'TINDER FOR FASHION' APP STASHD LAUNCHES IN CHINA
Written on the 22 September 2016
JESSICA Wilson, founder of 'Tinder for fashion' app, Stashd, is making a push into China.
As she says, it is still early days, but even at this stage of the venture, she has learned some important lessons.
China is one of Australia's biggest trading partners, and its huge consumer market is one many of this country's entrepreneurs would like to crack.
The Sydney-based 24 year old shared the insights she gleaned from her experience launching Stashd in China with Business News Australia, a subject she is exploring further at today's Creative3 Summit in Brisbane.
What steps did you take to achieve scale from Sydney to Shanghai?
It's still very early days for Stashd in China, although to date we have had a great launch into the market and traction thus far. We were a part of a Chinese TV series, a cross between Shark Tank and The Apprentice called 'The Next Unicorn', which aired to 15 million. This proved to be an incredible launch pad and learning experience, and we placed third overall, ultimately being the most successful western team and female founder in the competition.
I would contribute our early traction to establishing relationships with a local partner early on, building a specialised advisory board, completely over-hauling the app and localising for the market and local know-how. We are opening a Stashd HQ in Shanghai hopefully by the end of this year with our new partner.
What are your tips for other Australian brands looking to tackle the Chinese market?
1) Localise. Ideally with a local partner. We have spent the first short months of our journey into China establishing partnerships with companies who have a strong presence and reach in the nation for both exposure and localisation knowledge. We have had to adapt a huge amount of the Stashd app to meet these local requirements, including new login processes, hosting, servers, payment options, language and currency.
2) Learn. Leverage the knowledge of people who have been successful in China - especially for setting up business structures, recruiting and legalities. We've tackled this by starting to build a board specifically for China - adding connections and know-how to our strategy.
3) Nurture. The way in which you engage in business conversations is very different to the western world. China has much more focus on the relationship stage and getting to know you prior to doing business together. Trust is viewed as the most important thing when doing business, even over contracts.
What do you wish you would have known when you started your scale into China?
How much China is its own world. Payment systems are different, and app stores are completely different. There are roughly 10 main app stores in China, as opposed to just Google Play and Apple iTunes in the western world. So launching an app and developing the App Store Optimisation (ASO) for each store involves a unique approach.
I would also add that establishing a license to be able to trade is an incredibly in-depth process. If you're going into China without a Chinese partner this can be incredibly hard, so looking back, we would of established those ties in China a lot sooner.
Any surprise findings in your journey into the Chinese market so far?
The numbers still shock me. Our engagement rates in China are close to 5X that of the western world. We've identified a niche in the market for what Stashd offers and we are just different enough to gain some great organic traction. We featured in the Tencent app store just three weeks after launching.