Spotted by ShopperBoard: Topazette

The name of local online fashion store Topazette is inspired by the founder’s birthstone, Topaz. Founded in 2009 by Josefyn Lim at the peak of the LiveJournal blogshop era, the brand has come a long way since then.

Today, it has expanded beyond women’s fashion to carry international beauty brands and kids’ clothing from their very own ‘Little Topazette’ label, representing the founder’s forward-thinking and constant drive for improvement and innovation in the fashion industry.

After almost a decade since the founding of Topazette, we speak to ShopperBoard merchant Josefyn about her brave entrepreneurial journey in the world of fashion and her take on the drastic shifts in retail shopping trends.

  • Take us back to the beginnings of Topazette. How did you get started on your own fashion label, and what was your main motivation for doing so?

    It started out as a hobby in 2009 and I just wanted to do it for some extra income. Also, I really like to shop. In 2013, I decided to focus on it full-time because I wanted a job with flexible hours so that I can spend more time with my kids.

  • What was the biggest challenge of setting up your own fashion label in the early 2000s, and what are some of the new challenges that you face today?

    In the pre-Internet era, people were not used to shopping online, so it took us some time to build trust with our customers.

    Today, managing a team is my biggest challenge as it requires finding the right people for the job. As our brand expands, we have more manpower issues to deal with especially on the retail front.

  • In your opinion, what would you say is the greatest change in the local fashion industry that you had to adapt to in the past 10 years?

    During the LiveJournal days, most of our items were shipped from overseas because travelling was not yet accessible and affordable since there were no budget airlines at that time. It was also easier to run a fashion brand, for example, a photoshoot would not require as much effort as they do today. I could shoot my clothes from home and still acquire sales!

    Nowadays, consumers are more conscious about branding and better workmanship when it comes to shopping for apparels. We also have to constantly adapt to new modes of marketing, such as conducting live try-on videos.

  • Throughout the years of managing Topazette as a founder, what is your proudest moment by far?

    The day we finally opened our retail store at Orchard Gateway, #02-07. Even though I still prefer running an online business over managing a retail store, owning a retail store is a big commitment and I’m proud that I took the leap of faith.

My advice would be to project your plans long term instead of giving up immediately just because your business is not doing well in the first few months. With consistency, things will definitely get better. It took me three years of hard work just for Topazette to break even and start generating profit.

  • Can you share with us an unforgettable collection that you’ve created for Topazette, and why that particular collection resonated with you?

    The Ombre Series. The series accompanied my friends and many customers through many important milestones of their lives, and we are happy to be part of them.

    It was also a significant step for us in creating a more inclusive brand as we manufactured an extensive size range (from XS to 3XL) for this particular series.

  • What was your experience moving from an online fashion label to a brick-and-mortar retail store?

    Retail business can be really challenging and demanding, and managing manpower is something that I am still trying to be better at as I have no experience in this aspect.

    However, expanding to retail has definitely increased our brand exposure by allowing us to reach out to more people. Another positive experience is that we got to get up close and personal with shoppers who have been shopping with us online for a long time. The retail outlet also improved our overall brand experience as it provides a space for those who are keen on purchasing from us online but afraid of getting the wrong size to try out our apparels in person.

  • What inspired you to create Little Topazette, your very own kids’ series?

    My kids! I’m currently a mother of four sons, but I have always wanted a daughter and I hope that I will have one someday to twin in Topazette with me.

  • What inspired you to branch out to beauty products in the form of Topazette Beauty, and which specific international beauty brand would you recommend to our ShopperBoard followers?

    As an avid fan of beauty products, I was introduced to the products that are currently listed on our website through an influencer friend. After personally using the products for a few years, I decided to start selling them under the Topazette brand as I saw her recruiting distributors.

    I would personally recommend Susenji as a lot of my friends and relatives really like the Orange Mofa Detox Drink.

  • In order to stay competitive amongst the many local fashion brands that we see nowadays, what are your future plans for Topazette?

    We hope to introduce a full range of self-manufactured apparels. Despite being a fast-fashion brand, our goal is to create apparels that can be worn for a long time without going out of style.

  • What is one piece of advice that would you give to fellow female entrepreneurs who are looking to start their own fashion label in today’s shopping retail climate?

    I personally feel that it is a lot harder to start a fashion label today compared to 10 years ago, especially with this ongoing pandemic. The pandemic has made it much harder to travel and source for products and factories, and the economy is also pretty bad right now. However, I believe that consistency and hard work will always pay off eventually.

From lingerie and swimwear to children’s clothing and beauty products, Topazette is a fashion label for women of all ages and style preferences. Whether you’re a stay home mum or looking for bridesmaids dresses to attend an upcoming wedding, shop Topazette now on ShopperBoard!

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