SPECIAL REPORT

The Youth Of Today: Kendrick Wong and Sylvia Yin

by Anton D. Javier
Photography by Jie Rui Tu
21 Jun 2019

Mr. Kendrick Wong and Ms. Sylvia Yin, 27, are the CEO & Founder and Chief Operator of Omnilytics

Omnilytics is a fashion analytics and insights software used by fashion brands and retailers across the globe to deliver the right product at the right price and at the right time. “We track real-time data on the global market, helping business make smarter decisions that drive higher profit,” shares Mr. Wong. “Most of our clients refer to us as their secret weapon,” says Ms. Yin. “We help them identify the right market trends, pricing, discounting strategies, and the right competitor analysis.”

What events led to the start of Omnilytics? Share with us some interesting personal experiences that convinced you that a product like this was necessary.
Mr. Wong:
There wasn’t a particular moment that convinced us but instead, a series of conversations. We speak to fashion brand owners every day, and there is always a common thread in the way they operate. More often than not, brand owners make business decisions based on gut-feel. They stock what they like, they price based on what they feel like. Essentially, this is like playing guesswork, and it's an extremely risky bet to take - especially in today's increasingly fast-paced retail environment. We realised this and paved the way with Omnilytics, where we now help brands and retailers grow with data. Every product, pricing, trend - all backed up by solid facts.

Ms. Yin: I agree. And I also think back to one of our very first clients here in Singapore. She grew her business by 60% with the help of Omnilytics because she started making decisions backed by data. This includes assortment planning and setting discount strategies. Her success story was confirmation to us that what we are doing is valuable - we are helping brands grow.

What were some of the challenges you met at the beginning and how did you overcome them?
Ms. Yin: Earlier on, data adoption was a new concept for many brands and retailers in the industry, and as Ken mentioned earlier, many resort to intuition. It's like a security blanket for them. What's more, 'trust your gut' is a common saying. When you rely on gut instincts, the inaccuracy often leads to overstocking issues, deadstock and misaligned trends. But we knew from the get-go that data isn't the future - it's right now. So to overcome this hurdle, we provided education - where we nurtured and taught brands how to navigate in the world of data. It’s our responsibility to inform and educate, and we're glad that we were one of the first in the country to instil this confidence in them.

Mr. Wong: After trying it out, brands and retailers could see how the data in Omnilytics impacted their business - and they adopted it in a heartbeat.

Would you say that age was ever an issue for you as entrepreneurs? Were there any instances where you felt it was a disadvantage? 
Ms. Yin:
Age was never an issue for us and we owe it to the many young achievers who have gone before us, especially in the tech industry. Being an entrepreneur requires passion, perseverance and grit, and when faced with obstacles in any business, these qualities will get you through - no matter old or young.

But on the flipside, what are the advantages of youth in this space, particularly in fashion and technology?
Mr. Wong:
I've always said that 'in the next few years, I want to be able to say we helped the next generation of business to grow'. Data is no longer an option, it's a necessity. It is the job of the youth to lead the way in data - and when they do, they would have all of the necessary tools and skills to do so.

What advice do you have for young, aspiring entrepreneurs that you wish someone told you when you were only getting started?
Mr. Wong:
I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs, so I know how important it is to seek a mentor. Once you have found one, my advice is for you to always to be curious, and ask about anything and everything. They're there to guide you and ensure you're on the right path. I would also encourage aspiring entrepreneurs to always be prepared. Learn the ropes of the industry, search for the right team, and prepare for the challenges that lie ahead.

Ms. Yin: For me, I would advise young entrepreneurs to fail faster. When a problem arises, it's not ideal to wait and refer to an arbitrary playbook. It doesn't exist. The quicker you experiment to test solutions to your problem, the faster you can fail and learn - the better the chances of your survival.