First Generation Immigrant Builds A Massive Home Decor Brand -Jenny Zhu Ep 56

How First-Generation Immigrant Jenny Zhu Created the Massive Triangle Homes Fashions from Scratch.

In a business that deals with warehouses from India and China to manufacture their textile products, there has to be an incredible business model, right?

In this episode of the Page One Podcast, Luke Peters speaks with Jenny Zhu about her home décor textile business Triangle Homes Fashions. She is a first-generation immigrant who has turned Triangle homes into a massive company in only 10 years and now sells to major retailers plus 40 others. She graduated in 2005 Summa Cum Laude from the Fashion Institute of Technology before founding Triangle Homes in 2008.

Listen in to learn the business model she uses with manufacturing factories overseas while taking care of the business side of things in the US. You will also learn the strategy they use at Triangle Homes to keep the business running smoothly during the pandemic.

Key Takeaways:

  • How to use the ERP system to get the business data that helps you plan ahead.
  • Learning to overcome challenges in a foreign country and rising to start a leading business.
  • How to differentiate your brand to stand out in a saturated market.

Episode Timeline:

  • [0:29] Intro
  • [2:01] She explains the home textile products that Triangle Home Fashions creates and distributes when she founded the company, and their business model.
  • [3:29] How the COVID-19 has affected their operations from working from home to how they establish warehouse guidelines.
  • [6:27] She describes how they prepared for the COVID-19 by manufacturing early and shifting the process from China to India.
  • [9:41] The business model they use with their warehouses and shipping of products and what they’re looking to change in the future.
  • [13:30] How they build a great ERP system to give them data to analyze different skew performance.
  • [16:17] She explains where she spends her time in the company as the CEO while helping the team steer the company forward.
  • [19:21] She narrates her childhood in China, the challenges she faced after her move to the US plus pursuing a career in the textile home décor field.
  • [25:51] She explains how they differentiate their Lush Décor brand from similar décor brands.
  • [31:48] The methods they use to skew inventory to get solo inventory turn goals.
  • [35:35] She describes how she has had a hard time balancing work and life as an entrepreneur.

Relevant Links:

Website: http://trianglehf.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jenny-zhu-b0325a16/

Speaker 1: Welcome to the Page 1 podcast. A podcast featuring a variety of guests and thought leaders on topics ranging from digital marketing, sales channel strategies, influencer marketing, best in class product launches and all the details about how to accelerate sales. Now, here’s your host, Luke Peters.

Luke Peters: Thanks for joining us on the Page 1 last. I’m your host Luke Peters, CEO of Newair Appliances and Retail Band Digital Strategy Agency. Let’s jump right into this interview, but first a quick message. Business owners, how are your digital sales performing? Hopefully, really well right now since everybody’s jumping online. But do you wish you had someone to help create a custom strategic plan to help grow your online sales? If so, find me on LinkedIn or email me at luke@retailband.com and we can help you do just that.

Luke Peters: In this episode, you’re going to learn from first generation immigrant, Jenny Zhu, a Triangle Home into a massive company in only 10 years and she’s going to share how data and analytics drive her IT focused, econ business model, seeling to Wayfair, Amazon, Target, Walmart and 40 other retailers. And, Jenny graduated in 2005, Summa Cum Laude, from the Fashion Institute of Technology. And then, she founded Triangle Home Fashions in 2008, after working in product development and design for one of the major suppliers in the industry.

Luke Peters: Under her leadership and starting with just a few employees and a dream for what she believed, Triangle Home Fashions become a major player in the home textiles’ marketplace. Jenny was recently New Jersey entrepreneur of the year and national nominee in the consumer category. Jenny, welcome to the Page 1 podcast.

Jenny Zhu: Thank you, Luke, for having me.

Luke Peters: Awesome. Jenny, before we get going, maybe you can give the audience a quick description of your business.

Jenny Zhu: Okay. Triangle Homes fashion is a technology and a data driven. As a design, marketer and distributor of home textile products. Our product line including the bedding, window trimming, decorative pillows, throws, shower curtains, outdoor cushions, table linen. We pretty much cover all categories in the soft home space. I founded the company in 2008 with a vision to create accessible home fashions that combine the great quality, unique design and the value.

Jenny Zhu: Then we call it affordable luxury. The technology and analytic key engine to our basement and help us to make design decisions and create a marketing, sales, operations in the warehouse and distribution strategy. Business model is built on the econ platform. Currently we have 80% of business coming from retailer econ retailer and [inaudible 00:03:00] and a 20% of from brick and mortar retailer through the private label and a triangle other brand.

Luke Peters: Wow. And we’ll jump into more of the business and it’s a huge business that Jenny’s grown and I’m sure for the audience, it’ll be interesting to hear more about the actual company size and how you guys allocated people in warehouse. But before we get into that, Jenny, how has COVID impacted you? Besides I’m sure some work at home, maybe what business changes have you had to make?

Jenny Zhu: In the home textile industry from the retailer side is a pretty much majority of the stores, especially brick mortar stores, the closed except if a business is related with the groceries, home compliance and other essentials. That would be the huge business change, the future shift actually from the store to online shopping. So for those, the companies are more dependent on the brick mortar versus the econ. I think the COVID created the disastrous outcome for the companies like us who see it as a both especially focused on econ the model. It has proven to be a big opportunity in this unfortunate pandemic event.

Jenny Zhu: In our business, how to change our business operation is pretty much like office employees. We work remote and since this has come really fast to add a base on our IT infrastructure. And we have the cloud of business ERP system. So all our office team work remote and can access the data, creating good to have the shared all the information together. So we have been working very efficiently actually, from the office team point of view.

Jenny Zhu: Another thing we’re changing is really the sense of the business and more econ focused with a drop ship. That we haven’t been getting over, I think more than double the business since April to June year over year on the online side. So our warehouse team has been the front hero. So we want to make sure the warehouse environment is clean and it’s safe for the team. And also we added as a full second shift that to support the volume we’re getting. So we also increased the pay for the warehouse team for their effort they put in.

Luke Peters: That’s a great story. And let me ask you this, for the audience, we’ll get into your story of how you immigrated from China to the US about 20 years ago. But I remember COVID and all the events leading up really vividly. I remember this and I track the news and I think even as much as I have a background in microbiology. But even when this virus was in China, for my business, I was worried more about the supply chain side thinking, “Wow, are we going to get our products from China?” And for whatever reason, I was ignorant to the fact that this virus is going to make its way over to America as well.

Luke Peters: And there’s too much focus, I think now looking back on my end, on the supply chain. When really we should have been planning in advance for that, “Hey, we’re going to be in the same problem. It’s just a couple months later.” If you take yourself back a couple of months, how you were thinking about it and how you planned. And then, just because since you did live in China, you might have had some forewarning maybe from family members or something. I’m just curious if you were able to act quicker or if you did the same thing that most other companies, the same process we went through.

Jenny Zhu: So regarding the sourcing point, the view when this happened in the beginning of this year, when we see the happening and also it’s happening the same time Chinese new year. So we always prepare the inventory before Chinese new year to cover the Chinese new year part. So is this happening also like in the 2019, we have this Paris thing going on from September to be December.

Jenny Zhu: At that time in order to avoid, when is Paris the second in Chinese new year. We prepared a huge inventory to cover the both. That actually give us a really good inventory level to cover this e-com site. When we did a sourcing, we actually noted it from this year, the COVID, also before in the 2017, 18, we already look at it. Before is 100% we are from China, the sourcing parts.

Jenny Zhu: 2017, we started to look at it from India and Pakistan. So we feel that this sourcing more global basis, now we’re sourcing from three different countries. So when we see this in the China has the COVID, we did move from to India. So that gave us some more flexibility. Once we see, one region has issues, then we can move to the different region for the production. So it’s actually from the China, when you look back, they really changed this, only they delayed it two weeks from the production point of view, within the normal Chinese new year.

Jenny Zhu: So, so far we pretty much 100% back on the production side in the China part. We have experienced a few weeks, like three weeks in the India part as well. So now, with this pandemic going on, I think it’s a good idea really to spread out your sourcing, don’t rely on one country or any giving factory.

Luke Peters: Yeah. And I think that’s super smart. Are you able to share what percentage of sourcing you’re able to spread out? Were you able to get 20% of it into other countries or 40% of it, or do you know offhand?

Jenny Zhu: So far, pretty much is the majority doing in China. I think we have some in India, but the infrastructure and sometimes the speed of the production, I think India still have lacking certain the speed to get to the production done. So, so far we have a majority still in China, but we sourcing from India and Pakistan is really based on the capability China cannot do.

Luke Peters: Well, that makes sense.

Jenny Zhu: And we value it as a three different forms of quality, the pricing and also speed to the market, then we decided which country would go.

Luke Peters: Great. Well, thanks for that, Jenny. Let’s jump in now to your business and your company and talk about maybe the scale. Can you give the audience an idea for that on maybe starting with your team size, how big is the number of employees and then maybe the size of the warehouses?

Jenny Zhu: We have from the warehouse. We have main warehouse is, we have 120 square feet with fully rack, the warehouse in New Jersey, in [inaudible 00:09:55] New Jersey. We also have LA warehouse. Our business have 15%, is that critics pillows. So we basically blow the pillows there instead of your vacuum pack everything or pillow is freshly blowed from the LA facility, and which is shipped through the brick mortar. And some we are testing for the econ as well. And we just signed with a contractor actually for 3PL in California to drop ship from the West side.

Jenny Zhu: So hopefully this will be anger to start with the operation in August so that we can really help us to reduce the freight costs as well as that in two days with tank ships to the customer, for the drop ship.

Luke Peters: Yeah, and let me ask you a question about that. That’s super interesting and we’re looking at the same thing, but I think our model is similar to yours as well. So I’m guessing that 90 to 95% of your shipments are for the customers of the retailers. I might be off there, but if that’s correct. So that would mean the retailers, say Wayfair, Target, Walmart and so on and so forth.

Luke Peters: But so in that case, it’s on their shipping accounts. There might not be a company savings of shipping, but there might be just the faster speed to customer. Was there a different reasons you wanted to move to a 3PL or did it make sense more because of customer satisfaction or was there also financial incentive on saving shipping costs when you looked at the whole allotment of orders?

Jenny Zhu: I think that there’s two parts. The both side is one is freight cost. When you’re shipping from here to East coast across to the West coast, you need at least of five days to get to the customer and the freight cost is a lot of higher than you get from California you’re shipping within California. So the freight cost is, the biggest I would go with the customer, whether we’re working with Amazon, Wayfair, Target, Walmart with all this over 40 different customers. The goal is really how we wanted to create as a win win situation to increase their profitability.

Jenny Zhu: So this freight cost to can really huge the impact the profitability for them. That’s one of the reason we wanted to cover 12 different States to give them the better cost and the PNL. Another thing is the shipping speed. In the today situation, speed to the customer is every customer, they think online you can get it based on the prime from an Amazon. Everybody think you could get it it next day. That’s what the customer expectation. We want to meet that customer expectation. However, the 12th States within two days. That’s one of the goal we wanted to do, is shrink the time to get to the two days delivery for the customers.

Luke Peters: Yeah. And that’s really strategic answer and the fact that you want to make sure your partner’s margins are higher. And I know those conversations come up and yearly negotiations. And I guess your idea here is that you’re going to get speed, but then you’re also going to partner with them to reduce their rates. And then hopefully the allowances and marketing charges and shipping charges and all those pricing that’s taken into consideration. So, it’s still going to be a win win for both sides. And I think it’s really thoughtful and a good answer there. Thanks for that. How many total skews do you guys have? I’m guessing a ton because you have different sizes and different colors.

Jenny Zhu: We have the few ways, we have probably close to 2,000 active skews. We constantly evaluate the few performance. Because with the ERP system, we can really look into skew but how they perform on the different channels. What we can look at is the weekly report and the monthly report every single level, how they perform. So, we put it on the top skews. If they’re performing well, we want to make sure we have enough inventory. Has the fulfillment rate really high. We don’t want to lose the cells on the top sellers.

Jenny Zhu: We also have with the mediocre skews. We want to make sure, what kind of the promotion or the other job that you would post as sale. I know with the low performers, the way you look at it and how we can work with that different price or some different channels, or pick the big discount and then replace them. So it’s really, it’s constant, it’s three different tiers we constant can look at it. It’s like the main advantage of ours like we have started the business not long, 2009, we started the econ. It’s over the years, we really feel that this ERP system to give us really good data, to analyze all the different skews to how they perform. So give us a really good idea how to move forward, how to just continue with them.

Luke Peters: And are you able to share which ERP you are working with?

Jenny Zhu: We are using SAPP1 and also we use the warehouse management system. This ERP, I think with the econ model, the IT infrastructure is so important. You cannot just do it a menu. I remember when I started the business in the first year, everything was a menu. And it’s not going to get you anywhere. In the today’s business model, you just have to have a good data. Everything’s about the data. So, the ERP can give us a really good report.

Luke Peters: Yeah. So true. And SAP is always a strong consideration. It’s usually a lot of work to onboard and learn some of the specific SAP functionality or the team has to learn, let’s call it the SAP language. But we did an ERP conversion little over a year ago and they were in consideration. We didn’t end up going down that path, but definitely a good choice. I can see how it’s helping you guys.

Luke Peters: And Jenny, before we go on to more of the business story. So we talked about the company and you guys are obviously working through 40 retailers or more, where do you find yourself spending most of your time as a CEO and leader of the company? Are you more on the sales side, the marketing side, the product development, where do you like to dive in?

Jenny Zhu: I started as a textile, as a [inaudible 00:16:19] design. I’m always design driven. I love, my passion is design. So I always joke with my customer and the team, say like, you have a designer running the company versus somebody in the financial background running the company. We are very product driven. Maybe that’s a little bit of selfish way. I want to make sure the product is right. The quality is right. So that’s in one area. I have things, [inaudible 00:16:55] a lot of fun according to the product development.

Jenny Zhu: But also over the years I’m involved with a lot of sales as well. Whether it’s the the brick model or from the econ side, I think it gave us a lot of insight how to design the product. But a couple of years, starting back off because all our team is being with me since the beginning and as they grow really fast. So they’ve really, knows how to do commitments. And we are pretty much on the same page. When we talk about the second thing is really, we don’t have to finish [inaudible 00:17:34]. So they’ve been the part of the team, all our employees, the management team. They’ve been with me almost since the beginning.

Jenny Zhu: So now I’ve been more focused on the strategic planning, to see how we can get our company into the next level. In the 2018, we’re starting, because it would grows so fast, we worked responding to accelerated the growth. I made the choice to work with a private active form in the 2018. I think in the last two, three years, the company was growing pretty roughly with 43% growth. I think this year we got exceeding on that percentage. We’re focusing much stronger than last year. So all this [inaudible 00:18:22] it’s really my job. My role is, how to help my team to gather the company to the next phase.

Luke Peters: Wow. Congratulations. Sounds like you’ve had a liquidity event with private equity a couple of years ago. And that sounds like a great choice because you continue to grow quickly.

Jenny Zhu: Yeah. I think that’s one of the decision I made that really helped the company grow.

Luke Peters: Good for you, Jenny. So, we talked about the business and how you’re handling COVID and your warehouses. You have a couple of, you have one in a big one in New Jersey and the big 3PL on the West coast coming. And a couple thousand skews you have to manage. Why don’t we step back about, 20 or 30 years or more. And I think people would love to hear your story of how you came from China. I think in 1999 you mentioned, but why don’t we start before that. In your childhood, where did you grow up and what do you think impacted you early on to give you the drive to later start this business?

Jenny Zhu: It’s just a long story. I grew up in a very remote village in China. I always, when I was little, [inaudible 00:19:30]. And went to boarding school in middle school as well at the high school. So I was very independent early on. I think I’m a dreamer, I always have thousands of different ideas to think about it. And, I always wanted to do something on my own. I guess I have that entrepreneur’s [inaudible 00:19:55] always in me. So that’s like, I did a few different things in China before moving to here.

Jenny Zhu: Since 1999, when I moved to here, it’s very vast experienced because I learned a little English in the school. But I couldn’t read anything or speak English at all. So I remember when I first turned on the TV, when I got here, I feel I was in another planet. It’s just that I couldn’t understand one word that they were talk about it. So pretty rough in the first couple of years to when I got here.

Luke Peters: Yeah. Well, that’s a great story. And I guess removed a lot of excuses from everybody else who might complain about having a hard time starting a business. But here, it sounds like you came here with nothing and then, you’re leading a massive company in the textile industry. So it’s a great story. So you talked about the first couple of years and how they were tough here. And then after that, you went to the Fashion Institute of Technology and started the business and you grown so fast. So what do you think was your most important decision you made that allowed you to be so successful and grow so quickly with your business?

Jenny Zhu: So I think it’s the decision, when I went to … At first I wanted to start [inaudible 00:21:18]. While the passion when I started, before I went to FIT, I wanted [inaudible 00:21:22]. I was 28 years old. At that time, I don’t want it just to go to a school to learn something, find a job. I was like really deep diving, what I really want at that time, for the rest of my life. What’s the one thing can really keep me going.

Jenny Zhu: So I really like fashion, and as the first thought that I wanted to be a fashion designer. I remember like I read all the stories of [inaudible 00:21:49] how they did it. I wanted to be a fashion designer. One day, I want to have my own business in the fashion. When I went to FIT, at the time they said that the fashion design department already full. I have to wait for another year. As a 28 years old, you really don’t have time to wait for another year. So they said they have the textile design open. So I started, it’s not very far from it. So I applied to the textile design and was accepted. So that’s how I got into the home textile business instead of the fashion business.

Luke Peters: Wow. That’s so funny.

Jenny Zhu: So I finished the bachelor degree there in two years. And be the summer, winter, all the time I could get in. And when I finished the business I found a job in a home textile company and worked there for four years. I think I really learned is, I have a chance to, if I don’t do it, I probably would never be able to do it. 2008, that’s really like bad year to start the business with the crash of the house marketing and all the downfall in the 2008.

Jenny Zhu: But the brick mortar at the time, were not eager to partner with any new vendors in the industry, especially, they’re in trouble with a lot of inventory at that time. However, I think that was a big white face with online sellers in the early stage in the home fashion category. None of our competitor were build to serve the growing market in the early 2009, 2010. They really didn’t see the value in the shaping one piece to one customer. So from this [inaudible 00:23:45] point of view, we were early on, it’s a very risky decision at that time to build it as econ model. To serving all these .com customer.

Jenny Zhu: So we started with a few employees with bringing the inventory in. And I remember we started with the coast.com at that time. By end of the year, we were awarded with the Rookie of the year, from them. And that gave us really a good confidence with, is this is going to go somewhere. Then we from then on, was really involved with Amazon, early WayFair and pretty much over 40 different customers over the years. We grow really fast. That’s the one thing with the variety business model with it, how to really help us to grow. When you look at the econ side, it’s a very small percentage in this retail business. So I think we are right in the right way on that.

Luke Peters: Yeah. Well, it’s amazing how serendipity happens and life falls into place. So you’re wanting to go into fashion, but instead you took the textiles degree just because you didn’t have to wait a year and then you actually started a business at the right time, even though it seemed like the wrong time, because that’s when selling online was still small, but growing and you’ve ridden that wave. And for every business, it’s always beneficial to go in the direction of the innovation instead of against it. So you’re very fortunate there. Similar to my same business as well.

Luke Peters: So we sell to a bunch of the same retailers. So that’s awesome. It’d be great to explain, if you can explain to the audience, how your brand is differentiated from other brands? And just for the audience, so you can go check out the website at Lush Decor and you can see the beautiful designs and the window treatments and all these other tons of products. It’s a great direct to consumer website by the way, Jenny, but how have you planned the differentiation of your brand?

Jenny Zhu: So Lush Decor brand, it’s not against, like selling a product. We offer a lifestyle. We offer our customer some inspiration. We believe the customer will have a sense of what do they want. And we help them to find a style and create the home of their dreams. What make it easy for them to imagine our products in their homes, through the compounding they do, to lifestyle images and astounding ideas. For example, if a customer like the Bohemian styles, they have the bedding, window Trevon, shower curtain, the decorative pillow, and throws. We show them as the curated concept to give them a clear picture of how different items will look in any room of their home.

Jenny Zhu: So they can find the multiple pieces across the categories, and a mix and match together as a cohesive style they’re looking for. So we have them more visualize what they want. We inspire the inner designing, that’s what we call the Lush Décor brand. Because our customer over the years, we have pretty good data. I know who they are. So it’s more, all the Lush Decor customers very inspiration.

Jenny Zhu: They’re looking for the product that’s stylish, more intentional and a unique be speaking to their predominately the woman from all life stages, will look for affordable luxury for every room in their home. And they’ll appreciate the curated, the one stop shopping experience. So Lush Décor customer, more gravitated to the South theme, like moaning farmhouse, [inaudible 00:27:34] charm, coastal, the boho chic and the cozy cozy.

Jenny Zhu: They have grabbed the Lush Decor product assortment as inspiring, unique, classic time based and aspiring. But also bold and exciting with the variety of choices inspired the designer. They also know to the grid prices, excellent qualities, comfort, and the fast shipping and responsive the customer service from us.

Luke Peters: Wow. And that’s hard to do with so many skews. And also, are you able to share the backend a website? Is it a Shopify site or big commerce, or do you know?

Jenny Zhu: We use Shopify on the backend. [inaudible 00:28:18] customers. We have like, probably over 40 different customers. Every one of them are different. For example, Amazon, we’re working with from their internal AMS team versus the buying side of the team. It’s very engaging. We work with them, they offer a lot of data. So how far together with a record regenerated from SAP system. So can give us a really good idea of what it is our customer wanted. So we can develop a base on what they need. So that’s a really good partnership working with them.

Jenny Zhu: And also with them, with you, all kinds of hybrid approach. I believe look at you doing business with them and we are doing the DI [inaudible 00:29:10]. We’re also doing [inaudible 00:29:11] bulk order from the vendor side. We’re also doing the drop ship for them. Basically from every channel we’re doing with them. We just want to make sure if they ran out the inventory, we also [inaudible 00:29:24]. So if based on the cost reduction, can give them a big margin if they want to do direct shipment and we can offer that as well. So this hybrid approach really have the flexibility to work with them.

Luke Peters: In your industry, and I’m familiar with a few of your colleagues who owned businesses in the same area. It can be a challenge because like on your website, you’re able to show a whole set or how it’s going to look together in a home with other products in different categories, right?

Jenny Zhu: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Luke Peters: The window treatment, the top of bed and so on and so forth, but on Amazon and Walmart or Wayfair, it can be more transactional. It’s because they’re not able to just feature your brands. So they’re just seeing the window treatment. Now that customer has got to go somewhere else to find the other parts. I imagine there’s not an easy way to overcome that. Or is there, have you found any additional way to merchandise within these retail?

Jenny Zhu: Right. Is it depending on the customer platform. We do have the [inaudible 00:30:26]store for Amazon, and also we have the [inaudible 00:30:29]store now with retail at Target. It’s a different approach. Like with Wayfair, we work with them, even though is a different category. Some off the customer that you can link in into the same collection. But for the certain customers, they might be half the difficulty. So we’re trying to break out how to work with the customer to see if there’s anything they can do to give the customer the easier as a shopping experience, especially from design point of view, they can find something mismatch to get the advantage of the [inaudible 00:31:07] core brand can offer. Was that curated a lot.

Luke Peters: Yeah. And talking about so many skews and I completely understand, you have some customers are doing direct import. But it sounds like you’re still having to demand plan for most of the skews. You have to have your large warehouse and your new 3PL that you’re setting up. Talk about demand planning. And obviously I’m sure SAP helps with that. Do you have to have several people on staff also helping with demand planning? With that many skews and sizes, I imagine it’s hard to keep everything in stock.

Luke Peters: So then question two is, are you able to share any metrics around, I guess in stock levels or inventory turn goals, like are you okay to have a slower inventory turn in because you’d rather have it in stock? How do you plan or think around that?

Jenny Zhu: It’s one off, like really the trends or we are proud of ourself is, the inventory level. We were on the fulsome rate. We are 98%, with sometime 99%. We always joke with our customer and they say, “Okay, we are 98%.” We said, we wanted to be like 99.999. And it’s really the fulfillment rate we’ve been in comparison with our competitors. We are way ahead of the game. I think that’s part of the reason is, a few different reasons. With the ERP system we have, and we can really predict much, much better forecasting within the next 60 days, next 90 days and what inventory level we can do.

Jenny Zhu: Also, another thing is really engaging with our customer forecasting as well. Not just from our … Because with the report, what can do, we can look at the last years in this period. What is the customer demand then based on the growth we have for this year, also, we can look at as the last six months, how they skew on the different skews, how they perform. So we can look at it say combined with the last six months, combined with the last years. The data can give us a pretty good inventory, the forecasting.

Jenny Zhu: Now also combined with the customer demand, we talk with different customers. What is the promotion they have? What did they look at it this year? What did they think? That’s kind of too. So we combine the both then make the decision, how to bring in the inventory level. And another thing is clearly the relationship with our vendor, the factory, and as well as our China team. We have a [inaudible 00:33:36] office in Honjo, China. So they can really working with our China manufacture, even India manufacture to basically push how based on the inventory we have. They can check it because it’s cloud based system.

Jenny Zhu: They have the accurate, the inventory they can check every day. We have the people look at each askew. Each inventory gave us the different report every day, how they needed to forecasting? What do we have wrong? [inaudible 00:34:07]. Based on that, on they can push the manufacturer sometimes because of relationship we have with them, we can turn around the production within 30 days. So that’s, we really put our inventory level on the [inaudible 00:34:26] right side [inaudible 00:34:26].

Luke Peters: Yeah. That’s a great answer because when you touch on working with your customers here in the States and working with their projections, but then also working with your factories. And, it’s still super complicated. And I think companies that are selling to 40 customers or more will understand it, but you might have warehouse in castle gate, or you might have warehouse or you might have product on, on the Amazon side. So you can’t just look at your shipments. You also have to look at their sell through and their POS and putting that all into a system and then getting their forecasting. It’s really complicated to do what you guys are doing. So congratulations on that.

Luke Peters: And I love the operation side because obviously, you increase your cashflow and you, you keep the turns fast, but you keep your customers happy. So it’s a great explanation from this end, all the way through the supply chain. So we’ve talked about sales and even your personal story and how you guys are handling COVID and operations. And I think it would be great to finish on a question that maybe the audience can learn from. And that is if you could share maybe Jenny, what your biggest mistake is in business. Obviously you’re doing a lot of things right. But all of us make some mistakes and we always try to learn from them. So it’d be fun to hear what your biggest mistake is and what you learned from that.

Jenny Zhu: What the biggest mistake? I Think probably this isn’t only related with personal and as a business, is really how to balance the work and the life. As an entrepreneur, you always have This business, so many ideas in your head. Sometimes it really can putting you off the track, you think too much of the business. I think the biggest mistake I saw, it’s I didn’t learn very well how to balance the life and the work.

Jenny Zhu: I think this will happen for a lot of entrepreneurs. Where sometimes you work too hard and you’re off your personnel or your lifestyle you can work with. But I think [inaudible 00:36:25] fortunately is, I have a group [inaudible 00:36:29]. And I didn’t have a chance to talk about team. It’s like, we probably have like 80 people, and with the big [inaudible 00:36:33]. And more so, we have 60% employee as a female. We are like a United Nations. We probably, we speak [inaudible 00:36:52] last time we’re talking about, wow, we have probably represent more than eight different countries with more than 11 different languages.

Jenny Zhu: So it’s really the [inaudible 00:37:03]. With all the employees, we have very low turnover, which is that really make my life a lot easier. We all have the same goal and started your life as [inaudible 00:37:17] for the employee as well. So from all this over the years I’ve learnt, for the sales road, how to work with myself, how to work with the team. [inaudible 00:37:28] is not a really you seem to know your work, not for yourself. It’s really for the whole team. And from the day I started the business on to today, I don’t think success is just for me, I think success for all my team.

Jenny Zhu: So even though with the private active, the transaction, but I think it’s now more than ever, have to responsibility for my team because they’re working so hard to me and [inaudible 00:37:59] for me. So it’s like a life balance, not just for me, on my team as well. A lot of my teammates working mom as well. It really has a good journey. I’m very grateful with the success that we’ve all achieved together.

Luke Peters: And just a quick recap there, because I love that quote. You said as an entrepreneur, you think, or you might start out working for yourself, but you’re really working for your team. It’s a great way to think about it. And we all grow over time and learn more. And just to recap, it sounds like you have a team of at least 80 people, 60 plus percent female, eight countries and 11 languages, and the low turnover. So it’s just a diverse big team, that’s executing, obviously with 40%, we hear gross.

Luke Peters: So that’s just an amazing story. And congratulations, and just wanted to give you an opportunity for, how can listeners find you or connect with you. Is LinkedIn a good place or is there another way that they can learn more about you and your business?

Jenny Zhu: We have [inaudible 00:38:55] on the LinkedIn, as Jenny Zhu for the can go home fashion. They can find the Lash Decor, the Facebook as well. I want to add on one more thing when we talk about the immigration and the entrepreneur as women to do is as a business then till today. I remember it’s like, I’m always a dreamer. I think there’s a lot of boys and girls out there who have a dream.

Jenny Zhu: I can say, I’m a firm believer. If you can dream it, you work hard, with persistence, with the passion. I think that everybody has a dream, if they never give up, work hard, they can achieve it. So I hope that people just follow their dream and achieve it to get what they want.

Luke Peters: Well, that’s a great way to end this conversation and thanks for that. And we’ll have all of your connection details in the show notes for this podcast. Again, I just want to thank you Jenny, for being a guest on the Page 1 podcast. I appreciate your time here and hope everybody else enjoyed the interview today as well. I truly appreciate your reviews on iTunes and hope you all join us for the next interview. Take care.

Speaker 1: Thanks for listening to the Page 1 podcast with Luke Peters. If you enjoyed this episode, please help us out by leaving us a rating on iTunes. Want to double your online sales, check out www.retailband.com. And don’t forget to join us next week with our next amazing guests.

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Episode References:

Contact Jenny Zhu: LinkedIn

Contact Luke: luke@retailband.comLinkedIn 

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