Founded by Steve Murray from the UK and Lukas Hlavac from Czech Republic, Whoolala is one of the first WFOE E-commerce firms in China.
They capitalized on shifting government policy in China when the Chinese government allowed WFOE’s to operate e-commerce ventures in China in mid-2015.
Founder Steve stated, “It is encouraging to be on the receiving end of government supply policy changes, however, it is still challenging for e-commerce WFOE’s to secure investment, given the highly competitive environment”.
The Founders added that they overcame a tough environment by optimizing, polishing and honing in on their competitive advantage, bringing Asian fashion brands to the Chinese market.
Both Steve and Lukas gained expertise in retail design while living in China for many years before conceiving Whoolala. It was there they keenly spotted the sharp expansion in Asian fashion, noticing vast increases in quality, and design.
While noticing an underdeveloped market they began connecting the Chinese consumer to Asian brands. In their eyes this match was an idyllic one, great prices close to point of production matches the consumerist attitude of the Chinese market, and the newly emerged top-tier designs sprouting across Asia met the demanding fashion-minded customers.
Industry giant Bluebell Group, the leading lifestyle retail group in Asia, noticed the traction Whoolala was making. By giving them backing, Whoolala was able to take their operations to the next level, benefiting from Bluebell’s “deep understanding of marketing and promotion”. They connected with firms across Asia to give Chinese consumers more options than ever before.
A potent Whoolala success story from “Oyster Footwear” offers insight into their rapid traction. After the Thai firm entered China via Whoolala, they gained 300 monthly orders almost immediately.
Attracting tens of thousands of Weibo followers, Whoolala ran their account, managing the influx of Chinese orders. The Thai firm raised their output dramatically, opening a new production line exclusively for Whoolala.
Lane Crawford Joyce Group, world leaders in luxury retail, later showed admiration for Whoolala’s business model. Whoolala embarked on “The Cage”, LCJG’s incubator project with the aim of igniting start-ups in the fashion retail space.
Whoolala later partnered with Lane Crawford to open a physical pop-up shop in Chengdu, giving Chinese consumers access to never-before available Thai and Vietnamese brands.
Whoolala now has 109 Asian designers, approximately 20% of which are Whoolala exclusives.
With a fully-fledged iOS app and website, they boast over 2.5m downloads, with an average order value of 800RMB (120USD).
Their latest injection of capital will enable the development of an Android app and progress an expansion of brands on the platform.
This should lead to a rapid expansion of the Whoolala marketplace.