Digital Bootcamp Asia Podcast

Female Entrepreneurship in China with Emily.T.Y Cheung, Founder of Shake to Win

August 05, 2020 Natasha Fang Season 1 Episode 5
Digital Bootcamp Asia Podcast
Female Entrepreneurship in China with Emily.T.Y Cheung, Founder of Shake to Win
Chapters
Digital Bootcamp Asia Podcast
Female Entrepreneurship in China with Emily.T.Y Cheung, Founder of Shake to Win
Aug 05, 2020 Season 1 Episode 5
Natasha Fang

Emily is co-founder of the fast-growing SAAS travel platform, “Shake To Win,” (STW) launched in 2017. STW is a global travel lifestyle platform for outbound Chinese independent travelers and leading European travel destinations and suppliers. STW’s mission is to help preserve cultural heritage across countries through sustainable tourism. Emily is an avid adventurer, which has allowed her to set foot on all five continents and in over 60 countries and 200 cities, and to share her experiences through her travel blog and published journals. With over 13 years of digital marketing agency and data analytics experience, Emily is Co-Founder and Chief Growth Officer of CREATEC, a full-service cross-culture award-winning communications agency founded in 2014 and recently named China Advertising’s 2017,2018,2019 Independent Ad Agency of the Year. She has nourished the growth and transformation of the agency as well as many of its clients including brands such as Ballantine’s, Coty Group, Zegna, C-Trip, Descente, GNC, Anta Group, VF group, Walmart China. She is also Co-Founder of Shanghai Creative Collective (SCC), a dynamic non-profit community of the city’s top young creative professionals, where she helps produce its slate of MADNESS events and more.

Connect with Emily.T.Y Cheungon LinkedIn.

This show is powered by Digital Bootcamp Asia, sponsored by Tolmao Group. Natasha Fang is the Founder and CEO of Tolmao Group, a leading integrated marketing agency headquartered in Shanghai City, China. Recognized for original content, persuasive digital marketing strategies, interactive website designs, and influential event marketing campaigns, she has worked with a variety of clients. Connect with Natasha Fang on LinkedIn.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DigitalBootcampAsia
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/dbasia
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/digitalbootcampasia
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DB_Asia

Show Notes Transcript

Emily is co-founder of the fast-growing SAAS travel platform, “Shake To Win,” (STW) launched in 2017. STW is a global travel lifestyle platform for outbound Chinese independent travelers and leading European travel destinations and suppliers. STW’s mission is to help preserve cultural heritage across countries through sustainable tourism. Emily is an avid adventurer, which has allowed her to set foot on all five continents and in over 60 countries and 200 cities, and to share her experiences through her travel blog and published journals. With over 13 years of digital marketing agency and data analytics experience, Emily is Co-Founder and Chief Growth Officer of CREATEC, a full-service cross-culture award-winning communications agency founded in 2014 and recently named China Advertising’s 2017,2018,2019 Independent Ad Agency of the Year. She has nourished the growth and transformation of the agency as well as many of its clients including brands such as Ballantine’s, Coty Group, Zegna, C-Trip, Descente, GNC, Anta Group, VF group, Walmart China. She is also Co-Founder of Shanghai Creative Collective (SCC), a dynamic non-profit community of the city’s top young creative professionals, where she helps produce its slate of MADNESS events and more.

Connect with Emily.T.Y Cheungon LinkedIn.

This show is powered by Digital Bootcamp Asia, sponsored by Tolmao Group. Natasha Fang is the Founder and CEO of Tolmao Group, a leading integrated marketing agency headquartered in Shanghai City, China. Recognized for original content, persuasive digital marketing strategies, interactive website designs, and influential event marketing campaigns, she has worked with a variety of clients. Connect with Natasha Fang on LinkedIn.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DigitalBootcampAsia
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/dbasia
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/digitalbootcampasia
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DB_Asia

Natasha Fang :

You're listening to Digital Bootcamp Asia Podcast, where entrepreneurs and business owners share their real-life stories and lessons learned on how to start, grow, and excel in their business in the digital era. This show is brought to you by Tolmao Group, an integrated marketing agency. I'm your host Natasha Fang. Emily is co-founder of the fast-growing SAAS travel platform, “Shake To Win,” (STW) launched in 2017. STW is a global travel lifestyle platform for outbound Chinese independent travelers and leading European travel destinations and suppliers. Emily is an avid adventurer, which has allowed her to set foot on all five continents and in over 60 countries and 200 cities, and to share her experiences through her travel blog and published journals. Emily, welcome to the show. Please introduce yourself a little bit and tell us what you do.

Emily.T.Y Cheung :

Sure. Hi, guys. Good evening from Shanghai. Greetings from Shanghai. Thanks Natasha to introduce me to be the guest of this podcast. I'm Emily Cheung Hong Kong Born Chinese based entrepreneur, female. And I have two companies. The first company I co founded with my partners is called CREATEC digital. So it's a digital agency helping brands to do e commerce strategies, as well as the digital branding strategies in China. Another brand I founded three years ago is called Shake To Win. So Shake To Win is SaaS platform connecting the European and global small medium sized business as well as a cultural institution. We work with Tourism board again, as well to connect with the Chinese independent travelers.

Natasha Fang :

Wow. That sounds very impressive.So what are the challenges and difficulties you face of being a female entrepreneur in China?

Emily.T.Y Cheung :

That's actually a very good question. So for me personally, I didn't see any differences between a female and male entrepreneur, but when I being interviewed by multiple media talking about this topic, I think the differences is female entrepreneur need to sometimes we need to carry a lot of roles and responsibilities in multiple scenarios. For example, I'm a daughter, I'm a wife and you know, a boss of a company two companies. So sometimes that your time management is very important your skill of time management ability. So because you need to manage your time into a very, you know, disciplined, you know, scenario for example, I wake up at six, and then I go to bed at 11. So, it's gonna be you know, keep yourself healthy, so that you can focus your important tasks of different company and also your personal life and spend enough time with your family. So I guess Time management is the most important thing as being a female entrepreneur with multiple density.

Natasha Fang :

Then do you feel that you are succeeding in every single role being a good daughter being a...

Emily.T.Y Cheung :

so far so good You can interview my partner, my parents as well as myself, I guess that's if you are a person that says the team about the time and manage well of your time and actually people around you will feel very comfortable of working together with you, your partners, your clients, and as well as you know, your family as well. So I I guess I'm okay. I'm okay. That's a ranking must be past past the average.

Natasha Fang :

Sounds amazing. Do you think you are living a healthy balanced life in Shanghai?

Emily.T.Y Cheung :

Yeah, I think I think I come from Hong Kong. So you know, Hong Kong is always the speed of light is very fast, and Shanghai when they come to Shanghai 11 years ago, I moved to Shanghai 2009, and that time Shanghai was not that fast. But as you're living in Shanghai as well, you see the transformation of the city and the speed of you know, doing business expansion in China. Many brands coming in as well, people walking faster than before. And I think right now the speed of your lifestyle is quite similar Shanghai and Hong Kong. But as I come from Hong Kong, so I used to be much faster. So I guess Shanghai speed for me is kind of like similar to New York, London, Hong Kong, similar.

Natasha Fang :

Yeah. And then you mentioned you wake up at 6am. And go to bed at 11. Yeah. I think it would be interesting for the audience to understand so what's your daily routine?

Emily.T.Y Cheung :

Oh, that's a good question. That is also my secret recipe for being an entrepreneur. Because for being an entrepreneur, you actually manage yourself and you manage your your team as well. So when I woke up at six, I will do some meditation time around like 10 minutes 15 minutes you know, to blank my mind and trying to think about not thinking about something but you know trying to detox off your mind. And then after that I will try to break book and you know, have a coffee and then before my partner wake up and then I don't have any kid yet I feed my cat. So of course, I would enjoy like a self reading time with coffee around one hour. So until 7:30 so I was thought to write some important email to write down the important piece of the day I need to reply to what matter and also like what do I need to do. So then I start writing email from 8am to 9:30am. Basically, the most important thing you need to arrange for the day with your team you already you know, send them an email for your instructional brief, and then nine at 9:30 or 9:30/10a.m. I go back to the office, and then I started to do some, you know, handling the daily issue and when your door is open, so a lot of people will come in with different questions and etc so for the day from 10 to around like three or 4pm that I'm handling the daily issue and around like five to six around so I will have some blank time and then I will try to go to sports or running after work some three times per week or even more and then unless I'm going business trip you know and then after that I will try to get back home around eight and try to make some dinner if it possible or ordering some food waimai. And then finishing up with the eating around nine and then I will also do some pre sleep reading so I love reading along with meals with you know books and etc and listen to podcasts as well for example, and then yes, spend some time conversations with family you know, and then go back to sleep and that's the daily routine. And also another important thing is When you need to go back to office as an entrepreneur, so I did, I will not arrange my time on Monday and Friday to go out and meet the clients. Normally I always arranging my go out time meeting clients either Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. So Monday you kick start off the week you'll always plan you know, having finance meeting review numbers, management meeting and etc. Friday you can stay in the office and do some recap review and all this process. So it make your time your week is more productive with a fixed routine, I have to say. So and also your support and editorial team need your time is arranged like that. So they will respect your time as well and everyone will work more productive if the leader has more productive you know, lifestyle.

Natasha Fang :

Sounds interesting. So did you have a good time management skill when you start it or it's developed over time.

Emily.T.Y Cheung :

Hmm, I guess when I started to work, so I have a business degree studying in Hong Kong, and then I do multiple exchange program overseas. And when I stopped working, after graduations, I actually joined a startup company. So in a startup company, you know, like, not many entrepreneurs as, you know, discipline or as structural as myself. So then I take the brief of my boss with very wide range. So I give you free day, you have to do this project and you manage your time and as a fresh graduate, and I was like, Okay, so how am I going to do it? How am I going to be well, it process how people managing time. So I do a lot of Google, you know, YouTube learnings, I guess. Everyone's not like that. And that seems that I think my characters is always very, you know, discipline. And I'm very, I'm a very focused person. So if I assign that time to do that things, and I'm very, super focused on that. And with that characters, I think it's very helpful. for helping me to transform from a senior management role in the company to become an entrepreneur, because that is very necessary. Yeah, I guess you share the same perspective as well.

Natasha Fang :

That sounds very impressive. So running two companies here in China, so how do you like to stay updated of all the current trends, the changed consumer behavior. Also, as we mentioned, time management, when there are so many social media tools that you need to check out messages manage,

Emily.T.Y Cheung :

I guess the the way how to keep up with the trainees about how motivated of your, your entrepreneurial style for example, Natasha is also one of my role model. I always follow you and your company page that too, you know, always to keep up with what's happening in China, and what's happening all around the world because our business nature is, you know, related to the agency business is bringing brands from overseas to China how to develop an e commerce and digital strategies and reverse how to how to bring the Chinese brands to go overseas to establish a proper branding image and Shake to Win is even more necessary to, for me to understand what's going on with the global economic changes, you know, politic, you know, changes as well, because everything is related with the business, commercial world. That's if there are some policy changes, maybe tourism industry, under the Covid need to have some transformations and there brings the opportunities and inspiration for me to think about, okay, what are the true value, how we can provide more value to the tourism industry under this Covid to transform to become more digitalized or you know, getting more knowledge and understanding through the webinar, for example, that is very important and I'm always Dr. To follow those kind of, you know, at institutional or university or even like, webinars are organized by, you know, powerful organizations, because I guess the way how they see the world changes help me or inspire me for helping the business to tap into the right opportunities and discover the risk at the right time. So it's very important to keep up yourself learning.

Natasha Fang :

So you think by running into companies and also have the chance to work in many different projects, due to also learn and keep up with the trends. So what do you think is the number one challenge and also opportunity of doing business in China?

Emily.T.Y Cheung :

I guess the top challenge if you are overseas, born like for me, for example, the biggest challenge you do business in China is about understanding the practice as well. As the culture, it's very important. And as me because I'm a Chinese entrepreneur, so for me, I guess for me every challenge I encounter in China that is solvable, because I know the language, I know the communication way of how to settle things, you know. So that is very important and talking about the opportunity, I guess, entrepreneurs around the world, everybody's talking about China, but but don't try to be too greedy to achieve many things at one time, because that is impossible. And even though it's impossible now, but you will be just a short terms of success. And if you want to establish like a long term relationship, developing, you know, sustainable business in China, you have to set you have to always carrying a mission and and also under this missions that will you want to achieve in China. And you need to be always remind yourself to be purposeful and then to identify To find the right opportunities and follow your expertise that you have been growing for many years after you graduate, don't try to do many things, many different things in in a short time because then people will think that you are not focused. And and you you seems like everything you can do. So if you decided to do one things, follow your passion, follow your path and consistently, you know, do it for 10 years, 20 years or 30 years, and then you become a domain expert. So I guess those are the interesting thing and talking into the opportunities, I guess, because for our agency business, we have helped a lot of brands to tap into the millennial markets, how to, you know, tap into the youth culture and how to communicate or commercialize the products into our storytelling products in e commerce, you know, like cetera. So I guess, talking about the millennial market, there are 400 millions populations sights and those people are open minded to accept multiple culture even though culture oversea brands overseas so that is a great opportunities. So this is one of the things millennial market and the second market opportunities we are tapping into it's like a pet market. So today I just coming back and meeting with coffee brands in China. And no matter the coffee brand or shoe brands or any car brands, every client felt to me like hey, am I wanted to tap into the pet markets like wouldn't t so how can we do something because I know that there are many people in China over 220 million people population in China have pets. Yeah, and it seems like having a pet it's like a fashion in China right? Is that yes. But then you have to be a pet on the first one doesn't so I would suggest you adopt a cat. And then you're trying to tap into this market understand the how the master things and I always encourage people not going to buy or you know adoption is also adoption of pets is also like a new trend in China to help people to, you know, not that lonely at home. So everyone seems like at our office, everyone seems like a cat or a dog or something. So Pet's, the economy and also millennial youth market youth culture is two opportunities that are taking it very seriously on our business development consideration.

Natasha Fang :

Yeah, I guess yeah. So right in China. A lot of people like either they come to China or live in China wish everything, especially the digital revolution. People just say, well, there's a huge market and I want to achieve everything fast. You mentioned bullet points that to be focused and doing the same thing over again, like experts. Yeah, definitely. So, like isn't the same doing things over and over again. Sometimes it can get pretty boring. So What motivates you to keep it going?

Emily.T.Y Cheung :

I guess it's about curiosity. So I'm a person always curious about people. And connecting with people is the foundation of business. So I'm curious about learning culture from different countries, and how to really leveraging my expertise to create value in the business world connecting two cultures or even three. So being curious is also like a character or drive that's, for me to always be very excited about doing something I don't know. Or, you know, I'm exploring myself in you know, I didn't expect that I can break that limits. But then when I do it, I'm curious and then it helped me to break a lot of barriers and also like to comfort A lot of you know, difficulty, so can be, you know, keep improving and keep growing. I guess being curious is also an is a very important key drive motivate me to keep going no matter what kind of challenge on on in front of me.

Natasha Fang :

Right. Sounds awesome. So did COVID impact your business?

Emily.T.Y Cheung :

For the agency business. The Covid happened in the quarter one right. So our quarter one and quarter two business actually didn't grow a lot. But then quarter three and quarter four and we see that there are incoming more inquiries from clients because they also need to reopen the store and then they need to do more aggressively on e commerce strategy. So we got more and more business in q3 quarter 3 and the Shake to Win the cultural connecting platforms or SAS platforms. It didn't hit quite a bit in quarter one and quarter two but credit to my team, I guess the most interesting things that I see the biggest challenge on so know if nobody going out to Europe or to Mexico to Latin America. So how can we still connect the people, you know, virtually, from our created content from our social media expertise to create like a virtual travel from home campaign. So we work with over 100, you know, brands, b2b players, from Mauritius, futon, Peru, Chile, Amsterdam, the Hague. So all these clients, they still need to be very big, they still want to be very active in the markets, but they don't know where to tap into in China because it's a different language system is a different culture. But the trust is already built from the previous two years. So now it's, it's the matter of how we can help them to virtually set up their identity or visibility in China first, and then further it is to integrate with Chinese digital payments or to do more like all Like presence and etc so that for 2021 when people think that I want to go out Oh, I read something before so that it comes to the top of mind for the travelers when they prepare to go out. Yeah,

Natasha Fang :

that sounds amazing so like using this time to actually strengthen your relations with your partners and also I guess Covid did force them to try Yeah, new experiences, virtual experiences, etc especially you know, Europe and Latin America, they are slower than China, this does actually give them a new perspective and really force to push though innovation further. So um, what is next for your business? Like how do you envision yourself?

Emily.T.Y Cheung :

I guess if we because CREATEC so the agency we have been established for six years and coming to our seven year so it is Like, already a very stable business, or we have multiple clients who engaged with us for more than three years. So the agency business is growing, you know, in a healthy way. And then for Shake to Win, we just incubated it and then we fundraise one and a half years ago, and then we hopefully to, I will hopefully to spend like one or two years more on on making the business foundation as well as the product itself to be more stabilized scalable. And then that I really wanted to do if you ask me that the next dream, real to want to do with something with sustainability. And you know, green lifestyle, something like that, because I think I have two biggest passions in life. The first passion is about appreciation, culture and art. So arts, I'm not artist, but I connected with a lot of artists and your museum. And I really want to one day when people associated with Chinese, and then they can associate us not just like shopping more. I know this five star or whatever, but more like our cultural and appreciation. So this is one of my passions. So I wanted to have more museum to get into China approach to the Chinese millennial and then it's one of my passion and the second passion in my life, I always wanted to think about when nature give us something, and then how do we give back? Or how do we preserve it better? So by you know, doing educational purpose with what is sustainability, why we need to care about this global warming, about this climate changes about how do we consume actually in China we are very good ecommerce landscape. So in the other side at trade off for the conveniences we also create a lot of trash. So basically How a Chinese company or startup if one day I will get successful shake to win. I wanted to move my focus to start up something with education of sustainability mindset. And you know, how we can contribute back to the nature to preserve the nation so so that is the things for into my next adventure. Wow,

Natasha Fang :

sounds really like a big dream. So it's just one more question. So what are your top secrets or like what other advice you would like to offer to especially female entrepreneurs when they want to start their business in China,

Emily.T.Y Cheung :

I guess for overseas entrepreneur female. Before coming to China, I would suggest them to read a little bit of our history and culture and even though it tried to learn some Chinese before coming because it's definitely helpful for you to understand faster when you land in this landscape, and for all for all female entrepreneur, I guess that's one of my advice is we just need to be brave on the biggest, biggest sometimes, you know, when we wanted to do something, we always have some, you know, hesitation because I have kids, I have a hospital and I have a family to take care and then sometimes it you know, a to stop us or moving forwards. And I guess credit to my parents from the educational background and also my my life partners that support me a lot. When I talk to them that I wanted to start up something I wanted to, you know, go go for a different lifestyle and I had this idea and this idea is validated for the market or validated by the industry expert and I wanted to give it a try. So then they say yes, just just go for it and you'll never regret Even though first is being brave, right, the second thing is being you know, how to say having high EQ is also held, right? Because sometimes, you know, when you choose to become an entrepreneur, your life is like being in a roller coaster. You go like, wow, sometime you're, you're Wow, this is so bad and how I'm going to face it, you know. So this gonna be your everyday life. So you have to train yourself to be emotionally stable, about everything that's in front of you, no matter is happy or sad or challenge and etc. And you always need to believe in yourself. Nothing is impossible to solve is about a way is about how to solve it, the tool to solve it, who can solve it? So you need to be super calm, emotional stable, and you're going to have you been through a lot of, you know, challenge in your entrepreneurial journey.

Natasha Fang :

Yeah, that's Very inspiring. Thank you Emily for joining the show so please tell our listeners how they can reach you online.

Emily.T.Y Cheung :

if you guys like our series of this podcast and first follow Natasha's channel because she is a great female entrepreneur and then she helped more entrepreneurs through your voice our story and is very important. And if you guys want to contact with me you can follow my LinkedIn So Emily Cheung and then related to Shake to Win. And also my WeChat account is emily_backpacker because I love backpacking, so I'm very happy here today to have this conversation with Natasha because I think it's very necessary for woman entrepreneur to support woman entrepreneur, and encourage more women to you know, kickstart their adventure in their life. Yeah, sounds great. Thank you guys. Thank you.

Natasha Fang :

Thank you for listening to Digital Bootcamp Asia. Until next time!