Ben Chan’s thoughts and the secrets to his success, revealed in an exclusive e-mail interview from Europe. Excerpts:
After establishing and introducing more than two dozen lifestyle brands, and moving to your own building last year, where does Suyen Corp. go from here?
I have learned to keep my options open and try new endeavors. Aside from fashion retail, we have likewise ventured into food with several brands lined up to open within the year. We are also expanding our lineup of clothing brands by introducing several exciting brands within the next three years. The beauty sector is another industry that we are keen on growing our business.
Apart from hard work, timing and perhaps luck, to what factors do you attribute the success of Suyen Corp. Marketing and celebrity power, perhaps? If not, what are the other factors?
Adapting to change in different aspects, such as trends, the economy, and sociopolitical conditions. These are important factors to consider in building a business. Bench is known for its celebrity and marketing strategies, but product innovation, human resources and pricing are also important factors to consider when assessing success.
As far as Suyen is concerned, how important are celebrity endorsers in moving goods and adding prestige to a brand? What are the limitations of such a marketing strategy?
Celebrity endorsement is important in terms of creating impact and achieving recall for the brand. Usually, an effective endorsement helps move products and adds prestige to the brand. The only limitation would be a tendency for the campaign to shift its focus more on the celebrity than the product.
Your celebrity endorsers—from Richard Gomez to Coco Martin—are all or have been popular, respectable, and with huge followings. But what else do you look for in a celebrity or famous personality that would convince you to sign him or her up?
We normally sign up famous personalities or celebrities who best exemplify the personality and character of the brand. These are those whom our customers would want to look up to or emulate, support and patronize. Usually these are celebrities or personalities who are attractive, highly talented and who excel in their chosen fields.
What are three of the most important things you’ve learned since you and your sister Nenita Lim decided to carve out your own identities by putting up Suyen Corp. in 1987? Why?
Integrity is so important in all aspects of the business. This has helped us gain the respect of people within and outside of our organization.
Human capital is also important, especially in our organization. At some point in time you need to seek outside help or professionalize the company if you want to grow.
Then there’s leadership by example. In our line of business, it is every important that we set a good example; or, as they say, we walk the talk. It is important for the people to see you working or actually doing the job at hand.
Looking back, what would you have done differently and why?
Nothing. Everything happens for a reason. Good or bad, I wouldn’t change anything because it all helped me to become what I am today.
Finally, could you share with us at least three pieces of advice to budding entrepreneurs out there who want to follow in your footsteps?
Know who you are, know what you want, and be who you are.
Find your passion. Do what you love and it won’t feel like work.
Find your global positioning early on. Uncover what makes you unique, not just in a local context but in a global one. Work on that and give it everything you’ve got. Alex Y. Vergara