Name: Diana Fung
Graduating Year: 2011
Years at GSIS: 2009-2011
University College & Degree: University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business; BS in Economics, Major in Finance and Operations and Information Management
Current city of residence: Hong Kong / Shanghai / Manila
Could you introduce yourself a bit (background & profession)?
After graduating from GSIS, I studied at University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business. I worked at Bain & Company as a management consultant in the Greater China office, specializing in the retail & consumer goods sector. In 2019, after four years as a consultant, I left my job to start my own business.
In 2019, you launched your e-commerce retail start-up, Home de Luxe. Can you tell us more about your business?
Our mission is to bring hotel-quality, stylish linens to home at a reasonable price point. I realized there was a gap in the online marketplace for quality, trusted home linens in Asia. Friends often told me they don’t know where to buy bedsheets; some of them were even bringing them back from the US! I started Home de Luxe in late 2019, and we are currently on Lazada, Shopee, Zalora in Southeast Asia. Since our launch, we’ve shipped out 500,000+ orders and are currently ranked as #1 brand by sales revenue in Bedding & Bath in our current marketplaces.
What do you like most about being an entrepreneur?
I take pride in knowing I have created something from scratch. Being fully responsible for every decision and outcome was a driving force for me to push myself and innovate constantly. I have enjoyed every bit of the journey – the highs and the lows, even the mundane tasks in between. When you put in all you’ve got and see your hard work paid off, you’ll be rewarded with a sense of pride and fulfillment that could not be replaced by any other job out there.
What is the biggest challenge in your career?
The global pandemic, which I’m sure many are affected by as well. It happened half a year after we launched - our operations came to a standstill because of the logistical restrictions imposed. Nevertheless, we stayed positive and motivated throughout this period. When we could not send out any orders, we spent our time doing in-house, creative marketing, so that customers would hear about us. When deliveries resumed in a few months, our orders and customer base started to ramp up.
What is your advice for any alumni looking to start their own business?
Take the leap of faith and just do it. I was used to (particularly as a consultant!) analyzing the pros and cons of each option and hedging my bets. If there is an idea that you feel strongly passionate about, with the potential to become a scalable business – I would say it’s a good time to follow your heart. You don’t need to have the perfect business plan fully laid out before you make a decision. It all comes down to having the willingness and perseverance to see it through.
What are your plans for the future?
My vision is for Home de Luxe to become a household brand in home accessories in Asia. We have been expanding to other categories within Home, with the goal to become a one-stop shop for home solutions. Geographically, we are also planning to expand beyond our current markets, to cover other parts of Asia.
Tell us about your time as a student at GSIS. What was your most memorable GSIS moment?
My first day at GSIS! As a new student in Year 12, I remember feeling nervous before my first day of school. I had transferred from a local school where the environment was completely different, and I had no idea what to expect. But my fears subsided quickly as I met everyone – peers and teachers alike, everyone was so warm and friendly. This is one of the things I love the most about GSIS, the international and open environment where everyone can freely be themselves.
Which friends or teachers that you met at GSIS have you stayed in touch with?
I keep in touch with quite a few friends at GSIS! In particular, some of my closest friends are Divya Jagtiani, who is a lawyer in London right now, and Janice Chung, who studied at Wharton with me and is based in Hong Kong now as well.
What was your favourite subject at GSIS and was it related to anything you actually ended up doing?
My favorite subject had always been Economics – Mr. Leeds was my economics teacher, and I remember always having a lot of fun and interactive discussions in his class. Economics is definitely influential to my day-to-day life, from making small business decisions to gaining a better understanding of the socio-economic issues that we face.
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