in Blog

16 Direct to Consumers

Hello everyone! Welcome to the 16th episode of Nightly. My name is Bosslee and I am your host. How is everyone doing today? Yesterday was a holiday and today is already mid-week, all we have to do is just endure another two days and it will be the weekends! So what do you do during weekend? For me, I usually use it for exercising and now because I signed up for AHM, I am using it for long runs.

So today topic is something very close to me. It is about this article by Inc titled: Over 400 Startups Are Trying to Become the Next Warby Parker. You see Warby Parker is an ecommerce business operating under the Direct to Consumer model. They build up a brand, removed the middleman and sell direct. Some very successful ones include, Warby itself, Dollar Shave Club, Casper, Away. This article talks about how some 400 startups are trying to bring down every consumer category. There is this particular category that I am super interested and it is the TCM category.

At least from Singapore perspective, it seems like there are only major retailers. Eu Yan Sang and Hock Hua. Eu Yan Sang positioning  itself more high end while Hock Hua more for the mass market. However the interesting thing is that they are not doing so well online. Maybe because it is herbs / or something that we have to eat so we need to touch and feel. If you think about it, shoes are also something we need to try but in the end Zappos is doing so well. The same is true for mattress. Capser is also able to sell online. Maybe the problem is not with physically touching the herbs.

The problem I have with them is why do they call the shots for how much a Yang Sheng should be? It seems like they have a monopoly to command the price for birds nest and ginsengs. I’m not sure if there are similar disrupter out there but I am certainly very interesting in changing this space. The challenge is that how do I start small and think big in this space? How can I win the giants?  I like to put this question forward, do you have any thoughts on this?

See you tml