhered to the different customs rules and regulations. We made sure our website supported multiple currencies and languages. Additionally, we established an excellent customer service team that catered to diverse time zones and linguistic needs.
Another significant strategy was making customer feedback the core of our product development. Listening to our customers’ experiences and input helped us improve our product features. Combining customer feedback with data analysis, we started stocking designs and sizes that were most popular leading to a leaner, more efficient inventory, and reduced overhead costs.
Implementing these strategies wasn’t easy, but it absolutely paid off. It allowed us to scale our brand to newer markets and diversify our customer base that substantially increased our sales volume. Most importantly, it made F&J Outdoor a brand recognized and loved by customers from around the world.
Leaders Perception would like to thank Wendy Wang and F&J Outdoor for the time dedicated to completing this interview and sharing their valuable insights with our readers!
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