Well if you want a very unique kitchen design or change the way your house or office looks but don’t want to go the usual way then Ochelly.com is the right place for you to be logging on into. Ochelly.com is an online store company currently based in Fremont, CA, and specializes in offering unique gifts that are home related. The items that they carry are not found normally in the neighborhood stores or department stores, such as bowls that are ergonomic, water powered clock and salad spoons that shaped like flowers! And what’s more, their products have been featured in magazines like Oprah, Bon Appétit, and Women’s World among others.
Yenny Goh is the owner of Ochelly.com and the team meets her for an exclusive tat-e-tat on Ochelly.com.
Q.How did you start up with the business?
I graduated from Santa Clara University and then started working as a web developer for a while. Internet has always held my interest ever since I first learned about it; strictly because, in the online world anything is possible! You can start with virtually nothing but still able to build something of value. That’s very encouraging. We will probably have a much harder time opening a store, considering all the overhead cost that goes into it, if not for the internet. My partner is a stationery designer, mainly for invitations and greeting cards. She owns her own brand and understands about designs. Working together, we came up with Ochelly.
Q. What ignited the spark in you to start a new business venture or to make significant changes in an existing business?
We always cherished the idea of opening an online retail store. But finding a certain niche and choosing what kind of products to sell took all the time. There was even an idea of selling cell phone straps and some other cute things. But those alone probably would not have sustained the business. Eventually we agreed that we wanted to offer products that are attractive and unique as gifts but yet useful and practical. Home comes as a natural choice. Gifts for home are always welcome; whether they are photo frames or cheese graters, they do bring a smile on the face as well as are useful.
Q. What three pieces of advice would you give to college students who want to become entrepreneurs?
Start early, don’t worry too much about details or costs, and don’t ever give up.
You can start a business at any age, but youth is a big advantage. When you are young and don’t have as much responsibilities as adults with families to feed, you might not have to worry so much about a new venture. As I have seen, lot of time, fear is what holds most people back. They have too much to lose and their fear overshadows their desire. Don’t procrastinate. You don’t need to wait until you have a perfect product or plan. Start small and make the product better as you move along. If you really want to be an entrepreneur, don’t let failures stop you. Pick yourself up and start again. When you see successful entrepreneurs, sometimes you will be surprised to find that it is not because of the fact that they are smarter but because of the fact that they are more persistent in what they do; a reason why they are where they are today.
Q. If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
We would have invested more aggressively into online marketing and seo from the very beginning when we had just opened the store. There are millions of websites on the internet and we want people to find us. Getting the word out is crucial.
Q. What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
I would say for each type of business, the top three skills are always different. It depends on the entrepreneur. Some might find their sales skills as most important, some lean towards the technical skills. Regardless, every skill, no matter how trivial, is always valuable to the company. What an entrepreneur really needs to have is the fire in the gut. That’s what drives everything that the person does.
Q. How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?
A. For a product, usually in about 2-3 weeks. For a marketing plan, it usually takes longer, about 3-4 months.
Q. How many hours do you work a day on average?
A. However long it takes to get the job done. That is one of the benefits of owning your own business. I can manage the hours however I like. It doesn’t usually follow the normal office hours of 9 to 5.
Q. What motivates you?
A. Other people’s success. If they can do it, why can’t I?
Q. How do you define success?
A. We want to build a system that can thrive without us having to be constantly present. We may be somewhere at a vacation spot in Bali and the business will still keep going and growing stronger. It takes a great team to make that happen. When we achieve that, then I can consider the business to be successful.
Q. Where did your organizations’ funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?
A. We invested our own money.
Q. What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
A. When our customers e-mailed us and gave good feedbacks or thanked us for our service. That means we are doing something right.
Q. What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
A. One that is very obvious is time management. Working on your own business means setting your own work timings. The other thing is determining your own destiny. Whether the business will be rewarding or not depends on you. On the other hand, when you work for someone else, even if you do well but the company doesn’t, you can still be let go at anytime.
Q. Where you see yourself and your business in 10 years? 20 years?
A. Building more companies. Bigger and better.