We love Asian street trends, beauty styles and brands, but there was a point in time where accessibility was difficult. While Asian dramas were circulating online through various sites and engaging a new international audience, fans craved to have tangible products versus online downloads and streaming. YesAsia was founded in 1998 when Joshua K. Lau and Priscilla Chu addressed the growing need of consumers interested in Asian entertainment goods along with the neologistic Hallyu wave that was flowing across Asia in the late 1990s.
As interest surged, so did the fascination with Asian clothing styles and brands being seen in that entertainment world. As online retail reached new heights in the 2000s, YesAsia, again at the forefront, breached the barrier to Asian street fashion by launching YesStyle in 2006. Those coveted looks could suddenly be easily searched and bought through the e-commerce giant.
From financial analyst to founder and CEO, Stanford University graduate Joshua K. Lau shares with us a bit of the history regarding the expansion into Asian fashion with YesStyle and future aspirations for this sector of his company.
Audrey Magazine: As the world’s largest online retailer for Asian fashion, what compelled or inspired you to create YesStyle?
Joshua K. Lau: We found that many people were interested in and eager to try out Asian fashion, and we’re always looking for ways to serve our customers. We thought that we could provide reliable service and a large selection of quality products to fill this need. We now carry fashion from South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and recently have begun carrying fashion from China.
AM: When did you first find an interest in fashion, particularly street wear and street styles, and e-commerce platforms?
JKL: Our business started in 1998 as YesAsia.com, which sells Asian entertainment products online, so we’re familiar with e-commerce operations. Then in 2006, I noticed that my wife, Priscilla (who’s also a co-founder of the company), was buying clothing online. After that, we decided to launch YesStyle.com.
AM: What motivates you to keep building your company?
JKL: I love to see our ideas realized. On a daily basis, we come up with and implement new ideas to serve our customers and improve our business. It’s fun to watch it happen.
AM: Since the establishment of YesStyle.com in 2006, can you share with our readers some of the challenges that have emerged over the years and some of your favorite accomplishments?
JKL: It’s been a challenge for us to remain competitive while also making quality a priority, and I’m proud that we’ve been able to maintain that balance. We’ve seen competitors offer fashion at very low prices but with sub-standard quality, and we think it’s necessary to avoid that path.
AM: What do you feel are some of the pros and cons that social media advances have presented since the beginning of YesStyle?
JKL: Social media can help us tremendously. If we serve our customers well and they’re happy with YesStyle, they’ll tell their friends using social media. It’s happening much faster than a few years ago, so we make it a priority to ensure every customer is satisfied with the products and services from YesStyle. In the end, we hope that they’ll pass their good experience with YesStyle on to their friends.
AM: What are your goals for the future of YesStyle, and how do you see your company changing in the next few years?
JKL: We’re always working to improve customer experience with YesStyle. For example, we recently launched a YesStyle App for mobile devices and will update it regularly. We’re also expanding our selection with Korean beauty items and lifestyle products. We want to become the place where people can find the most fashionable products from Asia without actually travelling there.
AM: Finally, when you do find time to relax, what are some of your favorite things to do?
JKL: I like spending time with my 7 year-old son. We play soccer and badminton, and also go hiking together.