The 30 Under 30 Entrepreneurs are Carving Their Own Niche in Asia’s Retail and E-Commerce Industry

The 30 Under 30 Entrepreneurs are Carving Their Own Niche in Asia’s Retail and E-Commerce Industry
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Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia

This year’s 30 Under 30 Asia: Retail & Ecommerce category features entrepreneurs who have identified gaps in even the most crowded markets.


Sstarting with a study trip to the Philippines at the age of 11, Yoomee Hwang has traveled the world, visiting 37 countries on six continents. Over the years, family and friends would ask her to pick up their favorite items from local stores. Eventually, Hwang saw a business opportunity, which landed him a spot in this year’s competition. Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia List: Category Retail and e-commerce.

During her first year at Yonsei University in Seoul, she sold suitcase-friendly (and customs-compliant) products online, Hwang says. “I called it ‘cross-border e-commerce by hand,’” she recalls with a laugh. After graduating with a degree in business and cultural studies in 2017, Hwang took the idea more seriously and launched YOLO, a website with Junho Choi, 31, to broker the sale of products brought back to South Korea by The travellers.

Forbes Asia

When the pandemic grounded flights, Hwang was forced to change direction, and in 2020 she launched online marketplace Croket. In the first year, it listed 147,000 local products from 8,000 sellers (most having migrated from the previous website). Today, Croket users in South Korea can choose from some 700,000 different items, from Thai mango jelly candies to French handbags, from 25,000 sellers in 89 countries. More than 3 million people have downloaded the app and its cumulative gross merchandise value exceeds 155 billion won ($115 million), with YOLO reducing its sales. The Seoul-based has so far raised around 6.3 billion won in funding from investors including South Korea-focused Strong Ventures to expand outside South Korea and undertake new ventures. projects as a second-hand goods platform, Hwang said.

“Yoomee is young, and she looks even younger than she is,” says Kihong Bae, co-founder and managing partner of Strong Ventures, YOLO’s largest backer. “But inside I felt this hyper-competitiveness. She has a fire inside her.

Hwang is one of many entrepreneurs in the Retail and e-commerce category fighting for a share of competitive markets by focusing on a specific niche.

Indonesia Rizky Arief Dwi Prakoso, Karina Innadindya et Amron Naibaho, noticed a gap between luxury and budget options in the country’s perfume market. In 2019 they launched NCSM (pronounced “humans”) to offer quality perfumes at reasonable prices while capitalizing on local ingredients and innovative techniques. Their Unrosed perfume, for example, is made without roses but with palmarosa from Java using a method called soliflore. HMNS claims to have sold 800,000 bottles last year. Beyond perfumes, they now offer room fragrances and are expanding to Malaysia this year.

Chia Pei Qi, co-founder of Delugs.

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In Singapore, Chia Pei Qi, passionate about watches and leather goods, co-founded Delugs in 2018 with her husband, Kenneth Kuan (over 30 years), to meet the demand for quality bracelets and accessories for luxury watches. The Singapore-based brand has moved from leather to rubber straps in 2022, including the one worn by Ed Sheeran for his Patek Philippe 5203G World Time during his second show in the city at the Capitol Theater in February.

Vanshika Kaji, a fourth-generation textile entrepreneur, co-founded Indian medical gown brand KNYA Med in 2020. Initially focused on women’s workwear and uniforms for schools and hotels, Kaji pivoted to protective equipment individual and expanded its offering to gowns and laboratory coats. KNYA Med aspires to become the “Nike for healthcare professionals,” prioritizing functionality, comfort and fashion.

and wellbeing

The entrepreneurs on the list are also capitalizing on health and wellness trends spreading across the region, with the goal of making healthy habits more convenient for everyone.

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Vaibhav Makhija, for example, co-founded the easy-to-consume candy-like gummy supplement brand What’s Up Wellness. Launched in 2021, the company was bootstrapped before raising a seed round from angel investors in 2022. Last year, it secured more than $1.7 million in seed funding led by Unilever Ventures, marking the venture capital’s first investment in a health and wellness company in India. The brand has expanded its product offerings for various uses, such as stress relief and sleep, and plans to add more.

Ilyas Anane, founder of Vitable.

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Vitable in Australia is another example. Co-founded by Ilyas Anane In 2019, Vitable is a subscription vitamin service based in Sydney with monthly deliveries based on the customer’s health, lifestyle and dietary needs. The online service provides daily vitamin packets determined via a detailed questionnaire and has more than 130,000 customers across Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific region.

Maya kale in Singapore, has been battling polycystic ovary syndrome since the age of 15. After extensive research, endless medical appointments and significant expenses, she says she discovered a solution in natural medicine, which led her to create Moom Health in 2021. The company provides hair supplements. and skin treatment, stress reduction and sleep improvement and has recently expanded its product line to treat menstrual problems.

Clean, lasting beauty

For entrepreneurs on this year’s 30 Under 30 Asia list, clean, sustainable beauty is all the rage – and Australian beauty entrepreneurs are loving Natassia Nicolas Grace open the way. The 29-year-old worked with wellness brands to improve their supply chain transparency and ethical sourcing before starting her own skincare company, Conserving Beauty, in 2021. She makes wipes makeup and patented sheet masks that can be dissolved in water after use. leaving no microplastics or other waste behind, claims the Melbourne-based company.

Natassia Nicolao Grace, fondatrice de Conserving Beauty.

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His compatriot Rachel Wilde0The decade-long battle with acne led her to launch tbh Skincare in 2020. The vegan anti-blemish products are free of benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, ingredients commonly found in over-the-counter creams , and are marketed by Australian. retailers Priceline and Coles. Last year, tbh merged its skincare portfolio with Australian skin serum maker Boost Lab to become York St Brands, with Wilde becoming the company’s marketing director.

In India, the sisters Shubhika et Suramya Jain founded RAS Luxury Skincare, a brand of oils sold directly to customers. The company uses natural plants sourced from Indian farmers and has also championed a bottle recycling campaign with sustainability in mind. RAS received $2 million in seed funding from Indian firm Sixth Sense Ventures and last year it raised $1.5 million from Green Frontier Capital, a venture capital firm based in New York which supports Indian companies in the fight against climate change.

Check out our full 2024 30 Under 30 Asia edition: Retail and e-commerce list iciand full 2024 30 Under 30 Asia cover, click ici.

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