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Entrepreneurship is inherently lonely for many people. However, that was not the case for Yap Sue Yii. She founded and discovered her brainchild, Royale Demure (formerly known as Hijab Royale) at the beginning of 2015 when she observed an issue during a shopping moment with her best friend of 15 years, Aiza.
Aiza realised that sourcing for the right modest clothing can be a hassle especially at large clothing-retail companies that are not catered to the modest community. Even though Aiza herself, is a designer, creating her own fashion piece could be challenging as capital, inventories and marketing needed to be taken into account. To solve those problems, Sue Yii came up with Royale Demure.
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What is Royale Demure?
Royale Demure is a crowdfunding platform that provides aspiring designers the opportunity to realise their artwork through the support of modest fashion communities. Think Kickstarter, but for modest fashion clothing. A design campaign submitted by a designer has to have a minimum of 30 pledges for it to be successful. After the closing date of a successful campaign, the designs are then sent for manufacturing, and then delivered to the pledgers. Designers are then rewarded with cash royalties for each design piece sold. However, if a campaign fails, meaning that it garnered less than 30 pledges, the pledgers will be refunded 100% of their pledge amount.
“Pledgers have nothing to lose if the campaign fails but something to gain if the campaign succeeds,” Sue Yii said.
Garments designed by aspiring fashion designers are made in limited pieces, making it exclusive just for Royale Demure pledgers. People who enjoys standing out and differentiating themselves from the crowd would be intrigued with the collection that Royale Demure features because each piece would be an original. With its authenticity and originality, pledgers are getting exclusive designers-labelled clothing at affordable prices.
Royale Demure’s Artists
Royale Demure have a few renowned artists on board such as Aiza herself and Zamrina, a YouTube influencer. Both Aiza and Zamrina are icons of modest fashion due to their huge following on social medias.
Royale Demure’s team comprises of 5 members currently, 3 founding members and 2 employees.
Hasan, a full-stack developer is the CTO of Royale Demure where as Amir Nashrin, younger brother of Aiza is the CFO. Sue Yii, the CEO handles the day-to-day operations of the business.
Inception of Royale Demure
Without the grant of Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd, a non-profit agency under the Ministry of Finance, Royale Demure would be difficult to realise. During the program, Royale Demure managed to successfully concept proof with a successful campaign that has been backed and pledged for by customers using only a beta website. The designs went through the complete process of manufacturing and delivery, whilst the designers received royalties for each piece sold.
“The business had to be viable and sustainable. Running Royale Demure is not only about managing the funds pledged, but also handling manufacturing and fulfilment of the products,” Sue Yii mentioned.
Knowing that it was crucial to have their resources in place, Royal Demure took part in an accelerator program held by MaGIC (Malaysia Global Innovation Centre) right after Cradle’s grant program, to accelerate the business and to build bridges in the local startup community scene.
With MaGIC’s support and intensive mentoring from experienced entrepreneurs, the company was able to revamp the whole website, rebrand, and even launch the platform successfully combined with marketing efforts to push for brand awareness. With its beta website in place, a fully functional website would be ready by the end of November 2016.
Goals and Lessons Learnt
Royale Demure is actively looking to raise a seed round of capital at the moment to further expand their business across the country and subsequently to other parts of the region.
“Follow your guts, and get out of your comfort zone,” Sue Yii recited with discipline.
Sue Yii mentioned that she loved the journey of her entrepreneurship because Royale Demure allows young aspiring designers to bring their designs to life. Despite the hardships during Royale Demure’s journey, Sue Yii and her team proved that persistence is the key to success.
“Translate something you love doing into a business and you’ll feel that you’ve brought purpose into the work you’re doing,” Sue Yii stated.
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