Melbourne Global Young Entrepreneur Star Ya-Chen Lee,
Sells Taiwanese goods into the Australian Market through Livestreams
2022 Global Young Entrepreneur Star Awardee Ya-Chen Lee founded the TJY Lifestyle Collection Pty. Ltd. with her business partners Tina Yeh and Julia Johnstonin July 2020. Through live stream and e-commerce platforms, they introduced daily life products and food from Taiwanese small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to Australian consumers, and also exported Australian products to Taiwan. The business has grown rapidly since its launch, the brand is now well known in Melbourne market and thus helps facilitate trade between Taiwan and Australia.
Ya-Chen Lee had lived in the US for many years, where she graduated from Washington State University with a bachelor's degree in international trade. She now resides in Australia, is responsible for TJY Lifestyle Collection's IT and marketing operations, while at the same time working full-time at Total Tools Company as a product manager. Recently being a mother, Lee is busy living her life to the fullest.
The TJY Lifestyle Collection team was formed through an unexpected journey, where a couple of years ago, Ya-Chen Lee, Tina Yeh and Julia Johnston traveled to Brisbane together to attend a Taiwanese community's event. The girls having, spent all of their time together throughout their trip, found themselves to be very compatible and soon became close friends.
There was one time when the three were together, Tina Yeh, who has many years of experience in procurement, brought up an idea that the former Supervisor of World Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce (WTCC) once mentioned. "Shopping online through live stream is very popular in Taiwan, we should show the world what Taiwan has to offer by consolidating the energy of Taiwanese Youth Chapters around the world and set up live stream platforms in every country of the six continents." The other two girls immediately agreed upon hearing the idea and began putting thoughts into action.
Back then, online shopping through live streams was not yet popular, and so the three put together their skills and through online meetings they began their business. Ya-chen Lee was mainly responsible for account management and shipments, Tina Yeh and Julia Johnston, with outgoing personalities, were the sales representatives of the company, selling products through livestreams. The variety of products that they sold were very inclusive, such as ready-to-eat meals, pastries, clothes, stationaries, and all sorts of daily products.
During the TJY Lifestyle Collection start-up stage, Melbourne was in a state of Covid-lockdown, and people were confined to their homes. Lee and her team said that their live streams were funny and a pleasure for many people to watch during that period of time. "Our audience grew rapidly over time, and it made us believe that our dream would really come true."
Some success stories of start-ups begin in a garage, TJY Lifestyle Collection began in Tina Yeh's living room. Ya-chen said what she remembered most about the start-up period was "everyone kneeling on the floor, wrapping and packaging the products and finally shipping them off." The three founders of TJY Lifestyle Collection bonded through all that kneeling and packaging on the living room floor.
Now, their shipments have rapidly increased, and they have their own warehouse, adding more staff. They are becoming quite popular and have built an impressive audience online. They said that sometimes their customers will recognize them off the street, "someone told us that they really enjoyed our livestreams, that watching us online got them through unbearably boring evenings, and that just by listening to us talk made them feel closer to home."
Ya-chen Lee's life has become much busier after the company launched, but her heart is full of gratitude. She stated that she once ran into a customer eager to know when the taro product sold out earlier would be available again, "it was then that I realized that people actually remembered us and had expectations for us."
2022 Global Young Entrepreneur Star Awardee Ya-Chen Lee.
TJY Lifestyle Collection start-up stage.