Retrograde, rebellious, funny, niche, even obscene—there’s something about the design on your clothes that tells the world a bit about who you are.
Fashion has always been about making a personal statement and the epitome of personalisation are the designs on your shirt, a realisation that came upon LOVIT founder Zi Kang. “The reason we created LOVIT.my is to cater to the strong demand of the young generation for personalised fashion. We believe that customisation is the next level of e-commerce, especially in fashion.”
Shirts To Showcase Personality
LOVIT is an online platform for people to customise and order clothes as well as a marketplace for designers to sell their designs risk-free. Founded by Kulai-born, Zi Kang and John Wong, LOVIT helps bridge the gap between customers and designers by playing the role of the middleman. While the design is what sells a shirt, there are a lot of other areas to consider such as material sourcing and printing, which takes up a fair amount of time and effort.
“I wanted to create a smarter way to help people sell their T-shirt designs,” Zi Kang said. He recalled when LOVIT was still in its infancy, trying to sell mass produced T-shirts was a struggle and it occurred to him that there had to be a better way. That was the moment he decided to put a different spin on the way clothes are designed and produced.
Design, Market And Sell In A Few Simple Steps
With LOVIT, designers need not concern themselves with anything else but creating awesome designs. “That’s the beauty of LOVIT,” Zi Kang explained. “We will take care of everything from the high quality production until delivery to the customer’s doorstep. All the while the designers remain to have full ownership of their designs and continue to earn profit from each sale of their design without any costs.”
As for the users who are looking for a personalised T-shirt, the ordering process is incredibly simple.
- Choose your favourite design from different themes.
- Choose the type of clothing (short and long sleeve T-shirts, hoodies, etc.).
- Choose the colour.
- Choose the size.
- Order and receive within 5 working days.
Voilà, a brand new shirt with the colour and design of your choice! Companies and large groups can also design and order shirts in large numbers for an affordable price. Designers can simply submit a design for consideration and earn RM5 for every T-shirt or hoodie sold bearing their design.
As an e-commerce platform that advocates customisable clothing, options and variety is key. If there are not enough designs that will appeal to a wide pool of potential customers, then the platform would be sure to fail to attract and maintain their customer base (both new and existing ones).
In LOVIT’s case, however, their growing list of designers prove that customers are spoilt for choice and it also validates that there are plenty of designers out there who are excited to share their work with the public.
Entrepreneurship IS Hard
Before LOVIT, Zi Kang had attempted 2 different startups which were as varied and as interesting as the designs on LOVIT shirts.
At 18 years old and holding dreams of becoming an engineer, he and a bunch of friends launched IDEAC—an advertising company. The startup did not take off but it taught him a valuable experience. “I realised that entrepreneurship is really where I belong. Building a successful company gives me more satisfaction!”
His second startup was a fruit juice store called CaperTree set in his campus at MMU which used a DIY method for students in his campus to make their own juice with fresh fruits. He used 4 days to hand-build the fruit juice booth from pieces of raw wood only for the juice machine to breakdown 2 hours after he started selling.
“That’s the first time I cried and realised the tough life of being an entrepreneur. I slept less than 4 hours to prepare fruits every day and my proposal to the campus of renting a shop failed time after time.”
The hardships and setbacks seem to serve as a catalyst for newer and better ideas. “A startup is simply defined as an unproven business model. No one be 100% sure of the exact market need,” Zi Kang expounded. Failure is merely an incentive to try and try again. It was when Zi Kang was struggling with CaperTree that he envisaged a new startup in the form of LOVIT.
Quality Over Quantity, Comfort Over Cost
To source for high quality materials for this new brainchild, Zi Kang and John Wong visited 9 local garment factories for a period of 3 months from Johor to Melaka before finally settling on one. Even then, new hurdles arose to meet them. “With another 4 months of effort, the first version of LOVIT was online and ended up burning out of money very quickly. The profit generation speed was too slow compared to the spending.”
But Zi Kang stuck it out, changing direction into the LOVIT that we know today which has grown and matured alongside its founder. The designs available are fantastic and unique, some with local flare that will definitely delight Malaysians. For now, the clothing available are limited to shirts and hoodies but Zi Kang promises more products are along the way, from casual to sportswear, bags and wallets.
“Our overall goal is to focus on becoming a fashion brand with a fun and high quality image. To achieve our vision we plan to move fast and grow like crazy so that we can expand into the Asia market within a year.”
Don’t Worry, Be Happy
The challenges and difficulties faced in a startup business is never ending, yet Zi Kang never lets them get in the way of his enthusiasm and passion.
“I believe happiness is the best energy for my team and company to keep moving forward. It’s very easy to lose sight of your happiness and that’s also why passion is so important, you need to love what you’re doing and you need to believe in it. Happiness comes from these small things, such as maintaining great relationships with your team, work in a comfortable culture, seeing the business grow, which keeps us going forward.”
I must say I agree. Just looking at the LOVIT website, you can feel the exuberance and hardwork the creative team has poured into their startup. It looks amazing and is really user-friendly. Every time I’ve checked in there seems to be something new—new features and new T-shirt designs. I, for one, am definitely looking forward to the expansion of LOVIT.