The world is never short of people possessing great ideas. But what we don’t see often are doers, people who bring these concepts to life. Bridging the gap between Asian brands and discerning consumers, Cheryl Ho started Moxie, a multi-label womenswear boutique in Singapore back in 2017. “Instead of a standalone merchant, I believe in having a symbiotic relationship where my partners and I can grow in tandem,” she explains.
“The word ‘Moxie’ actually means courage, to have the nerve and dare to be different.” She explains confidently.
“The modern women today are probably career women who are driven by passion and work. I hope that with Moxie, they can be empowered to face their daily challenges. It’s not just about looking the part with Moxie, but being the part as well.”
Lamenting about past experiences involving similar outfit clashes in public, Cheryl aims to bring “newness” into the industry by curating Asian labels that define what the Moxie woman needs.
While Moxie started in 2017, Cheryl was already ruminating on the idea since 2015, when she was still an undergrad in NUS. “Without prior experience, it was tough finding a job in the fashion industry. I started from the bottom and interned for four months before being offered a full-time job,
Fortunately for her, Cheryl’s family and friends were very supportive throughout her entrepreneurial journey. “Even though I had a lot of convincing to do at the start, my family ultimately gave me the blessings. As do all parents, they just want the best for their children. My mom even started doling out very good business advice!”
Shedding light on the hardships of an entrepreneur’s life, Cheryl generously shares her advice for budding entrepreneurs. “Maybe it’s cliché, but I would say just do it and don’t overthink it!” She reveals.
“Try fast, fail fast, and try again. If it is not the right product, don’t harp on it – move on to the next idea and do it well. Execution is always key to the success of a business.”
Emboldened by optimistic online sales, Cheryl decided to go against the grain of logic and went offline with a store at Mandarin Gallery. This was a time when most shops were going online. “Many people think I am crazy, but I prefer to say I have Moxie.” As though proving her point, Moxie Paragon was opened a year later. Two years, two shops in the heart of Orchard Road.
As if it wasn’t enough
Sharing with me the fundamental difference between running a physical retail space and a digital store, the 25-year-old businesswoman has found joy (and knowledge) through interactions with her customers.
“With a physical store, you can see who your customers are, what they like and how they shop. If I’m in the store, I will have a chat with them to understand them better. But operations-wise, a physical outlet is more difficult to manage.”
Looking back, Cheryl says her biggest takeaway would be the relationships forged with her brand partners and customers. “The founders, designers of local brands and even one of my regular customers have now become dear friends of mine whom I can share a coffee and a meal with”.
Cheryl remains brutally honest to girls vying to survive in the fashion industry. “My advice to young girls who want to work in the fashion industry? They have to be ready to slog it out. A lot of glam is posted on social media, but these are not accurate depictions. Be prepared to get your hands dirty, literally – as you move goods in and out, from stock room to shelves and vice versa.” She says firmly.
“Entrepreneurship is not a bed of roses. It’s a marathon and there are going to be ups and downs throughout the journey. During the tough times, it is very important to make sure you have the support you need.”
Whether it is for women who are looking to add a pinch of spice to their everyday wardrobe, or women exploring new silhouettes, Moxie will continue to strive for women empowerment. And Cheryl and her team will be there to help in every step of the way.