Spotlight: Sylvia Yin

With no background in technology nor fashion, Sylvia Yin would never have thought that she would be the co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of a fashion aggregating app at the age of 24.

Shoppr is the brain-child of Yin and two of her friends Nikolai Prettner and Kendrick Wong. Launched in May 2015, the idea of Shoppr came about when Yin visited Wong in Sheffield, United Kingdom where Wong was studying at the time.

 

Together, they came up with the idea of a shopping app. The inspiration came from a problem Yin faced daily which had a lot to do with the lack of fashion materials such as inspiration and how-to style guides available online. On top of this, she found that upon finally finding an item she liked, it would not be available for purchase in the region.

Taking the problem into their own hands, the trio attended startup investment pitching events to seek out investors. They were lucky enough to have angel investors and started off with USD400,000 or RM1.6 million.

Yin’s interest in Behavioural Economics helped largely with Shoppr’s operations through the use of choice architecture and the theories and principles she studied while in university.

SHOPPR2

*Fashion is made easier with Shoppr for today’s modern Malaysian. – Shoppr Image

A yoga lover and a role model to many, Yin was the youngest Malaysian to have made Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia 2016. Many would wonder how this was possible, considering the stigmas that come with having women in leading positions in the workforce.

Working within a male dominated society, gender stereotypes are inevitable; especially in a tech-heavy business such as mobile apps. Yin avoids stereotypes and biases by acknowledging its existence but she chooses to not let these stereotypes define her or hinder her progress. Once you are aware of the stereotypes and biases of being a woman working in a male dominated workforce, she states it is much easier to break away from those negative factors that can hinder your work.

In addition to this, Yin notes the importance of people and culture in a company. As a company grows, office politics and high churn rates are factors that may collapse a company. Thus, she points out that it is important for the people we work with and the culture you work with are appropriate, for the company to develop and expand.

With opportunity constantly presenting itself, Yin and the Shoppr team have high ambitions to become the leader of mobile fashion discovery and shopping in Southeast Asia.

*Text by Chris Tan

*Featured Image: The European Business Review

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