Inspired by the classic New York style, and her own experience living in the Big Apple, Susanna Soo founded S.Nine. The fashion boutique offers a one-stop-shop for urban women, featuring versatile designs intended to complement the city's hectic lifestyle.
The entrepreneur shares her journey, from finding her confidence to personal style, her support network and managing an ever-changing influx of obstacles.
S.Nine is a fashion boutique that reimagines the modern woman's wardrobe. From morning meetings to evening cocktails, you can find the perfect look that works for both day to night.
A FEW WORDS OF ADVICE
Success is personal
Every person defines success very differently. If you’re an entrepreneur, you need to believe in what you do and still be happy and passionate about how you find that success.
This journey will have a lot of ups and downs
Surround yourself with people that believe in you -- that’s the key. Your family or the people that surround you are so important to keep you going through it all.
Adapt and evolve
The challenge is that business is always changing -- there are always a lot of different obstacles. You will find yourself working on many things at the same time and not necessarily keeping up, so find ways that work best with you and your team to manage your time.
Learn from the best
Make sure you learn from your experiences. I used to work at DVF and actually Diane Von Furstenburg is going to have a teaching course online -- that would be a great resource for people starting out in fashion business.
Dress for empowerment
Women spend a lot of time at work or taking care of their family, and they want to look good in different situations. What you wear gives you the lift and confidence in whatever you do. Every woman has her own style. Dress for the occasion but still look like you, stay true to yourself.
You don’t have to follow trends
Some people don’t like the little black dress and that’s okay. You can have a little white dress, a little red dress!
I was very inspired by the lifestyle in New York. People stay stylish but they’re classy at the same time. You can mix and match with items from season to season and still look great.
I collaborate with a lot of local designers and we share a lot of ideas and resources. For example, which vendor is good for packaging? What is a good show to go to for distribution? Exchange notes with each other.
When you’re open, it sort of happens automatically. Even through my personal clients, I know people starting apps and spas and all sorts of different things. We’re a community of women who help each other out.
A FEW MORE QUESTIONS
What's the one fashion piece every woman should have?
Every woman should have a cape jacket in her wardrobe. You can dress it up and dress is casual. A cape allows you to move around freely and works with anything from a cocktail dress to bulkier items.
How do you like to unwind?
My husband and I like to do things, where we don't talk about work -- that’s relaxing. I also like travel and I like to go to resort-type destinations, somewhere where I can just relax. My husband is really good at planning these trips and we try to stay away from the city as much as possible!
How do you start your mornings?
If I’m exercising I like to exercise in the morning or just start the day with a little bit of stretching. I think it’s important to have a great morning to start your day and I’m very big on breakfast and make it the night before. I make my own kefir every other day and I like to have that in the morning as well as overnight oats.
Do you have a daily routine to power you through the day?
I’m very bad at routine! Every day is very different but I try to add exercise in my routine three times a day. Adding exercise in your routine, I would say is essential for helping you through the stress and giving you energy through your day.
I don’t always have time to go to the gym or attend classes so I like running and listening to music and 30-minute HIIT exercises you can do conveniently at home.
Do you have any must-have items in your purse?
I like to have a notebook on me at all times. I believe in the idea of jotting down ideas as they come. I sketch my ideas on my notebook wherever I go.
Of course, my phone – like anyone else! With the weather in Hong Kong outside, chapstick and hand cream are essential, too.
What are your favourite meeting spots?
I usually do meetings in my showroom unless I need to meet someone at their office. But Fineprint on Peel Street has great coffee in the morning and good wine -- I really like their chardonnay!
Any parting words?
More and more people want to start their own business and be an entrepreneur. If what drives you to become an entrepreneur is simply to be an entrepreneur, you need to reassess what you really want.
Maybe if that’s the case, you might be a great team member of a start up. The journey is long and has a lot of obstacles, so if you have the passion for something in particular and truly believe in something, I think that’s the right reason to start.
Then, even if you fail, you don’t really feel like you failed. It’s a process.