By Jer’Mykeal McCoy
Phresh & Professional
MONTREAL – Nicole Fu is on her way to becoming a force in the affordable online fashion world of the great north – Canada to be exact. The 23-year-old Vancouver and Singapore native is the founder and CEO of Jolietta.com, an e-boutique website specializing in women’s fashion. Fu felt that Canada needed a stylish yet reasonably priced alternative for women’s fashion, one, which she could provide. Since the e-fashion market is booming, she felt no harm in grabbing a piece for her country.
“That and the fact that the online shopping world is exploding; yet it is not that big in Canada yet, so I wanted to bring that here,” said Fu.
Jolietta is only three-weeks-old, but the company targets women who are in thier most youthful state. Fu describes her ideal customer as a “Jolietta” girl. She is the type of woman who is feminine, and who has a girl-next-door vibe about her. A woman who appreciates slyly standing out in a crowd and who is not worried about what others are wearing
Fu planned to use her savings to start her online company, but with the help of her family and friends she was able launch her company for less.
“I was initially going to finance it with my savings, but then my lovely Grandpa gifted me with a graduation present in the form of money, so that financed Jolietta. My Dad chipped in too,” said Fu. “However, I kept startup costs to an absolute minimum. The models were friends or friends of friends, and my two graphic designers and web designer were acquaintances/friends who gave me really good prices.”
Even though Fu does not have to worry about her attire everyday from a superior, she still is adjusting to being her own boss.
“It feels… unreal,” she says. “But sometimes I wish I had a boss to push me, set deadlines for me.”
Fu’s educational schedule did come in a timely manner. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Statistics and a minor in English Literature from Montreal’s Concordia University this past fall, but a world-sized education is what she is used to. Raised in Vancouver, Canada and Singapore, Fu is fluent in both English and Mandarin – with grasps of French, Japanese, and Malay (national language of Indonesia). During her collegiate career, she participated in an exchange program in Tokyo, Japan where she took classes in Japanese language, culture, and business. In appreciation of her educational experience, Fu states,
“I think my diverse education – diverse in the subjects I studied and cities I lived in – has helped me become a more worldly and well-rounded person. It has enhanced my PR (public relations) and problem-solving skills, and made me an expert in intercultural communication.”
Fu now does the reviewing of accounts for Jolietta, giving credit to all the accounting classes she took while in college. She started her college career at St Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The following year she took part in an exchange program that allowed her to study in Tokyo, Japan. While in Japan, Fu connected with people from around the world and learnt the basics of the Japanese language. After this experience, she transferred to Concordia University in Montreal, Canada were she completed her last two years of school.
She encourages students who want to establish their own businesses to start thinking of ideas and opportunities now. Fu says it is likely take many ideas before you find the one.
One aspect of her company that is important, is giving back to the community. Tonight Jolietta is having an end of Movember party in Montreal. Movember is a moustache growing charity event held during November each year that raises awareness and funds for prostate cancer. Jolietta has been supporting this cause throughout the month by having mustached-themed accessories to raise money for the charity. Jolietta also donated accessories earlier this month to the 12th Annual CASCO McGill Charity Fashion/Dance Show and Silent Auction. The event was held on Nov. 16th in Montreal to raise money for The Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation.
Jolietta is not the typical company so Fu’s workdays do not run in the 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. format. Some days she will be on the phone and/or emailing all day. There are the photo shoot days where she has to wake up at 5 or 6 a.m. and work till after 8 p.m. This is the work necessary for Jolietta to conquer not only Montreal but also the rest of Canada, and eventually, the United States.