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Wendy Wong Interview Research Research Paper

Personal characteristics and motivations

Wendy Wong is an enterprising designer based in Ontario. She made her debut in the commercial arena of fashion in the year 2000 when her line, House of Spy, went public. At the time, she only had eight nylon pieces and did not receive the best reviews from the fashion fraternity, but this did not discourage her and she incorporated the firm and started pursuing local stores to take up her pieces.

A decade later, the House of Spy line has changed into Maison, a more sophisticated brand that has since ensnared the hearts of many young and hip women looking to find a fitting identity in this age of volatile fashion.

Wendy is truly high-spirited and she has a keen sense of fashion. It came as a surprise that she studied biology in the university because she would die of boredom in a science laboratory.

She confirmed this observation and added that he studied Biology partly due to social pressure from her family, which is highly traditional and would have frowned at an artsy course. She also has a remarkably developed sense of humour, which she noted was essential to maintain sanity in the world of fashion because sometimes pressure mounts and one has to vent in order to forge on.

In her opinion, her entry into fashion was purely by chance because although she loved fashion as she was growing up, it never occurred to her that she would build her career in it. Her mother taught her how to sow and as a hobby, she made her own clothes.

However, while on her second year at the university, she landed a part time job as a receptionist at the International Academy of Design and Technology, a private design college. As a perquisite of the job, she could take free courses on design and patterning and she took the opportunity.

Eventually, she graduated from the university but her love for design won. This decision took courage to make because she had to stand up for her family and fight for her love for fashion. It also required outstanding organisational skills because presently, she is managing two lines by herself. Her inspiration is wide in range varying from architecture to sunsets and Mad Men.

Her firm is incorporated and initially she was the sole proprietor because of copyright infringement risk associated with working in a partnership among other elements. However, as her business grew, she obtained legal advice to the effect that for profit making activities, a company would serve and protect her interests better than a business because of the concepts of legal personality and limited liability among other factors.

Moreover, the company would have additional borrowing capacity for attaining the capital she needed to expand the business because of the principle of floating charge (Getzler and Payne 56).

Uncovering opportunities / Industry Analysis

At the time Wendy got into the fashion industry, it was mostly western based and with a tendency to focus on elite consumption. She identified the need to produce clothes for the younger generation to which she belonged at the time. Moreover, these elite products monopolised by fashion moguls, such as Louis Vuiton and Burberry, were terribly expensive and virtually unattainable to the younger-lower-income earners. This argument convinced local stores to take her initial pieces and soon she was on high demand.

Inherent qualities of the design market include volatile shifts in fashion and the early 20th century was characterised with new technological advances in the media industry. This meant a lot of publicity and that provided a wide range of information on consumer preference as well as inspiration sources. The market was unquestionably favourable for her debut.

An application of Porter’s five forces model to her start up phase requires a review of the composite factors, which include:

A) Barriers to entry: – key among the factors that limited Wendy’s entry into the designing arena was the pre-existence of popular labels that had already ensnared most of the clientele she was targeting in the long term. Moreover, she had minimal experience that was demarcated by her free short courses at the IADT. Besides this, all she had in her corner was her raw talents and good taste. Moreover, the fact that she was a new entry meant higher premiums in insuring her business due to the element of risk. She also needed to enlist the services of legal professionals to patent her ideas as they were at risk of being copycatted.

B) Rivals among existing companies: – although this competition was not active on the part of the big labels, she felt the impact, as clients preferred the familiar designs to the new ones that she was selling. Consequently, at first, she had to match her products as closely as possible to what was already in the market while simultaneously making it new and unique. The issue of differentiation was another thorn on her side because producing products too similar to the existing markets could not guarantee sales whereas at the same time, she lacked the capital necessary to invest in entirely new technology.

C) Substitutes: – fortunately for Wendy, she had an advantage as far as this principle goes. As a beginner, she was producing the same product, but with a cheaper technology and thus this meant that her inventions were relatively cheaper. This aspect provided a substitute for buyers who could not afford a customised pair of Burberry shoes selling at almost US$1000.

D) Power of buyers: – bargaining power is an element which buyers posses and which they can easily use to force producers to reduce costs as well as produce higher quality products. Due to the proliferation of the media industry caused by advances in technology, buyers’ demands soon became radical, shifting entirely from the traditional styles that were monopolised by prominent players to newer chic designs that Wendy was prepared to produce.

E) Power of suppliers: – this affected Wendy on two fronts; first, the owners of the stores and boutiques that were supplying her products demanded that she cut her prices so that the margin of their commission would rise and they could profit from her sales.

Secondly, her suppliers hiked the prices of her raw materials as soon as they realised she was producing in large scale. However, as she became accustomed to the industry, Wendy learnt the importance of direct trading, and she went ahead to make deals with the original suppliers as well as setting up her own stores and in effect cut out the intermediaries.

She further accomplished direct trading by digitalising her business, which meant that she could take orders directly from clients and supply directly with only delivery costs, which she charged the client.

Creativity and Opportunity Recognition

Scholars in creativity seem inclined to the position that creativity is best understood in a social context and this makes up the social confluence theory (Amabile 1011). It is evident in the designing career that personal creativity is measured in a social light because the rest of the fashion world as well as consumers have to like the products for one to be deemed as creative.

However, the importance of the role of information cannot be overemphasised because fashion develops cyclically; in other words, what was the rage in the Victorian era could easily become the new fashion of the season with minimal tweaking to put in the present day’s highlights.

It follows that for a designer to excel in her work, she needs to keep abreast with the changes in the history of fashion, as well as possess some level of intuition to forecast future trends. Wendy jokingly noted that whereas the majority of the audiences of fashion magazines simply flip through the pages while on the subway or over lunch, she is a diligent scholar of these magazines and they have become her textbooks.

Wendy noted that the film industry is one of her biggest clients, as players in the industry prefer novel and unique designs for each new production. Moreover, she stated that the changes in the economy such as the generational shift of income earning have worked in her favour.

Nowadays, high-income earners are much younger than they were a decade ago and more women are making more money, hence building the clientele for her Maison line that targets sophisticated young women looking for a hip look. She also noted that part of the line’s success could be attributed to the flexibility of her designs, which can easily metamorphose from day to nightwear.

Market Research and Product Service Development

Wendy confessed that at the beginning, she did not enlist the services of a market researcher, but during consecutive years, she has diligently budgeted for an annual market review by local consultants to educate her on the necessary changes required of her in order to advance the business.

Additionally, she is a common feature in most of the social networks including Facebook and Twitter and her fans’ updates keep her on her toes. Her blog is also another information goldmine. She offers free fashion advice and conducts regular surveys on the feedback she receives from her subscribers.

For sales forecasting, Wendy noted that one has to keep abreast with the judges’ sentiments on the seasonal fashion weeks held in New York and Paris.

She noted that in her opinion, this season shall feature a return of tons of colour and a decline of camel, bold prints shall also be popular, as well as ‘dainty lingerie for feet,’ formerly known as shoes. She disclosed that she is planning to venture into accessories before starting another line. Accessories would include jewellery, shoes, and bags and she noted that most clients prefer the complete look of a particular design rather than buying her dress and complementing it with random accessories.

Moreover, she plans on expanding her business to Asia, which is a wise move considering the rapid growth of the Asian economy as well as the increasing length of queues at Asian boutiques. Wendy made a business plan at the onset of her business and shared it with her father who is an expert at Business Management and IT. Among the marketing strategies that he proposed were the 4Ps. The 4Ps include:

Product, which she already had at the time

Price– which he informed her that designing is exceptionally flexible as consumers can easily pay millions for sheer uniqueness and style, but also she had to take into account the low income earners whose loyalty she could ascertain if she made them affordable products as they would remain with her even when they earned more.

Place was an issue because at first she could not afford her own stores, but she soon managed to establish herself online and the sales paid rent for her physical stores, which she strategically located within major malls in Canada.

Promotion of her product was the most costly endeavour she had to make. Advertisements were costly and continue to be so, but she takes advantage of social networks and freebies occasionally.

Substantial Competitive Advantage

This refers to financial performance that consistently outshines peers in the industry. Wendy ascribes her envisioned success to the use of strategic positioning as opposed to operational effectiveness. This means that instead of doing what her peers do in a more effective way, she does something entirely different.

A case in point is her vertically structured operation that cuts out the intermediaries and ensures faster and cheaper production and distribution. She indicates the joy she feels when her sketch of a sample looks even better than she envisioned it in her mind before creation.


She intends to go multinational starting with Asia, create accessories to match her items, and extend to more lines besides her Maison and Beatrice Halloway.


I believe that Wendy is running a tight ship bound for success, but she can accomplish even more in a shorter time if only she loses her fear of patent infringement and acquires more talent to facilitate production. Currently, she is running a company on her own, and despite her commendable organisational skills, she may collapse under certain pressure especially if she takes up accessories and goes multinational.

Works Cited

Amabile, Terrence. “Social psychology of creativity: A consensual assessment technique.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 43.5 (1982): 997–1013. Print.

Getzler, Joshua, and Jennifer Payne. Company Charges: Spectrum and Beyond.

Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. Print.

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