Dee Tang is the founder and creative behind beach-lovin’ homewares brand Kawaiian Lion. When we last caught up, we asked Dee for her greatest business advice and she let loose three very hearty truthbombs. Whether you’re in the thick of your own venture, or just have a toe in the tepid waters of entrepreneurship, you will no doubt benefit from Dee’s smarts.
1. On money and frugality
Try your hardest not to borrow money. Beg, steal, barter. I grew up with migrant folks who instilled this heavily into me. Be scrimpy when you can.
2. Rely on your network
Surround yourself with a supportive network of peeps who are there to pep you up when you do really dumb sh*t. Remember, each so-called mistake you make is a lesson. Yes, those hundreds of ugly synthetic tags you accidentally ordered for the new linen range will never happen again.
3. Get to know your makers face-to-face
OK, this is one I strongly stand by: Wherever possible, meet your makers, business dudes, anyone you deal with, in the flesh and face. Have a coffee or yum cha with them and find out about their family and where they come from. Show them pics of your kiddies and your dog. People are less likely to f**k you over when they know how cute your dog is and you have drunk jasmine tea together. Every time I go to Bali, I meet up with my production agent and we gasbag about our babies (he has five stray dogs). He makes me curry and I bring him drawings that my 3-year-old made.
I guess, in the end, you gotta remember you are dealing with people and relationships. And people like it when you give them time. And to not be in a major hurry. Where possible, I don’t hurry. Hurried people are ticked off all the time.