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Building a Successful eCommerce Brand with Jason Wong, Managing Partner of Wonghaus Ventures

Jason Wong

Jason Wong is the Managing Partner at Wonghaus Ventures, a fast-growing venture studio passionate about identifying trends and building brands around them. The Wonghaus Ventures portfolio includes brands like Doe Lashes, Wonghaus Media, Shomi Noods Ramen Restaurant, and more.

Before starting Wonghaus Ventures, Jason was the Co-founder of Fifthtee and the Head of Marketing for the social app, Vent. He is also an ecommerce consultant for major influencers and brands and has executed campaigns for clients including Adidas and Aldi. Outside of the office, Jason volunteers for the Canadian Cancer Society, The Peer Project, St. Baldrick’s Foundation, and other organizations.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Jason Wong shares how he got his start in the online world when he was only 14
  • The lessons Jason learned from his early ventures in the ecommerce industry
  • Jason talks about his experience with dropshipping and why he transitioned to building brands
  • Strategies for building a brand: focus on customer experience, create a quality product, and more
  • How Jason grew Doe Lashes using social media and SMS marketing
  • The importance of closing the loop with customer feedback
  • How to find trustworthy mentors and advisors as an entrepreneur
  • Jason’s advice to aspiring ecommerce entrepreneurs — and what he would tell his younger self
  • What’s next for Doe Lashes?
  • Jason reveals his number one tip for listeners: look into your finances
  • Jason announces his upcoming ecommerce masterclass

In this episode…

Are you just starting out in ecommerce, but don’t know the next steps to take? Are wondering how to successfully build, market, and grow a brand? As a 23-year-old entrepreneur taking the ecommerce world by storm, Jason Wong has the strategies and tactics you need to get your business off the ground.

Jason Wong first dipped his toes into ecommerce entrepreneurship when he was just 14. Now, he owns over nine successful brands under his parent studio, Wonghaus Ventures. Jason’s fast growth and success can be accredited to his knowledge about building a brand, marketing his products, and creating a great customer experience — and he’s here to share his secrets with you.

On this episode of the eCommerce Profits Podcast, Joshua Chin chats with Jason Wong, an ecommerce expert and the Managing Partner of Wonghaus Ventures. Together, they discuss the pros and cons of dropshipping, the importance of providing a great customer experience, and the most successful ways to build an ecommerce brand. Stay tuned!

Resources Mentioned in this episode

Special Mentions:

Sponsor for this episode

This episode is brought to you by Chronos Agency.

If you are a direct-to-consumer ecommerce brand that wants to unlock the optimum customer lifetime value through email marketing, then look no further than Chronos Agency!

Our team of passionate email marketing experts have helped hundreds of brands generate over $70 million in return from email alone, and our clients receive an average of 3500% ROI from our efforts.

Chronos Agency has worked with a variety of brands, including Truly Beauty, Alya Skin, and many more. Our mission is to help real businesses achieve real results. 

If you want to take your revenue to the next level using email marketing, be sure to email our team at sales@chronos.agency or visit chronos.agency to learn more.

Episode Transcript

Intro 0:04

Welcome to the eCommerce Profits Podcast where we feature top founders and experts in the ecommerce industry and take an in depth look at the struggles and successes in growing ecommerce brands profitably.

Joshua Chin 0:21

Josh Chin here I’m the host of the eCommerce Profits Podcast where we feature top experts in the ecommerce industry. And we go behind the scenes of the struggles and successes in growing a brand. Now this episode is brought to you by Chronos Agency. If you run a direct to consumer ecom brand that is ready to scale and double your customer lifetime value through retention marketing, Chronos is your company. We have helped hundreds of brands scale profits through email, SMS, and mobile push while getting an average of 3500% ROI from our efforts. We’ve worked with brands like Truly Beauty, Alive Skin, and Dr. Livingood and many more. Now the next step is to email us at sales@chronos.agency or you can go to chronos.agency to learn more. Today’s guest is Jason Wong. He’s the founder of Doe Lashes, a wildly successful one-year-old brand and Wonghaus Ventures, where Jason consults and helps other brands scale with services in sourcing, manufacturing, fulfillment and marketing. Now he’s also a consultant advisor to brands like Aldi and Adidas and many more. Jason, welcome to the show.

Jason Wong 1:28

Thanks for having me, Josh. It’s been a while.

Joshua Chin 1:31

It’s been a while. We worked on a brand of yours in the past two years ago.

Jason Wong 1:37

About two years ago. Yeah.

Joshua Chin 1:39

And it’s incredible to see you blow up in such a short amount of time. And I want to move back a little bit to your background from was it selling t shirts at 14 years old?

Jason Wong 1:51

Yeah. Yeah.

Joshua Chin 1:54

To an interesting venture you had 20 years old. Tell us more about that.

Jason Wong 2:00

Yeah, taking you back a little bit. I actually started off as a social media influencer before, it was really an influencer. It was on a platform called Tumblr. This is back in the day where if Tumblr was the place where people get content, it was like a Instagram, Pinterest merge together, had about 32 million followers there. And it was a huge audience that really show me that you can make money online. That was the first thing I was like, okay, you can sell money or you get paid by impressing you by clicks, you can get paid by sponsorships, it was such a fascinating thing for me as a 14-year-old. And so the first step, I was like, I’m gonna sell t shirts, it’s the lowest hanging fruit for anything, you get your design to print on a T shirt and can sell it. And then that slowly evolved into affiliate marketing, just jump straight into affiliate marketing. And it was really funny because I didn’t really understand those affiliate marketing at the time, were really the potentials where I just knew that there are these platforms that had offers. And if I just get them signed up or converted, I get paid per conversion. And with so many followers, it was so easy to do this with no cost. So I’m just banking 50, 60k a month as a 14-year-old. It was ridiculous. I had to use my mom’s bank account to receive the money. They’re paying on PayPal, I got that wired and so that’s really what really got me into making money online and slowly evolved into something more substantial and more established into ecommerce as we know it.

Joshua Chin 3:37

That’s incredible. And into ecom. The first interesting I caught this off your Instagram story, but at the age of 20 years old you were selling was it custom condoms. Specialized condoms. Tell me about that story.

Jason Wong 3:53

Oh, man, you found that. Wow, you do your research. So that product really came when I saw a funny meme actually on Instagram or Twitter one of those, it was this picture of a ramen noodle seasoning the corner of it being ripped off. And it was found in a guy’s wallet. So he was like my girlfriend was cheating because I had this in my wallet but it’s really just ramen noodle seasoning. And I was like, wait, that that’s actually they actually look really similar, condom wrappers and ramen noodle seasoning. So it gave me the ideas like what if I create a product of condoms that looks like ramen noodle seasoning, it says “shrimp flavor” in front because it’s so funny that it will look like it literally looks like ramen noodle, like a pack of ramen noodles. It was hilarious. And I launched it at 20 years old.

Joshua Chin 4:51

Incredible and what kind of what have you learned from doing all of that? I mean, it’s an incredibly unusual path for any 14-year-old, any 20-year-old, or anyone, it of any age to go through a journey like that from building such an incredible following and Tumblr to selling t shirts making 50, 60 grand a month to building a brand around condoms? What? What were the biggest struggles in that process?

Jason Wong 5:21

It’s it’s trying to understand everything about a product and trying to predict the consequences of your actions, you know, I’ll elaborate on that. When I was making the ramen noodle condoms, I didn’t really think about to the extent of what regulations have to follow, the compliances. I was just like, I can go and source products because I was good at sourcing. I am good at product design. I’m just gonna make it and not worry about it. And so I make all that stuff. I get it to the port and I stop at the port, they’re like, do you have your FDA documents? No, but let me just go apply for it. It’s easy, right? Well, not as easy because condoms turns out to be a type two medical device in the United States, meaning that it’s on a same level as a glove that you wear at the hospital because the protective equipment, meaning that if I were to get this product certified by the FDA would have cost me close to a quarter-million dollars just to get a certification saying I could sell this. And so I went through all the trouble of making a product and ended up not being able to import it. And so like we were able to sell it for a little while, just because we had a small inventory of it. But you couldn’t do them in containers, it’s just you wouldn’t pass it at all. And so that really was a price lesson for me in how you have to really plan ahead and trying to predict the somewhat like the things that you don’t really think that far about. Because when you make a project and think about the compliance in the regulations that you have to have these products. So that’s really what really drove me to get deeper into sourcing and logistics of trying to understand the entire process of people don’t want to some issue today. But even before the condoms I was making, I have a coloring book I had a cookbook I had candles, I have a bath bomb. So I had like a bunch of products already. This wasn’t just my first product, it was just really the first product that I ran into that had compliance issues.

Joshua Chin 7:19

That’s incredible. And through that experience, you transitioned into drop shipping for a little bit. And then now back to building a brand and grow brand called Doe Lashes. Now, what was your experience in that process?

Jason Wong 7:36

Dropshipping was eye-opening for me. I did drop shipping in order to get to understand what the hype is about. This is a this is like 2019, 2018-2019. And it was so hot. And coming from a branding background like by 2018. I had, I had six seven brands already that are branded fulfilling in the US. So I’m like, you know what, let me just try to see like how to do dropship I just want to learn and see like, what are people doing? It was insane. Like the amount of infrastructure that you need to build a dropshipping brand was significantly different than doing a branded store. And what I learned was that it really comes down to a few things to making a successful dropshipping store. Number one is a product. And that’s the biggest thing like the right product, you can have the crappiest product page and have the crappiest ad. But if you have a product that is so amazing to the consumer like something that changes the way that they see things, it will scale and will sell so so much. And I was like do I have to work so hard in order to hit those numbers I’m hitting with drop shipping, like my first one dropshipping with it 1.2 million. You know how long that takes you to do about doing brand stuff. Because for brand stuff, you have to worry about the overall site experience, you have to worry about copy of the hired designers to make sure that your brand is cohesive, you have to worry about logistics of shipping this up through containers, you have to make sure that your operations director customer support right. Dropshipping, I literally posted I was selling a bathroom shelf at the time a corner shelf that you can stick to your bathroom that like 15 pounds and everyone’s like, wow, you could do that? 1.2 mil the first month. And I’m like dude, are you kidding me. But there was a lot of logistical issues of running a dropshipping store that I learned that was definitely eye-opening as well. People have different sets of expectations. But there are also timelines that you have to work with that you don’t see in the brand so for dropshipping obviously the model is that you sell something and you buy it off Alibaba for your Asian because I’ve never done that in the past, everything I have was always in the US. I now have to worry about a 20 to 30 day delivery time, I have to worry about sending the messages to the customers to make sure that we set expectations to tell them that, hey, something’s gonna be a little bit late, we got to ramp up customer support. At one point, we have 16, VAs for customer support. We were we’re worrying about chargebacks, we had payment processing issues, we had products coming in defective and the end I’m like, dude, it’s so stressful to run this thing. So that’s really what led me to start like what I’m working on right now. So the dropshipping firm then running called drop classes, because I had all that issues with my own dropshipping store. In the end, we did, we did about $3.6 million in two months in the end, and we’re actually using Chronos for our email. So you guys did build a significant amount of our revenue. But it was at the end, it was just so unsustainable. I was like, What can I learn from this? Like, what can I change about this thing, so I can really change it for everyone now. So it really comes down to two things. Number one is quality of the product. And number two was to speed of the delivery. I think that I think that drop shipping as a business model is incredible. If you tell any business owner anyone to DTC space that you can sell your you can operate your business without putting 30% of your revenue into inventory at all times. Brilliant. Like if you look at those balance sheets, and our income statement, you’re gonna notice a huge chunk of our money and our cash flow was tied to inventory. So the dropshipping business model is actually really good. But the issue is people are using very, very slow, it will be processing people working people that do not care about the quality. So I want to change all that. And that’s why I’m more in the b2b side of stuff now, because I know what to fix.

Joshua Chin 11:42

Makes sense. So basically, what’s happened is you crushed it in, in drop shipping, and you realize that there were very, very major roadblocks to succeeding in this business model specific, specifically quality of product and speed of delivery. And now you’re solving that with drop house for other people. I think that’s huge. What about the transition into building a brand? What could you tell people who are used to the lifestyle and the whole mindset of building a dropshipping business? And how do you make that switch to building a brand? What are the pitfalls that you typically see?

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