“I have a lifetime to use my good and bad experiences to make up for wrong decisions,” says Jerald Adrian Sze.
As a young entrepreneur, Sze went through challenges and took bold steps to make his brand, Straightforward Clothing, a success. A lack of experience in starting a business led him to sacrifice valuable money and time.
There was also the fierce competition in the fashion industry to contend with. But these didn’t stop him from pursuing his vision. He used ambition as his sword and persistence as his shield to fight these battles.
“Being in business is a continuous state of trial and error, and the learning comes as you progress,” he says.
Sze’s motivation comes from people close to him. He intends to give back the love, effort and time his parents showered him for a comfortable life.
In building Straightforward Clothing, he was inspired by his college years at Ateneo de Manila University. Sze and his friends had to figure out every day what to wear since there was no school uniform. That drove him to imagine a wardrobe that everybody would find convenient.
Casual, everyday outfits
He based his designs on casual, everyday outfits that were easy to mix and match. This would give his male and female customers access to stylish yet comfortable pieces, minus the hassle.
Today, he defines success as having a humble attitude and a clear mind. There is nothing more satisfying than making one’s simple ideas come to life, and allowing others to experience what was once a dream.
Reflecting on what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur, Sze says that, first, you have to be good at solving problems. “I think an entrepreneur is a problem-solver by nature. The most valuable businesses are founded on being the solution to the world’s biggest problems.”
Second, you must know how to take calculated risks. He says: “Managing risk is about finding all the information you can before placing your bet. This is a skill I learned the hard way years ago, as there were stores I chose to open in locations that weren’t fit for Straightforward’s market.”
Lastly, you need to work with the right people. “I believe it’s the fastest, most cost-efficient way to bring ideas to life. Having the ability to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the people around you, and giving them the right responsibilities to help you with your goal, are very important skills of an entrepreneur.”
Outside of his workload, Sze spends his free time reading fiction and management books. His daily grind is about running his organization, making sure everyone has what he/she needs to do a great job.
He usually ends the day by having dinner with his family or girlfriend.
As a gift to the youth and aspiring entrepreneurs, Sze shares three pieces of advice:
1) Think and do. Most people have great ideas but they stop at that. Being in business means being in a continuing state of trial and error.
2) In real life, you will be measured not by grades but by the opportunities you can create for yourself and by the risks you can manage.
3) Your wealth in life is measured by the friends and networks you have made. Make great friends in college, and expand your social circle often.
Also, don’t forget to support local brands like Straightforward. —CONTRIBUTED