Yo-yo effect of my Wardrobe – My Personal experiences

Where do I start?

Growing up as a little girl, my mom was a good seamstress (not as good now. She still makes clothes for my little one). She would but tailor books and make me dresses and clothes. I had a full wardrobe of custom made clothes as a kid in China. I didn’t quite need to buy in shops and was not used to talking to sales assistants. I was just shy.

The Build-up

Fast foreword to the late 90s and 00s, Alta skinny is the ideal figure. I was slightly above that ultra skinny figure and I felt Fat (5’3, 48kg, I was actually underweight). That was the norm in Hong Kong. I felt insecure when shopping in the stores as I didn’t look very skinny when I tried things on and I hated window shopping ๐Ÿ› and didn’t enjoy talking to the sales associate. The sales associates are trained to up sell and link sell. I almost always persuaded to buy more than I originally need (higher IPC) and left the store feeling stressed. I hated shopping and not that I had bc a lot of money to buy as well with my very small income from my part time job. My wardrobe consisted of just school uniforms and the ‘new clothes’ we bought for Chinese New Year or during big sale time in the summer. I could even share one with my mom – very small wardrobe.

The Peak

Another jump in time to late 00s, I discovered Taobao and ASOS. Omg!! The craziness started. I could buy beautiful clothes they my size (8 UK) for a fraction of the cost in physical stores. Even though without their very smart AI merchandising tool, the “things you may also like” sparked my desire to own (I had that desire before the Chinese internet term plant gross and harvest grass were even invented). And the expensive shipping free did help increase my ATV. I had a thing for one piece dress and definitely a phrase for knockoff Karen Millen. After a few bumps on the road, I found my store and my size. I just kept buying.

It reached to a point that I needed two wardrobe and a full additional clothes rack (the rack kept falling due to the weight). I was trying to figure out a new fashion app (no longer available in App Store) so I started a project “a dress a day” – guess what, I actually went through 100 days without repeating a dress. One hundred days and one hundred dresses ๐Ÿ‘—

Even my colleagues back then noticed my project. Well it didn’t make it big on the fashion app. Honestly it’s poor quality photos with shaky background

Downsizing Episode 1

Then on day, my friend said she started a new book and that book really changed her life. Of course, it’s Marie Kondo’s life changing magic of tidying up. She removed so much stuff. She was an early adopter of the book. Somehow the book landed in my hand (a lot of recommendation after). Another friend kept saying “spark joy” and some might never start unfriending the connection which doesn’t “spark joy” on Facebook.

I read and got sure inspired and motivated. According to the book, start with wardrobe and it was how I started –

The memory of 10 pairs of jeans that I just put on an upper part of the wardrobe fell on me, is still very vivid now after over 5 years. So I catagorsed and started with jeans, socks, panty hose (seriously why did I have so many pair? I only worn once or twice a year when it was too cold to wear dresses without), and accessories (you don’t know how much you end up with when you have staff sale and staff discount ๐Ÿคช)

Want to see some numbers?

  • – Over 200 dresses (yes, I bought more after the 100 dresses project) – also, mostly I already passed the age of friends getting married. No cocktail dresses needed to attend yet another wedding (my record in 2009 was 13 weddings in a year)
  • – over 30 pairs of jeans (among which, i only wore 2-3 pairs in a regular base – as in every two months
  • – over 70 watches (this is definitely the aftermath of staff sale)
  • – over 50 bags/wallets/backpack (also staff sale)
  • – necklaces, bracelets, rings – I lost count
  • – 2 full size shoes cabinet (not empty of course, who are we fooling? ๐Ÿ˜Ž)
  • So after one while tiring and agonising day:
  • 1 whole racks of dresses to resell
  • 3 huge suitcases of various clothes to giveaway
  • 50 watches to giveaway
  • And 3 bags of clothes to recycle โ™ป๏ธ
  • 20+ shoes left leaving the shoe only a half shoe shoe cabinet

I felt so much better. I could fit all my clothes in my tiny wardrobe and my 3 drawers and folded according to the Marie Kondo way too.

I managed to be quite disciplined I would say. But like my friend (who was the first one in my circle that started the tidying up), I over tidied up and I actually need to buy some practical items again even they don’t necessarily spark joy (they keep me warm โ„๏ธ). Yet my wardrobe was not overflowing. I only bought two pairs of maternity pants and 2 maternal dresses throughout my pregnancy ๐Ÿคฐ๐Ÿพ pretty impressive, right? (I’m impressed myself too)

Yo-Yo ๐Ÿช€ – opps, I did it again ๐ŸŽต

Well, I managed to downsize and maintain “slim” for a few years. What went wrong? – breastfeeding happened!! (I love every minute of breastfeeding even including the mastitis part- best bonding time ever ๐Ÿ’•

I need to buy breastfeeding clothes. At first, I went for my go-to – the infamous ๐Ÿ˜ˆTaobao ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

However, I soon discovered the breastfeeding clothes on there don’t make much sense, poor quality (like break easily, not that I am fat), and just simply not easy or comfortable. You can’t imagine juggling a hungry infant, taking up cover and undressing for feeding. And nursing bra too. Only available h&m site but the site was always unavailable (how ironic). I did manage to get a couple but they didn’t last. So I bought a few nursing clothes from Taobao and none of them were good to wear for one month. I was in a clothe drought… then I found Boob Design and Bravados nursing bras. Both sustainably sources and with good quality. I went through a small bump of a Singaporean based nursing clothes shop – better than Taobao but not as nice as Boob Design (yes, I bought about 10 dresses in total ๐Ÿ™ˆ)

The worse came when I started a new job – breastfeeding friendly business attire required. The ones I have are way too casual and not as easy to clip on the pump.

So I figured I need a lot of two pieces. As a working parent of a baby/toddler, you want to spend all your time soaking up in the cuteness and love from your little one. I didn’t have time to mix and match so I ended up always buy sets of clothes (not too suit like) and wear them according to the match. There are times where I couldn’t find the match (especially during colder time, like today, I just wear two piece that don’t really work together). I bought for summer and winter (well in Hong Kong, it’s 9 month long summer and 9 month long winter in your office too. So I bought double (my excuse anyway)

I would say Taobao’s AI merchasing is working very well showing the items that I might also like. And on 618 and 11.11, I did the inevitable – I bought loads

My wardrobe is overflowing again, even though I already bought a dresser with drawers. They are all full… (I even started putting winter stuff, like my super down jacket ๐Ÿงฅ in the states where it’s actually cold cold ๐Ÿฅถ)

The Realization

So my wardrobe is back in the oversize status. So happened, I ran into the show minimalist on Netflix. The idea is very close to Marie Kondo (she has her own Netflix show too. In fact, many people dressed up as her on Halloween – that’s definitely a popularity indicator ๐Ÿ˜). Over consumerism is bring threat to our planet earth – from the waste that fast fashion produces to the working condition of the the workers in the factories. No need to go into details of how much we are wasting. There’s another element to the show is that wanting less brings more happiness. You are not constantly buying or owning things to fill the void in your heart. You spend time appreciate things you have and more time on the things that matter more to you.

Ok, I just received the shipment of yet another online purchase. (Well, I did that before the realisation).

Resolution for 2020

  • buy less
  • buy quality and from sustainable source – so that I can wear/use for longer – durable – a quality my parents generation always looked for in clothes or any household products
  • live more and spend more time on things that matters ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘ง

Happy year of the smart Rat!


The lipstick economy

Lipstick effect, according to Wikipedia,

the theory that when facing an economic crisis consumers will be more willing to buy less costly luxury goods. Instead of buying expensive fur coats, for example, people will buy expensive lipstick.The underlying assumption is that consumers will buy luxury goods even if there is a crisis. 

It also has psychological effect – womenโ€™s desire to attract mates with resources and depends on the perceived mate attraction function served by these products. In addition to showing how and why economic recessions influence womenโ€™s desire for beauty products.

We are not to talk about whetherthe lipstick sales surge is predicting a crisis a not. I can’t avoid seeing any mention of case studies about premium lipsticks reading about beauty Ecommerce in China. (I’m just rewriting based on what I read.) In fact, it’s the fastest growing category in Beauty China, growing a staggering 97% in 2017.

Today, i’m here to talk about how premium lipsticks make it to the top selling products on the Tmall (JD, VIP and koala etc) shelf.

On Tmall, China’s biggest Ecommerce platform (arguably world’s biggest or second biggest), both premium cosmetics brands YSL (only launched on Tmall since apr 2018) and Mac’s lipstick sales are disproportionately huge, accounting for 85% and 92% over total sales respectively. Priced at over RMB200 above per tube, these lipsticks are not cheap as everyday necessity (as you don’t just stop at 1 tube) but definitely not expensive as a feel-good simple indulgence. How are the figures translated into actual tubes of lipsticks? Hmm, I want to know too.

So what’s behind YSL’s lipstick sales?

Oh, they did it so well with influencers – it was glorified as the ONLY gift to signify their love from boyfriends to their girlfriends – testimony of love. Girls where sharing posts about YSL lipsticks on social to subtly (not too subtly) to hint (*wink wink). The lipsticks are built up as the “girlfriend gift”. After all, 1 iPhone 7 equally 22 YSL lipsticks (I didn’t do the calculation, chinese netizen did).

Love wins (or marketing leveraging on it wins).

Stealing old photo from sohu:

It was indeed the counter in Seoul (not China but all the “sold out” or purchase quota “one tube per customer” signs are all written in simplified Chinese (the official language in China)

Let’s talk about Mac – L2 gave it a flash of genius. I have to agree with L2 on this one.

Mac x Tencent’s Honour of Kings (Arena of Valor)

I’m sure you have heard of Tencent – the company that owns WeChat, QQ and many more (most additive mobile games in China for example).

When you think mobile games are for guys only, think twice. Take one of the most popular mobile games in China, Honour of Kings, for example. Most than half of their over 100 million (yes, 9 digits, I counted with my fingers ๐Ÿคช) monthly active users (MAU) are female. They are not just female, they are Gen Z (18-24) mostly with disposable income (at least to spend on cosmetic items).

Instead of initiated from the brand, the unlikely collaboration was a result of customer’s demand. According Jingdaily, MAC noticed the players of the games always mentioned their brand when creating lip colors for their characters in the game. Also, without constraint from the brand’s headquarter, local team had all the freedom and support to start the collaboration with Tencent. And ta da, born the 5 branded limited edition lipsticks for Honour of the Kings.

14,000 preorder within 24 hours of launch on their brand site, WeChat mini program and their Tmall. Seriously 14,000 is more thing compared to the over 100,000 tubes monthly sales on Tmall alone, the buzz generated and the halo effect is the gold.

The verdict – no matter if the economy blooms or turns gloom, photogenic (Instagramable or ins – the way Chinese netizens call Instagram or Livestreaming-able) makeup products – aka lipstick is one of the most compulsive buying items

See exhibit A – my little collection (after two rounds of life changing magic of tidying up – My Charlotte Tibury lipsticks didn’t make it to the photo) well, they still do spark joy and I’m still tempted every time I see an ad (of any format)

(This post has been stuck at my draft for a few months – the past 11.11 lipsticks are still the highest selling products makeups)


Before Covid19, there was still a strong glow of lipstick sales. The pandemic is very saddening. Hope the worst is already gone and we are on our way to be back to normal!

Mask wearing and working from home is the new normal. That means the way people put on makeup (or the lack of it completely) has changed. Lipsticks had negative growth. A similar form of lipstick economy emerged – Mascara index. (Honestly, Mascara sales especially in the premium category has been in decline for a long while. With the rise of lash extension and even magnetic lashes, it’s not hard to see why). China, the first country that returned to work back to normal saw a 150% increase in eye makeup. I bet is eye liners and brow products. Here’s an interesting take on Mascara index

Has your makeup routine changed? Are you still putting on makeup? Even I’m back to normal work schedule, I haven’t put on any makeup for at least 4 months nor have I bought any makeup items either, instead, I bought skincare and self care products.

Nothing can stop the arguably youngest self made billionaire -Kylie Jenner

She was one of those who made duck lips a hit on the Internet and there was a Kylie Jenner duck lip challenge. If you don’t know about it, try google “Kylie Jenner duck lips”๐Ÿ™ˆ

she launched her lip kit, which sold out almost immediately. See post from her IG

Let’s not forgot she had the post of her hair which was the most liked posted on IG at the time (2015).

The Internet was broken again when she hid her pregnancy all 9 months even appearing constantly on their famous family reality show.

Why would we not be surprised that she’s launching hair and baby care.

I’m not a fan of the show but I definitely admire their business sense building a ginormous business from their influence ๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพ and their engagement on Instagram and snapchat

Meet Zalora’s Popup Store – an O2O Story in Hong Kong

O2O has been such a buzz word that you can apply to the same high school sex metaphor again. 

O2O is like high school sex. Everyone talks about it; few actually did it; for who who did it, they have no idea what they are doing. 

Just fill in the first subject to something new and exciting. You get the idea. 

O2O becomes such a buzz word to a level that even in a local Personal Loan TVC, this very word was used in the ad copy. (Something like we offer you the O2O option. You can apply the loan online and go pick up the money at the branch). The first time I heard that. The first thing popped to my kind was “marketers are you target audience for the ad? So marketers tend to over spend on their credit card and need help?” Or the copywriter was too immersed into the buzz word and thought everyone understand what O2O stands for. (Sorry, completely irrelevant. I’m still yet to find out the answer yet)

O2O (online to offline and offline to online) is to use marketing means to bring online traffic to offline stores and vice versa. (At least, it’s my definition). 

Back to Zalora, Zalora is one of the major vertical fashion online retailers in South East Asia. The popup store is more of a showroom for customers to try on and experience the product/sample firsthand and but online through their app or their website. The products will ship to you. 

The store is located at Windsor House, Causeway Bay. It took us something to find it as we were under the impression that it was more like a roadshow but it was indeed a store.

First glance – 

The store is decorated with a post- Morden minimalist industrial style, with open display of products that encourages interaction – picking up, touching it or trying it on.

Wifi is there – thank god. That the most basic need in the new age Marslow’s hierarchy of needs. 

What’s so special about it?

There are Samsung tablets (you can shop directly from the app installed on the stanley) and a mac book attached to a bar code scanner (you can be your own shop assistant , scanning the bar code on the price tag yourself) for you ease to shop.  – you get 20% off if you download the app on your android and key in the promo code(not sure if it works on iOS too)

What’s my favourite part? The QR code on the price tag. Open up the Zalora app (it took about 1-2 minutes to actually load it – Not Cool) and scan the QR code. The item would be automatically added to your cart.

So I tried an item on for the sizing  – yes I’m a size 8 

Scan the QR code 

It’s in my shopping cart (or bag)

I’m yet to check out though. 

My colleague went back to the store after work. Apparently, it was one of the busiest stores in the mall. 4 of the 5 items were already sold out.  If you have HSBC credit card, you get 28% on selected items. I hope they replenish soon or they are missing out a huge opportunity. (Actually, this is the perfect opportunity for them to acquire customers database  –  leave your contact info, you’ll get a notification with an offer once we restock. Easy as pie).

My take – it’s a good way to get our spoiled Hong Kong shopper to have a taste of online shopping, encourage first time trial, and above all brand awareness building. Sales are a bonus I would say

As a shopper, I’m an advanced online shopper as in I shop everything I wear online; I don’t need further preaching on online shopping. It still felt good to try out the sizing saving me the hassle of returning or exchanging. 

Time to shop ๐Ÿ˜‰   

Daniel Wellington – A Social Media Golden Child

A couple years ago, Daniel Wellington or the word Nato Strap didn’t mean much to any fashionables. Launched in 2011, Daniel Wellington became an international sensation in the fashion watch world with huge social following especially on Instagram. They did it without noticeble investment in traditional paid media (Print, OOH, TV, etc). However, they invested strategically on digital especially on social media, riding on the trend of UGC (User Generated Content. It’s not a new concept. Burberry has done it well with artoftrend.com). The term “Nato”, originally from British Navy,ย is not widely used in the interchangeable straps watches world.

DW Site

Sleek & Simple Design


What’s their key to the great success? Let’s sum them up:

1. Clear and Concise Brand Story

The story began with a friendship across the world. Daniel Wellington is supposed to be a dynamic individual who has a James Bone Flair and wears his Rolex with a Nato Strap.The brand is supposed to be a tribute to the man with the same name. (Seriously, there’s never a photo of Daniel Wellington on the internet. I’m personally doubting the existence of such person.

Quoted directly from Daniel Wellington’s Official Site:

DW /Brand Story

Words Only

2. Clearly defined persona & Target Audience


Daniel Wellington himself is the ultimate brand ambassador – ย gentlemanly and refined, yet completely unpretentious.ย (According to Fashionbeams.com). Mr Wellington has a colorful personality and a great sense of style.

The design is simple –

  • the Nato Strap
  • the Leather Strap
  • A Watch for all Occasions summed that up

Target Audience:

For the modern style conscious male, but, โ€˜not just for menโ€. ย (How clever is that!)

Stylish men, but not just for men

3. Well-rounded visual appeal on the right platform – Instagram

Shows how watches can match with different seasons/occasions by the easy change of strap (now everyone knows the NATO strap..) the over 917K fans is a good indicator of its success. It’s definitely thew golden child of Instagram – the visually appealing platforms for the fashionables

Daniel Wellington Has over 710K fans around the world, way more than its Facebook following. The place of all the quality content.

Daniel Wellington Has over 710K fans around the world, way more than its Facebook following. The place of all the quality content.

4. Strong Word of Mouth Network

That’s actually the top secrets of their success. They seeded out thousands of watches to numerous bloggers in different sectors and offered their fans a unique/personalised 15%-20% discount code for their fans to buy the watches directly from DW’s official site (of course, they do free shipping to lower the barrier).

As Shown in their Tmall Flagship Page

As Shown in their Tmall Flagship Page

Benefits of Extensive Bloggers outreach

1. Credibility – they are influencers. They built up their flowering and their own brand. It’s simple endorsement. They don’t need to be all fashion bloggers, as long as they poise a lifestyle followers aspire to.

2. Content – bloggers are content generators. Content is king. This is exactly what bloggers are good at. They create very impressive photos with the watches under the hashtag #DanielWellingtonWatches. With the bloggers and key opinion leaders (KOLs) starting the trend, others follows and a social culture of taking visually appealing image with DW watches is a cool thing to do.

3. Traffic – it’s all about salesย at the end of the day. With the personalised discount, bloggers are more willing to direct traffic to DW’s site and encourage their fans to purchase – internet word of mouth.

4. Quality User Generated Content (UGC)

As the led by the fashionables, a social culture of #DanielWellingtonWatches have been formed. Quality UGC is ultimate consumer engagement. #DWpickoftheday offering no incentive but featuring the photos on DW’s official Instagram has been a great way to keep the momentum going for more quality UGC. It’s a symbol of style if your photo is picked. DW won the exposure and also the heart of the consumers – double win.

Featuring quality UGC (User Generated content

Featuring quality UGC (User Generated content

6. Board & Decentralised distribution

DW is sold in over 450 points in APAC and over 35 major online stores. They ranked no. 11 in the top watch brands in terms of sales on 11.11 in 2014. Their first ever store is in LCX Hong Kong. Rumor has it. The sales is impressive as well. As for Tmall, DW does play by Tmall’s rules, offering discount, coupon, 50% off here and there, even for online activation didn’t require such deep discount.

DW's Tmall Flagship

The Key to DW’s success is their smart use of social media and bloggers outreach. Whether or not, the brand is a one time hit or could emerge to an icon in fashion watch is still unknown. They just launched a new watch Dapper. What do you think?

(I did ordered mine online using one of the bloggers’ discount code ๐Ÿ˜‰ Online Shoppaholic ME)

My Takeaway from Yahoo OMS 2014


I’m getting old and forgetful so before I completely forget why I disappeared from my office for a whole day. Here’s a summary of my key takeaway from the Yahoo OMS 2014, Hong Kong.

2014, Hong Kong people spend avg. 148 mins daily accessing to the internet through their mobile devices, which is a 12% increase compared to last year.

Surprising? Nope. Any new engaging ad format on Mobile? Not that I’ms aware of. Tough cookie to crack.

Top 3 Tumblr countries in the world:
1. US
2. Brazil
3. Japan

56% of the users are aged 13-34 (opps, I barely make the cut, ;-p) with quite even gender distribution, 51% female and 49% male.

I’m so glad that one of the countries I look after is on the top 3. My colleague and I were discussing why Japan is so up high on Tumblr use?

My take?
1. Tumblr is similar to Twitter that you don’t have to know your followers or the people you follow. You can remain completely anonymous, which fits their overall culture of being private and shy.
2. Tumblr is a very visual appealing platform with amazing animated gifs. With the Menga culture so deeply rooted in the Japanese culture, Japanese audience is no doubt easily fascinated by the visual/animated appeals.

Your take?

Intent of Use – Facebook Vs Twitter Vs Tumblr
social comparison








Finally came Entertainment –

“Put Brands into Popular Culture and Popular Culture into Brands”

This is a key way to make your brand up to date and appeal to the current social media savvy, content seeking generation. You have to be either very funny, very touching or completely incredible to be a social media/viral babe.

Words of wisdom
Don’t tell stories for Digital.
Tells Stories. Take advantage of Digital.

Many marketers, especially digital marketers, would fall into the trap that we have to create stories for digital. Viral campaign was such a buzz words a couple years ago. However, not all videos were made with the goals of getting viral would actually make it. Truth is, many just fail. Why? You have to have a GREAT story to begin with and the devil lives in the execution. It’s not that random low quality, flash of genius video don’t get viral, but these videos were usually not made to be viral.

I was responsible for a couple of semi-failure, myself. It’s hard to have a “brand-right” viral video unless your brand is embracing the risk. “Safe” can get you nowhere.

Speaking of successful campaign, here’s the tips:

“Think like a Marketer, Act like a Producer.”

Of course. It’s much easier said that done. Let’s see how it’s done well.

The QVC’s stunt with Miss Pissy & the Great late Joan Rivers is simply genius

Act 1:
At one of the red carpet after-party, Ms. Joan Rivers, stormed out from the party with whipped cream on her face. With such a controversy personality, this potential “assault” attracted media attention. All the entertainment news was picking this up.1393683251_joan-rivers-article

Later, a “secret” clip was revealed in the internet. The “attacker” was actually Miss Piggy from the Muppet. At that moment, the public knew it’s not some common cat fights between celebrities. It’s indeed a stunt, but it’s interesting enough to keep you follow.

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/bmjjiKSklVA” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

More juicy and scandalous photos here.

Act 2:
A video documenting of Ms. Rivers & Piggy’ decade-long hostility against each other came up with interviews of other celebrities, with their speculation on the fight. Of course, the celebrities were carefully chosen. My favourite has to be, the girl from “Precious”, she went like “Seeing the cake thing, just broke my heart”. Her face was priceless. – This is pure entertainment.

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/4fxMm34ebMs” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

Act 3:
Finally, the devil was revealed – Ms. Rivers and Piggy is going to battle on who’s better by going on QVC, a traditional TV shopping channel and see who can sell more in a day. Yes, the devil is QVC. Even though at that point, you knew the stunt is for QVC, you still want to know who won. The winner, of course, is QVC, who finally can tab into the younger generation and had the most social day.


There’s even a Muppet Wiki Page dedicated to this campaign.

What else did I learn? Yes, something for fellow marketers. Listen to your audience before coming up with the idea for a campaign. It’s not something new but as a marker, sometimes, you simply get ahead of yourself and forget the basic.

  1. Make your campaign goal as simple as possible.
  2. Listen to your audience and analyze your product’s strength. Identify a topic worth the campaign
  3. Work closely with your partners – trust them and be understanding

That’s about it. Hope it’s entertaining enough and it’s something you don’t know here. Got questions, please comment and let me know.