If you love shopping on Instagram, you would have come across Bash Clothing. Founded by best friends duo, Maxine & Cecilia while they are still in their teens, the capable lass have came a long way since their days trying to grasp the idea around entrepreneurship while trying to make their online business work. As Bash Clothing turns 5 years old, we have the ladies behind this household brand to talk about their experience as young entrepreneurs. Enjoy!
1. Hi Maxine & Cecilia! Can you please tell us more about yourself and Bash Clothing?
We are Maxine and Cecilia, 23 year olds and we started Bash 4.5 years ago! We have been classmates and friends since high school and on the very first day of our degree, we started Bash in the IT Lab of Sunway University with our very own savings. Bash sells clothings and accessories from street-style, formal wear to evening gowns and every single thing is below RM120!
2. What inspired you both to come up with Bash Clothing?
We wanted to earn some side income while we study to fund ourselves since we were big shophaholics as well. Besides, we wanted to provide young, trendy clothing at an affordable price for girls like us who are not financially independent yet but still want to dress up!Back then, online shopping was very much unaffordable with limited choices in the market so we wanted to dive in and capture the young adult demographic.
3. How Bash Clothing name comes up?
Bash means “party” and it sort of rhymes with “best” and so we thought it would be really quirky to use that as our store name!
4. Where do you get your inspiration for the collection names?
We always name our clothes according to how it makes us feel! For instance, if we have a flowy maxi dress in blue, it reminds us very much of a beach getaway and it will be named something related to beach, waves, seashells and so forth. Recently, we also had a new collection launched that is inspired by the upcoming music-festival and hence the clothes were named after songs of artists in the line-up.
5. Starting a business from scratch must be really tough. What are the challenges you both faced through the process and how the both of you overcome it?
There are challenges that you face at difference stage of building a business. The beginning was probably more about building our reputation and credibility since we were new. We also had to make sure to grasp attention fast and quick so we could build a sizable follower base that can later on be converted into our customers. Then when E-Commerce businesses began to bloom, our biggest challenge was to differentiate ourselves from the rest. Hence, we sought the help from Salesforce to refine and enhance our sales. Other than our price point that is much lower than the rest, we also worked on value-adding services for our customers like style advices, free shipping, review videos and so on.
6. Bash Clothing started when the both of you were still in University. How you girls balanced your studies and business at the same time?
There is no secret behind juggling between studies and business, you just have to be really disciplined and goal-orientated. For the longest time, we had no free time to be out with friends or even to sleep in during weekends. Since we had to be in classes during weekdays, we had to sacrifice our weekend with friends and family to shoot for content and new arrivals. The key takeaway is to stay focused on your goal so you do not find yourself demotivated when your friends are out having fun and you are home packing parcels. However, we never once sacrificed our studies for business because we think studies always come first!
7. What makes Bash Clothing different from other local apparel businesses on Instagram?
Instead of just being an online fashion store, Bash is a community for girls like us who share the same passion for fashion and we aim to empower each other to be confident in what we wear. Other businesses may be focusing on making profits, but we always prioritized our customers’ satisfaction better. We want our customers to have a holistic shopping experience that covers them before and after they purchase from us by giving them style tips, review on model of different sizes and so on. We spend a lot of our time on creating fashion, beauty and lifestyle related content on our account that often invites our customers to contribute their personal tips. These may not help bring sales for us, but it really put a huge smile on our faces when we receive feedbacks from our customers that they really enjoyed the extra contents that we are creating for them.
8. People often said that it’s best not to work with your friend, let alone running a business together. What’s your take on this?
We have to agree to disagree on this because it is not the case for us. In fact, we are always grateful to have started this together because Bash would not have made it here without us constantly motivating each other and sharing the burden. We think two minds are definitely better than one and our characteristics complement each other well which plays a huge factor in growing the business.
9. Are there any exciting plans for Bash Clothing which we all can look forward to in the coming months?
For the coming months, we have lots of giveaways arranged for our girls as a token for their unconditional support and loyalty! We will also be planning for our 5th Birthday Bash very soon since we received overwhelming responses from our girls to organize a bigger one.
10. Any words of advice which you can offer to those who wanted to start their online business but are too afraid to take the first step?
Starting an online business is easier said than done. Most of the time, there will be sweat, tears and disappointment when things do not turn out the way you expected. If you are not 100% determined to take on the struggles behind becoming an entrepreneur, chances are you should not because you will find yourself stagnant and demotivated when you feel like things are not working out. If you want to do it, do it with 100% passion and expect obstacles along the way. Besides that, NEVER do it just for the money because your motivation will eventually wear out. We have always been passionate about building a community of confident and well dressed girls and that is why we lasted for 4.5 years!