EP. 18 - Jason Wong, Doe Lashes - Disrupting the DTC, one product at time

✅ Hey guys! Enjoy this EPIC interview w/ My good friend, Jason Wong! Jason takes us all the way back to his early days as an entrepreneur and shares with us his backstory which ultimately shaped his career and his future!🙌 Jason shares TONS of gems in this one! What is your favorite lesson from this interview?! Let us know in the comment section below!

Transcript 

Copy of Jason Wong

[00:00:00] Rish Sharma: Hey, everyone. On this episode of take care, we have the co-founder of dope lashes Jason Wong.

[00:00:11] Jason Wong: Hey, Jason, welcome to the take care of podcast. Happy to have you here.

[00:00:18] Rish Sharma: Thanks for having

[00:00:19] Jason Wong: me. So I just like to take, uh, some, if you can take some time and, uh, introduce yourself to the, to the audience and kind of tell them what you're trying to build it at long Haas and, and what you've built thus far with, uh, the lashes.

[00:00:33] Rish Sharma: Yeah, for sure. My name is Jason Wong. I'm the CEO and founder of ventures. We're a brand incubator where we create exciting DDC brands. Uh, help us separate through our team and network and resources. And one of our biggest brand right now is still ashes, which is a false lashes, um, focusing on creating weightless comfort for everyone.

[00:00:53] So, yeah, we were excited to talk about that too.

[00:00:56] Yeah, that's great. That's great. So what was the Genesis behind, uh, Wong Haas ventures and dull lashes.

[00:01:05] The simple, cool explanation I give to everyone is that, um, I kind of see white house ventures as a way for me to, um, get my antsy hands into a lot of brands without, you know, the typical, no insist of creating a lot of brands.

[00:01:22] So while housebound insurance is essentially a team of excellent operators creatives, and what we do is we built really, really cool stuff. And that really is driven by the fact that I. I have this thing, what my mom called, the three-minute hotness, where I like to jump from things to things and some things I don't like to be on one single thing for a long time.

[00:01:43] So you're probably not gonna see me built like the next Amazon, because that's going to take 20 years. I'm building very rabid big brands for three years and then get them acquired. That's really the entire premise of one husband or so it's really a way for me to deal a lot of things at once, um, and being able to control it.

[00:01:58] And though lashes, um, as one of our DDC burdens right now, and. The main goal for delicious was to create comfortable products for your eyes, which I believe is one of the most sensitive part of your face, but no one has been able to sell the end, creating great products for it. So one of our first point of attack is false lashes, and I eventually we're going to move into other verticals that didn't have a high category.

[00:02:22] So that's really, what's behind

[00:02:23] Jason Wong: though. Nice. Nice. And what was the insight that you saw, um, that propelled you to go in and target the dual lashes and the floss false lashes

[00:02:34] Rish Sharma: category? I just felt like lashes needed innovation. And that was largely driven by me observing other people. Um, you know, personally my stuff do not wear eyelashes, but I don't think that singles me out to not be able to create products within that category.

[00:02:52] A lot of great fashion designers for women are men. Yeah. And I like for me as a product designer, the same principle applies is that I like to design things from an engineering perspective. I like to look at the materials, the shapes, everything that comes into creating a product and see what I can improve on to do that.

[00:03:09] And for me, observing my own girlfriend struggling to wear lashes and keep them on all day and just finding it so irritating to be worn throughout the day. Gave me the inspiration that can I create a better version of this. And after doing some observations and research, I realized that I could, there's a lot of things that I could personally change about lashes such as the supply chain, the product, the material, and even the weight as manufacturer.

[00:03:34] So all of those things combined together was really what drove me to create though. That's

[00:03:39] Jason Wong: great. That's great. And if you were to give advice to any young entrepreneur that's out there or a first-time entrepreneur, that's trying to manufacture a brand new product in a new category. What are some top tips that you would give them as they're assessing a potential viable business or not?

[00:03:58] Rish Sharma: So the first things first is understanding the why. Um, I don't believe that you should create a product and a brand just for the sake of creating a product and brand. There really needs to be a fairy strong undenying, underlying motivation to creating it. So for me, it was creating something drastically different, something that is innovative, something that is unique and actually usable.

[00:04:20] There are some entrepreneurs out there that want to create something just because they see that as the next trend. But that's, that's not very sustainable. You're going to get burnt out. You're going to lose your market. It's going to get saturated really quickly. So first understanding what is your reason and purpose of creating this product and brand, who is the target audience that you're going after?

[00:04:39] What is the problem that they're facing and what is the solution that your product can provide to them? And, uh, after understanding that you essentially have a North star that you're chasing after, so kind of imagine yourself sprinting towards a goal. Those whys are. Forever going to be the goal that drives your innovations, your creative, your marketing, and everything in between.

[00:04:59] Um, and that's really the biggest advice I can give to people is that you really need to understand what's your purpose on it, because if you don't have a very strong core purpose for why you're creating it, you're going to get chewed out by your competitors who are innovating in some aspects. And remember like consumers in today's age are seeing hundreds of thousands of brands every single day.

[00:05:20] If you don't have a very compelling purpose and value, add that your product is giving. Why are they going to click your ad? Why are they going to stop scrolling to look at your product? You really need a form down that. Why.

[00:05:33] Jason Wong: And, uh, have you, I mean, it sounds from back to your background and kind of things that you mentioned that your mother talks about you, that, uh, you've always had this entrepreneurial mindset in your background.

[00:05:45] Um, so what was that thing that made you kind of jump into entrepreneurship as, as a full-time thing, rather than kind of, you know, joining a startup or join other opportunities to kind of satisfy that? Um, what made you trying to take that, that leap?

[00:06:03] Rish Sharma: I have a very, um, weird personality. I don't even know if you want to call it personality or character trait, but I, I like to do my own thing because I, I just can not depend on other people.

[00:06:17] And that might sound really bad coming out of it, but it's like, I like to take things into my own hands and I, if I can control it, I like to control it, which is why I would make a fairy horrible employee. Um, unless, unless if I'm an employee you're giving full permission to do things on my own. As long as I meet the objective, then I can perfectly do that.

[00:06:36] But I just know that I want to work for myself because I frankly have a lot of these crazy ideas that I want to execute. Some people may not agree with it. Tactics that I like to deploy. They're not traditional. Um, but have somehow all worked out in the past. So that's really what drove me to become an entrepreneur, but really the tipping point of me being a, doing this on a site versus doing it full time was.

[00:07:00] Really the, when I was sitting in class in college, I was taking first year computer science classes and I was having a Shopify store on the side. One of my biggest breakthrough is this product called the mean Bible, which is essentially a, uh, a coloring book. That I released at the end of each year that gathers all the most popular trends and means of the year and putting it into pastime activity.

[00:07:24] So hang Haman, work, wear search, et cetera. And that product I launched with less than a few hundred dollars. And on the first day of launch or that $4,000, second day of launch of the 600, 6,000. 8,000 the next day. And eventually I did a hundred thousand dollars in a week and I was just sitting in class thinking about, wait, why am I taking classes?

[00:07:45] If I can make this much money selling stuff online, but you see, I only dropped out. Once I saw that there was very viable sustainability in pursuing e-commerce. A lot of people make the mistake of seeing that other people are having success with e-commerce and then dropping out and spending the next eight months, figuring out how to do it.

[00:08:05] I tried to mitigate my risk as much as I can. So focusing on school and work full time, and then only really leaving and going to e-commerce full-time once I see that there were numbers to back it up.

[00:08:17] Jason Wong: Yeah. I think that's a very prudent thing. I think right now on social media, you see a lot of fake gurus out there, kind of preaching, you know, Drop out or do, or, you know, you can make a hundred thousand dollars in a day or whatever.

[00:08:29] It's super simple. Right. So it's, it's, it's a really prudent message that you're saying to kind of secure yourself, understand the medium and then kind of proceed going forward. Um, so where do you see in the current climate of e-commerce and DTC brands, um, where. The industry is going. What are, what is the new consumer that's emerging after COVID, uh, going to be wanting, going to be attracted to what types of brands and storytelling are they looking to?

[00:08:56] Rish Sharma: Um, and in terms of product category, definitely a lot more emphasis on self care when people are more us spending more time at home, they want to take care of themselves. So you've seen here products, skin care, popping up in trend, doubling in revenue. Um, I cosmetics, which is the industry that we're in.

[00:09:12] Also seeing an uptrend because of mass wearing when you're wearing a mask, only thing is. You sure. I, so definitely cosmetics and beauties are doing phenomenal. And then another trend that we're seeing is definitely home goods. When people are spending more time working from home, they want to decorate their homes, or you're seeing paintings come the core products.

[00:09:30] And even furniture's is now selling out. There's wait lists for months for furniture, but that's just some of the trends that we're seeing now in terms of what consumers are seeing. Um, I, I like to speak more on the GMC audience just because that's more of my specialty Genesee audiences definitely wants the more offense like brands.

[00:09:46] You know, they all the legacy brands that you're seeing out there that have been dominating the household names for many, many years are no longer appealing to like gen C audience gen C are now going after DDC skincare brands, household brands, um, drinks, beverages, food. Because they want that experience that these CDC companies can give to them.

[00:10:07] So in a way Jensi audiences are looking for Brent intensity, but they also want to see innovation that household brands frankly cannot perform. Um, and in addition to that, they really want it. View related to the brands that they're purchasing from. They want to see if the brands values are aligned with their own values.

[00:10:25] They want to see if the brands aesthetics are aligned with their own aesthetics. Um, just many, many of these touch points that I feel like are becoming more and more emphasis for Genesee purchasers

[00:10:36] Jason Wong: and somebody that might be older or not understand kind of the gen Z aesthetic or experience with. There would be looking for, if you could just detail a little bit further kind of what that type of experience, what's that type of authenticity that they're looking for in a tangible way that maybe somebody that doesn't understand could really grasp for sure.

[00:10:54] Rish Sharma: So there's multiple touch points between a brand and the consumer, right? Their first touch point is probably the ad that brings them to the website. Then you get the website, then you get the email, the SMS, and then the final product. And within a product, they look for unboxing experience. People don't want to just get something in a Brown box that has taped shut.

[00:11:14] And then the products toss in there. Now they, as you're going to see a lot more brands innovating in the unboxing experience because gen C people want that. Why? Because more and more of these social media platforms are incentivizing people to create content and by creating an amazing unboxing experience you as a brand, get the free publicity.

[00:11:33] But the consumers are also getting that content that you can create with your unboxing experience. So in a way, we need to create more content and touch points as a brand to give consumers that show, show incentive, to create content for you. So it's a very interesting and mutually beneficial relationship.

[00:11:52] If a brand is able to do it correctly, but for the older audience that are trying to appeal to a Genesee audience, really. The quickest way that I say is a cheat sheet to do it is to hire Jensi on your team. Many, many brands I've seen in the past have done somewhat poor job at appealing to a GMC audience because they're hiring 30, 40, a year old executives to try to create marketing campaigns, to appeal to the younger audience.

[00:12:18] Now, if. If you have that team appealing to the traditional audience that you're targeting, that's totally fine. But you cannot use someone who doesn't understand the, the generation, someone that doesn't understand the community to create copy and assets, to try to appeal to them, because it would just look so, so stale and a pretty, really prime example and something that I personally.

[00:12:39] Uh, observed is for tech talk. We try to create our own tech talk account and our own TechTalk presence with our own social media manager, who wasn't in the Tik TOK community and our content just wasn't performing to expectation. What we did was that we went into the Tik TOK community. We hire a creator, who's native to take the talk, to become a tech talk manager, and we've seen tremendous growth in that platform.

[00:13:03] So the same principle really applies to anyone trying to appeal to a specific market is that you really need to have the type of people that you're trying to target on your team to drive towards those initials.

[00:13:15] Jason Wong: I think there's a lot of gyms in what you said, and, you know, if. Yeah, I'm just curious to see, is there any other channels, um, that you've seen success other than tick-tock catering towards gen Z?

[00:13:28] Is it Instagram? Is it Twitter? Is it? Where, where do you, where are you seeing other, other growth channels for that gen Z audience

[00:13:36] Rish Sharma: I'm doubling down on tick tock. I'm not going to a second knock and I'm doubling down on a Ted talk. It's it's frankly, one of the best platform for any brands right now that discovery of brands on that platform is a match because of the algorithm.

[00:13:50] If you go on Instagram and we have zero followers, you're going to reach zero people unless you've put some hashtags when you put those. Yeah. Tip-top, we're seeing creators and even our own brands have having hundreds of followers have been there, able to reach millions of people with the right content, just if it hits.

[00:14:05] And I say that. Being a formal influencer, my stuff with over 32 million followers. I know this firsthand. And I know that this platform has a masters, literally no other platform on the market today that can reach to the discovery potentials of tick-tock there's none.

[00:14:23] Jason Wong: I think that's, that's great. And I think so you're taking the tactic of going deep with Tik TOK rather than being omni-channel on several their platforms.

[00:14:32] Yeah. And, uh, If you could just describe, you know, you said, mentioned that, you know, after three years, ideally, you'd like to kind of get your BA, get the business acquired and move on to another. No, their product and other business to acquire whatever it may be. Um, what do you look for in, in a business that you would look to start or acquire?

[00:14:56] Uh, I know you mentioned the why, but is there, there particular verticals, would you try to double down more and like, and skincare, haircare, that type of stuff, or would you be moving into a whole different category? What, what's your thought.

[00:15:09] Rish Sharma: For me personally, I think after DOE I literally really like to explore more on the B2B side.

[00:15:14] Um, having been in the business for so long, I know that B to C brand is a grind. It's, there's no easy way around it. There's just so much moving pieces. So with all the information and knowledge that earned over the past few years, I would really like to explore more on serving other business, other founders and creating solutions to help us celebrate their growth.

[00:15:33] And I think I'm in a position to do that and service this market just because I've been in both sides, I've been the business that need to help with these tech solutions. And I've also been on the business side where I'm able to, um, create solutions for them in a smaller scale. So understanding both of these components and knowing that I can create the bridge between that.

[00:15:54] Um, it's honestly very motivating for me to pursue that vertical. So to answer you, I think my next acquisitions will probably be, um, SAS products, SAS solutions, and maybe even retail solutions for DTC. Okay.

[00:16:10] Jason Wong: And what are some of the challenges that you've faced thus far in? I know you mentioned Tik TOK, wasn't taking off initially, but is there any other big challenges that, uh, Uh, before you were launching or as you were launching Dole lashes, for example, that, um, that you faced along the way until you hit the success that you have today.

[00:16:31] Yeah.

[00:16:31] Rish Sharma: There, there's a lot of problems that are, frankly, not too sexy, you know, people that don't post about it on show show. So, you know, the biggest problem is building the team, the right team. Putting the right people in the right places and ensuring that the systems are, are efficient in place to, uh, facilitate communication between the teams, um, finances, no one ever talks about finances.

[00:16:54] You talk to any bruise and anyone posting a show and no one ever talks about, you know, what's your Castro version cycle, what's your cash flow. What's your, you know, PNL, you know, how do we manage all that during growth phases? Can you find financing solutions? Can you even make it to the next month with all that?

[00:17:10] Overhead costs, but you have no one ever talks about that stuff. The biggest issue that we're facing is obviously like finance, um, teams, legal, you know, making sure that we are legally compliant for the products that we are launching. These are the problems that no one ever talks about it. You know, everyone talks about, Oh, I can have a 1.5 X for last on Facebook.

[00:17:30] Um, my ads aren't doing too well, everyone talks about all that stuff, but no one ever pays attention to the numbers, the teams, the things that are really frankly, what makes the company and the common things that every founder would go through and we're going through it as well. Okay.

[00:17:46] Jason Wong: And, um, is there any process or methodology that, that you go through when you're addressing a problem that's in your business or is it a kind of, you just assess each opportunity for what it is?

[00:17:57] Rish Sharma: I go through the first principal process where, um, I look at where the facts of the matter, you know, listing out every single facts of the event who was involved, what needs to be done to achieve these results and really plan it out as much as I can in a logical flow. So I like to look at things from a holistic perspective and then tackling everything in like small components.

[00:18:21] That's how I like to process problems and create solutions in my head. Everyone approaches it differently. But for me, I like to understand what, what is within my power and what is not.

[00:18:33] Jason Wong: That's a quite prudent. So I'm just gonna move to the final questions. Um, is there any particular routine or a personal routine morning routine, a routine that you do when you get into the, or you start working?

[00:18:46] Um, is there any. Positive impacting routines or habits that you have in your life

[00:18:51] Rish Sharma: planning, um, really planning out your day, your week, your quarter, your year, um, is extremely important. People don't realize how little time we actually have, you know, When we look at a year, there's 365 days, 24 hours in a day, but you're only really working for a fraction of that time.

[00:19:14] If you don't plan a quarter, you're going to spend time on things that are not efficient, and you're going to do things a lot slower than everyone else. And one of the. Biggest thing that allows us to grow so fast is that we're very, very strict on our deliverables, our plan of action, and making sure that we're always staying within a timeline and all of that breaks down to planning out our days.

[00:19:35] Like I have a to-do list of when you do today, but when you do next week, when you do for this month, Everyone on the team has to have, we checked, we do status checks with everyone on the team to make sure that we're aligned. Everyone makes sure that they have what they need from everyone else to pursue a marketing campaign.

[00:19:50] And it all comes down to planning and it sounds easy, right. But you'd be surprised at how little people plan and how much that really ends up hurting them. Yeah. I

[00:20:01] Jason Wong: mean, uh, in my past experience, it's all about building on contingencies, right? So there's always somebody contingent on another person and you have to make sure that everybody's aligned and adjust to the market.

[00:20:11] So, uh, definitely understand the planning is highly important. Um, so just move on to the next question. Um, You know, what do you, we like to on the podcast kind of talk to various founders or experts out there, um, and kind of take the other side. So what are they doing on a regular basis to kind of take care of themselves that personal care, that self care on a regular basis?

[00:20:36] Um, because that's just as important if you're going to have the stamina to last a long time,

[00:20:42] Rish Sharma: um, gym eating healthy and, um, Planning out your day and I'll elaborate on all three fitness for me personally is the escape from the office is one of the only times in the day where I actually leave the office, which is now within my home.

[00:21:00] Um, and fitness for me is very much just like running a business with your specific goals that we want to hit. And there are specific processes that we need to, um, do in order to reach those goals, whether it is three sets of bicep curls, or, you know, three sets of bench, press. Having that fitness and having that goal and roadmap allows me to have a fairly clear head at the end of the day, but also really teaches me to be disciplined.

[00:21:25] Number two is meals. Um, a lot of founders you'll see like a common name is that we just drink spoiling and skip meals and whatnot, or eat junk food. And I, I think it's very important to have your nutritions for the day. I take supplements. I drink tea in the morning, um, to give me energy. And taking the right supplements and the vitamins for me to, you know, be energized throughout the day.

[00:21:48] And that's really, really important. Mental, mental health, mental clarity is also really important. Number three is planning out my day and it's not going to be duplicate or previous point, but like when you go about your day without planning for it, you have the extra energy that you need to use to think about what you need to do.

[00:22:09] That's extra energy that you that's so much stress that you probably shouldn't put on your self. But if I have a list of things I need to do for today, I know exactly what I need to do at what time that removes the mental energy that is needed to think about what I need to do next or planning out the day.

[00:22:25] It really helps me get into a good mood, getting to a good routine. And that's really what makes me productive.

[00:22:30] Jason Wong: Thank you for sharing that. And, um, so I'll just, uh, two last questions. So the next question is if you were to go to dinner, um, obviously when locked down is not in place, um, but if you could go dinner with.

[00:22:45] Three people dead or alive. Who would you love to kind of go to dinner with and have a conversation?

[00:22:52] Rish Sharma: Um, I would really like to meet. Anthony Dean, um, the TV show for food, which is completely out of my industry, but I, um, one of my dream job was actually become a travel host. Um, if I wasn't doing e-commerce and I just had a bunch of trust fund money, I would love to do that.

[00:23:12] Um, but, and then a second one would probably be Jack mod. I look up to him a lot as an entrepreneur. He's a founder of Alibaba, um, largest e-commerce platform on there. And really, I. I want to talk to him, not for what he's built today, but how he came to be on to building Alibaba first and why you might not.

[00:23:33] No this fact, but like he felt 23 times applying to jobs before he started Alibaba. And I think as founders is really important to take a look at the failures and understanding what the learnings are from there, then to look at the success because it's probably really hard to replicate the success without understanding failures that took them there.

[00:23:53] Um, and then number three, um, this is a hard one because there's a lot people I want to grab dinner with. Um, Number three would probably not be an entrepreneur. I do want to grab dinner with my dad. He's still alive. Um, but I don't get to see them often. And I just want to like chat with him and give him an understanding of like life.

[00:24:16] And in business, there's a lot of intersection between, um, understanding how life works, how people work. And I feel like my dad is one of the people that really understands that. So I'd love to get dinner with him more often, but he's in Hong Kong. So I see him like every few years. So yeah, that's probably the third person I'd like to get their notes.

[00:24:32] Jason Wong: Nice. Nice. And then finally, um, if listeners want to connect or follow your journey or long hostage journey, um, where can they reach out to

[00:24:41] Rish Sharma: connect, um, where, where they can retrain? Yep. Um, find me on Instagram at pug. Um, or if you want to ask me questions, you can always email me Jason at dot com. Um, I always answered to my emails unless you're selling me something on the first email, then that probably gets annoyed.

[00:25:04] Jason Wong: All right. Uh, thank you so much for being on the podcast. It was a real pleasure and I think the audience got a ton of value.

[00:25:10] Rish Sharma: Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me.


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