Tech Ladies: Sabrina Wang From Gaming to Fashion Portal

Sabrina Wang SAUCEink
Sabrina Wang SAUCEink

Just after hustling and bustling from organising the Global Wellness Day Singapore, we caught up with the founder of SAUCEink, Sabrina Wang.

What were you doing before SAUCEink, what led you to the decision of setting up your own business? Was it something you have always thought of?

There’s a little history to this…

I was brought up in a single parent family, we’re mainly girls, all of us in fact. My mum dotes over me, which somewhat spoilt me. The contradiction here was that I was a very shy and lazy kid, yet extremely competitive.

The turning point came when I was bullied in school and I started to understand the difficulties my mum was going through to support (mainly financially) me and my two sisters.

At 13, I went to look for a part-time job while doing freelance web-designing (people then were more than impressed with HTML and gif images). I wanted to make money and actually overcome my fear of having to speak to strangers.

After having worked, I was out of my shell, but I calculated (was pretty good with math #selfpraisenopraise) and realized that this wasn’t going to make me millions of dollars.

At about 15, I started a little “business” with a couple of my older friends, doing wholesale apparel. That was a flop, business was okay, but I was not experienced and well… I ended up withdrawing, by force or otherwise.

Soon after, I got hooked to computer gaming and got myself familiarised with not just the game but a bit into the business element of things as well.

I started up a gaming network (web portal backed by vBulletin, it’s a forum-based CMS), co-located servers at data centres (run Linux; did web-hosting, etc), built and sponsored/rented game servers (Counter-Strike mainly, then hosted “Singapore Ragnarok Online” – big thanks to EN Technologies, been working with them forever), merged with other networks, etc. I even got myself a position in (probably) the first registered gaming society in Singapore. I was about 17/18? Thereabouts.

 

After having worked, I was out of my shell, but I calculated (was pretty good with math #selfpraisenopraise) and realized that this wasn’t going to make me millions of dollars.

 

In a nutshell, I started and closed many “projects”. It was all very good experiences. Till this day, I’m still trying to gather more knowledge.

SAUCEink was/is/hopefully will be my pride possession, it wasn’t exactly the project I wanted to create but it’s one of the many that I liked most. It’s a mix of my love for fashion and my love for tech.

 

What are some of the main challenges you face in starting this business?

I’d say, understanding and of course, financing. Right now, what SAUCEink is, is still far from what I’m imagining it to be. I’m hoping that in time to come, my imagination can become reality. Thankfully with our new founding team, we’re prepared for the best and worst.

 

What were some of the challenges you faced when raising capital and how did you go about it?

Finding the right investor. I’ve wasted a lot of time just knocking on doors, and people constantly telling me they’re interested but never really opening their cheque books. My hubby-to-be and I just kept revising our deck and just kept knocking on doors again and again, until finally, someone wrote us a cheque, for real this time.

But all good things had to come to an end, at the end of the day “the right investor” is still one challenge the inexperienced needs to be wary of. After a good lesson learnt, we concluded, even though an entrepreneur has to wear numerous hats, some hats comes with a heavy price. Right now, all vested interest goes through our appointed advisory. With their legal insights and experiences, it’s all in good hands.

 

My hubby-to-be and I just kept revising our deck and just kept knocking on doors again and again, until finally, someone wrote us a cheque, for real this time.

 

How much capital have you raised? (If you are comfortable) and what are some of the plans you have going forward?

That’s the exciting thing about startups, 6 months is like 6 years for us. We went from “woohoo, finally” to “this is so not working out” in practically less than 3. Excited, crashed and burned, made our compensations, regroup, rebuilt – better and stronger than ever.

We’ve just concluded Global Wellness Day 2016, which to me is a considerable success; all credits going to Melissa Fann.

global wellness day

Every member of the founding team is focusing on our expertise and strengthening our core, diving down the verticals we’ve mapped out.

Running a platform involves constant innovation and development, which takes up most of my nights. But it’s this evolution that excites all of us, pushing us to move forward, faster and stronger. We’re in the midst of putting together our “new toy” (or so I call it), the need for going mobile is… necessary and possibly right for us, now. In the last two months, we’ve released SAUCEsites, which was what Global Wellness Day Singapore’s site was built with.

We’re also beta testing our Marketplace Singapore, region-focused – from setting up the digital store front, to warehouse management, up to the point that the customer receives the goods (and occasionally returning it); will all be handled by SAUCEink.

So what you’d be expecting? We’re focusing on content, community and commerce – an integrated solution for both consumers and merchants/brand-owners alike.

 

In all honesty, it’s probably not the best idea to work with your other half if you can’t really shut off one channel and move to the next, just like that.

 

Are there competitors doing something similar and what would you say is your strength or unique value proposition?

There’ll always be competition, especially in industries that has potential for profits. We’re looking at a holistic integrated platform allowing users to create, trade and interact.

 

How has the journey been running a business together with your other half?

Annoying. It’s a strain, and I’m overly demanding. But my brain departmentalises things, so while I’d like to kill him in the office, he’s still the best hubby-to-be!

In all honesty, it’s probably not the best idea to work with your other half if you can’t really shut off one channel and move to the next, just like that. Not seeing eye to eye at work is a definite. Have to be forgetful to arguments, forgiving to mistakes, and have patience.

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