Shoes. Ever thought one can make a career out of it? Of course you can, from brands such as Jimmy Choo to Louis Vuitton, there are a handful of global brands that started off as personal brands.
In Malaysia, a personal brand is slowly becoming a recognizable name in the shoe industry. Shoe enthusiasts in Malaysia would have heard about Christy Ng, a successful businesswoman turned from a successful shoe designer in Malaysia. Her online shoe store ChristyNg.com with its slogan “Welcome to Shoe heaven” has been growing very well and selling globally since she started it in July 2010.
“Growing well” would be an understatement, since its inception, the Christy Ng brand continues to experience double digit growth in terms of sales and the team foresee sales volumes to grow exponentially with the launch of their new 3D Shoe design platform late 2014. Christy Ng currently features thousands of uniquely designed shoes which constantly wins the heart of its customers.
A typical Christy Ng customer can range from an 18 year old college student looking for comfy ballerina flats to a 50 year old lady shopping for fancy dinner shoes for her daughter’s wedding.
Christy Ng is a 6 person team right now on the front end and they have over 30 personnels working full time on their manufacturing arm. They currently ship worldwide to mainly countries like America, Australia, Singapore, Canada and Europe from their workstation here in Malaysia.
The humble beginnings
Christy has always wanted to build her own shoe brand since young, Her first exposure on entrepreneurship was when she sold straw flowers by the train station when she was 9 years old. An entrepreneur at heart, she often colored her friend’s homework in school for RM0.20 a page to make some pocket money for herself to buy Sailor moon cards.
In attempt to fund her varsity education, Christy sold shoes and slippers which she procured from Hat Yai in Flee Markets and worked as a waitress part time in local F&B outlets. Upon graduation, she joined a Swiss Pharmaceutical company in 2010.
“Because carrying shoes from my house to the flee market was so much work and causing tremendous backaches, I thought that selling shoes online was a much smarter way to go. I’ve always loved shoes as a child and designing my own line of shoes was always a childhood dream,” Christy told Vulcan Post.
She then uploaded eight of her shoe designs on Facebook in mid July 2010 with little expectation, never knowing that anyone would actually buy them. Before she knew it, her phone was ringing off the hook and orders were pouring in.
To date, the Christy Ng Facebook page has grown to over 221,000 fans.
So what differentiates Christy Ng from other shoe brands out there? What really sets ChristyNg.com apart from the rest of the competition is that the team develop, design, and manufacture their own products here in Malaysia. They strive to innovate and make their shoes not only more fashionable but more comfortable with constant and ongoing research and development.
“I have always been a blue ocean entrepreneur at heart and it is our goal to provide quality services , services which are not readily available in the open marketplace.” – Christy Ng
On the technology front, Christy Ng has a dedicated team working on their up and coming 3D Shoe Design Engine, due to launch this year. With the 3D Shoe Design Engine, women from all over the world can design their dream shoe, in line with its vision to change the way woman shop for shoes, all around the world.
Of course, starting a shoe business is not easy. Christy agrees that shoe business involves high inventory risks as there are many stock keeping units and inventory variables. If you are looking to make fast and easy money, this is definitely not the right business for you, says Christy. To her, the most challenging part would be building and growing their brand locally and internationally.
And it has seen quite some local and international success so far. Recently, Christy Ng won the inaugural Malaysia Alliance Bank BizSmart Award, walking away with a prize of RM250,000.
Other than local recognition, the brand is also well known internationally. There was once where Christy Ng had a customer from North Carolina who had this special request for designing 9 pairs of shoes: 1 for herself and 8 for her bridesmaids.
“Her bridesmaids were all of different ages, heights and stature so we had the shoes made in different heel heights so that all of them will look of similar height in all her wedding photographs!” Christy recalls.
Would Christy be the next Jimmy Choo, a Malaysian pride? We definitely think so.