A lot of the times I find out about entrepreneur societies, I get very skeptical. A lot of people like to self-claim that they’re successful but ironically enough, they have never revealed their numbers so no one really knows. It’s all about how much you can convince people that you’re legit. And quite frankly, I don’t like people who say straight out “Let me teach you the steps to be successful” when they haven’t told you what their credentials are other than being the founder of xyz company, and that he’s 20 years old. Umm…. So when we got the email from Endeavor 3 years ago, we were like oh great another entrepreneur network to boost up your ego and make you feel good about yourself.
When they revealed who their board members were and how they had an Endeavor in so many countries around the world… Dean and I were blown away. These aren’t people making millions… they spell million with a B. These are billionaires who have built huge companies and have a passion for mentoring medium-sized businesses who want to scale. And for most of them, you have never ever heard of them. They stay under the radar, they stay friends with each other and share experience/advice, they are humble, they wear t-shirts and sneakers and they never felt the need to shout out about themselves. To Dean, these were his ultimate heroes. He is sooooo like this and even if one day we really make it in life, I’m so sure Dean will still be wearing his backpack. Me? Well… I’m sorry but I’ll be living it up in Monte Carlo with my ship called Made It, so you can find me there.
I’M JUST KIDDING. OR AM I.
Anyway, I’ve blogged before about Endeavor before. You can’t really apply for Endeavor. They find you somehow like some secret CIA people, and then they coach you and groom you and mentor you if they see potential in you and your business. They make you meet mentors in relevant industries and these mentors have no personal interest or biasness, so they really just tell you the harsh harsh truth. Dean and I have been to over 30 mentoring sessions with various people (including DS Nazir Razak of CIMB, Afzal of TIME.com, Alexandra founder of Gilt Group, DVF herself in New York, Mark Chang who founded and sold Jobstreet, founder of Melissa Shoes in New York, and so many other CEOs) and these were all requirements in the process towards the interview. There are several reviews and interviews and let me tell you honestly, it is mentally exhausting. But so so so extremely rewarding. They asked us so many questions about our business and judged us on it from Why are you doing this? to How much do you spend on customer acquisition? to What is your brand value? to What is your exit strategy, if any? to What motivates you? to Do you think that is the best way to spend your money? to What keeps you awake at night? to Do you know your customer? to How do you analyse your data? And there’s no way you can waffle your way or give vague answers because they really dive deep into your numbers and spot any red flags.
Questions that really make you think. And then from their experience also, they will give you tips or advice that you can apply, and connect you to their contacts. They’re not impressed if you’re from a rich family or you have great style or whatever, they just really strip you down to find what’s in your brain and your heart. It’s just mindblowingly AMAZING for any entrepreneur. So you can imagine why Dean and I worked so hard to get through this process because it really changed us. We got rejected the first round and we took it hard. But us being determined kids, we really wanted to prove ourselves and we turned the business around and in 2 years alone, we grew our revenue FIVE times. And it’s all because people asked us the right questions that stimulated our brains. And then we quickly pivoted the business, dropped what didn’t work and improved what did.
We had our final stage of interview yesterday and if you follow me on Instagram, you’d have seen that process. We were put in rooms and we had to go through 3 one-hour interviews with 6 different judges (who all probably had the MADE IT ships I want…). Dean and I have been through something like this before, remember MYEG Make The Pitch show that was shown on TV? Put ourselves in front of national TV for them to see haha. But this one was on another level. There were observers in the meeting rooms, from entrepreneurs to bankers and all to judge potential entrepreneurs and businesses. It was mentally nerve-wrecking. Dean and I answered questions as honest as possible but I remember fumbling a bit when I was asked straight up, “Vivy, are you a role model? And what values do you represent?”
I mumbled some things that I don’t even want to remember anymore but boyyyyy did it really make me think that night.
Anyway, this was just a process I really want to remember because it’s invaluable. And I want to share my happiness because….
WE GOT IN!!!!!!
The results were told to us a day after, because the judges had an intense closed-door deliberation on each Endeavor candidate (Dean and I hardly slept last night, and I have so many pimples on my face now haha). But we got a unanimous vote of 6-0 and it feels so good to be validated. I don’t think it has sunk in yet because the Endeavor process post-selected hasn’t begun yet. More mentorship, more tours into the office and operations of successful businesses around the world, more courses (some even at Harvard!! #dreammmmm), just a lot of good things really.
I’m so proud also because Dean and I are the first Malays to survive the process and finally be accepted into the Endeavor network. There are 11 Endeavor companies in Malaysia in various industries (most are Chinese and they are seriously soooo inspiring) but I hope to see more Malays and other races too joining the troop after this!
You know guys, I genuinely love what I do because it doesn’t just impact me, but it impacts a whole lot of local designers under FV. We’ve had really difficult designers, but then there are some really amazing ones who used to make 4-figure sales monthly and now are making almost 6-figure monthly on FV with their brands. Everytime I feel down, I try to think of good stories of FV like those, and I feel motivated again. I just feel that FV is bigger than just my team and I, we can almost turn around the lives of other fashion entrepreneurs who are willing to listen to us. The more we grow, the more local designers grow too. It’s bigger than us, bigger than me, and that’s why I feel so passionate about FV.
Alhamdulillah for an awesome journey thus far and I hope this is the beginning of something great for FashionValet.
This whole process was filmed so you’ll watch it soon on Love, Vivy Season 2.