On Trend: Founders of Ohvola Share Insights on Entrepreneurship & Fashion in Singapore

If you have been online shopping since at least a decade ago, you may have purchased from Ohvola before!

These influential and stylish duos are definitely setting standards for budding entrepreneurs with their foresight for fashion trends and their “never say die” attitude.

LadyBoss caught up with Jolene and Lucinda Zhou on their inspiring entrepreneurial journey and their plan to make an impact and spicing up the already burgeoning fashion scene in Singapore. 

We would like our customers to feel like they have just went shopping with a sister.

Q: What triggered you to start the business, was it purely out of passion for fashion and business, and why the online platform?

A:We started a pushcart business back in 2007, an initiative by my university’s entrepreneur club. Over time, it got too time-consuming managing the pushcart so we brought the business online to manage our time better.

We wanted to create a brand to share the excitement, wonder and strength that dressing up brings us. This is where passion has brought Ohvola thus far.

Q: What sets you apart from the other online stores including the local “competitors” like Love Bonito, A for Arcade, MDS Collections etc? Apart from producing your own designs, what does Ohvola pride itself for? How do you want the brand to be instantly recognised by the customers?

A: Just like the others, we design clothes with the heart for our customers. Here at Ohvola, customer service is our ultimate pride. We believe that good relatable conversations with our customers, together with our delicately crafted apparel, make us special. We would like our customers to feel like they have just went shopping with a sister. I guess that makes each shopping experience memorable, even for return customers.

jolene lucinda(2)

Q: Who are both of your fashion inspirations?

A: Nicole Warne from garypeppergirl.

Q: Is the target market changing as Ohvola evolves? Or are your products considerably versatile to suit a broader category? What will draw the corporate women to your store amidst other bigger fashion giants or other local shops?

A: Some of our customers grew up with us, and we are very thankful for them. As the age group widens, we try to create a variety of designs to suit the broader category. Maintaining good rapport with our customers and the quality in our products is what makes Ohvola one of a kind.

Q: Market trends are constantly evolving, and keeping up with trends is essential for any fashion business. How does both of you seek inspiration and how does travelling play a role?

A: Change is the only constant, like they say. We seek inspiration from everywhere – fashion magazines, style blogs and even people-watching whenever we travel.

After all, it’s the passion that counts.

Q: I understand that Lucinda took up Fashion Communication in Lasalle, was the knowledge acquired very helpful for the business holistically? Would you consider this as “good to have but not 100% necessary for the business to take off or sustain” or would you say it’s a” must” to study Fashion Communication before embarking in the fashion and apparel industry?

A: I wouldn’t say it is a must to study fashion before embarking in the fashion industry. After all, it’s the passion that counts. However, the modules I took in LaSalle such as photography and designing definitely helped me in more ways than others.

Q: In terms of physical brick and mortar shops, do you girls intend to take it out of Singapore to test the market and reception?

A: It is definitely our dream to have international flagship stores. We are still working hard towards it.

Hopefully in time to come, we can even dress Hollywood celebrities.

Ohvola(3)

Q: What are your hopes for the future of Ohvola? What are your aspirations in 5-10 years time? What milestones do you want to achieve?

A: It would be a dream come true for Ohvola to be world-renowned. Hopefully in time to come, we can even dress Hollywood celebrities.

Q: Passion or a stable income? There are people out there who are afraid of taking risks and choose to stick with corporate jobs (that suck the life out of them) that may not be 100% fulfilling. What are your thoughts?

A: I always believe in making it a point to enjoy what you do. Everything else will just fall in place when you are happy. Go with your heart, but don’t forget to weigh the pros and cons.

Q: What are some parting words for budding female entrepreneurs and future lady bosses out there who are afraid to make the first step or are too afraid of failure?

A: Don’t be afraid to try for the fear of failing. We get up stronger with each fall. The journey can be demanding, but it is also rewarding at the same time.

Go with your heart, but don’t forget to weigh the pros and cons.

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