Brian Zeng - Chief Marketing Officer of OWNONLY

I always make a small list of things that I plan to finish before work. Having that visual aid helps keep me on task when things get hectic. I also like to get through emails first thing and add things that need to be done to my list.

Brian Zeng is the chief marketing officer of OWNONLY, a multinational company that specializes in providing custom-tailored business and casual suits to its global customer base through an online boutique.

OWNONLY leverages its employees’ wide array of talents and experiences to get unique perspectives on how to provide value to its customers. OWNONLY takes great pride in the fine imported Italian fabrics that it uses to craft the suits in its Chinese factories. The process of ordering a suit from OWNONLY is streamlined with the customer’s specific needs in mind to make customized men’s fashion possible for customers worldwide.

Brian is also a digital marketing consultant who uses Internet marketing strategies to generate traffic and convert customers for his clients. He’s an expert in SEO, social media, copywriting, content development, content marketing, and web design.

Why are you passionate about the industry you’re in?

The growing area of e-commerce is a fast-paced and exciting part of the marketplace. Fashion is also fast-paced, and integrating the technology and e-commerce marketing strategies means there will always be new ways to interact with your audience.

OWNONLY is not only a men’s fashion brand, but also a concept that aims to bring the custom lifestyle to everyone. We’re also planning on building platforms for designers that will allow more people to get involved with fashion design on a smaller scale and close that gap between consumers and production.

What does your typical day look like, and how do you make it productive?

Because we’re new and growing, you can imagine that it’s usually pretty busy. And sometimes, if you jump straight in unprepared, it’s hard to get organized.

I always make a small list of things that I plan to finish before work. Having that visual aid helps keep me on task when things get hectic. I also like to get through emails first thing and add things that need to be done to my list.

Throughout the day, I check things off my list, which helps me see that the team is on track and making progress. It seems almost too simple, but in a busy atmosphere, why would I need anything more complicated?

How do you bring ideas to life?

I love new ideas. Sometimes you have what you think is the most brilliant idea, but then you tell someone else and find out it’s not. But there was still a spark for a reason, and throwing the idea around with others is a good way to show you the potholes and the idea’s merits. You can then build the idea into a plan. After that comes the first trial, where you roll up your sleeves and get to work. Ideas without hard work are wasted.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

Mobile apps. People are always connected, and there are new and exciting apps for almost everything. We’re even working on our own app for OWNONLY. Payment through apps is new and really cool. I first saw it when a customer ahead of me in a convenience store paid for a drink by having a QR code scanned.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

My morning routine. As I mentioned earlier, I always make a quick list of things to do for the day and read a book or the newspaper while I have breakfast.

Having that time to relax with one of my favorite hobbies — and doing something mentally stimulating — gets me mentally prepared for the rest of the day.

What was the worst job you ever had, and what did you learn from it?

I worked at a small international trade firm. The manager only pushed sales and did little to address any concerns of the staff.

What I learned from that experience is how important treating your staff as individuals is to your staff as a whole. This particular company was only concerned with money. That led to unfair practices toward the staff, as well as the clients. Of course businesses need to be financially responsible, but when you hold the bottom line higher than your employees, you can expect disastrous results.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I majored in language and culture in college, but I wish I had pursued business and international trade because it would have helped my foundation. You can always do a good job through hard work, but you can really tap into your true potential by working at something you love.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Reevaluate. When you have a clear goal, it’s important to take time to get feedback from your staff and make changes to optimize all aspects of the business.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Hire people you can trust to do the job, and then trust them to get it done. As an entrepreneur, you have a great deal of commitment to seeing that your startup is successful, and it’s easy to slip into micromanaging your staff. Having trust will build a strong team with a high morale.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

There is a phrase “learn to walk before you run,” and I think I didn’t really understand it in the beginning. You always want to push and go faster, but then, when you think you’re getting somewhere, you suddenly realize so many little things you didn’t take into account that are now problems.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Install or trade artificial turfs in your city. I was a marketing consultant for forestgrass.com, an artificial turf manufacturer in Wuxi, China. I see a lot of business potential all over the world due to water shortage and home improvement needs.

Tell us something about you that very few people know.

I would love to visit Iceland because of the beautiful scenery there.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

Getting customers to trust you enough to send money online without ever seeing you is one of the biggest obstacles we face. We can have the most attractive websites and best lines of men’s fashion, but in the end, customers have to trust that their bank accounts are safe. PayPal was probably the most useful web service for that reason.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Steve Jobs’ biography because he had the vision of innovation to change the world. It’s an idea that I think all entrepreneurs should share. We shouldn’t be here doing what we love for money or success. We should be doing it because we want to change the world.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group, is a great example of a successful entrepreneur. He started with an idea and a team of only 18 people. He now has one of the most successful enterprises in China.

Connect:

http://www.ownonly.com/
OWNONLY on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ownyoursuit

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