An elevator convo with Shana Buchanan. See here for more from our Next Up series.
What do you do?
I am the founder and CEO of iDecorateshop.com.
How does your business work?
iDecorate brings the most beautiful, sought-after home decor products from around the world to Asia. We are inundated with requests from artists and brands seeking representation — they see iDecorate as the gateway to China because they know they can trust us. We also work with brand partners to create collections that speak to targeted local audiences. We specialise in e-tail, retail and B2B.
How did your business get started?
For as long as I can remember, I always knew that I would start my own business when the time was right. I was 26, working as a fund manager in Sydney, and found myself daydreaming, brainstorming and writing the business plan of a unique e-commerce idea. Years later, when I left Sydney to start a new chapter in my life in Hong Kong, it became a reality. Moving to Asia was the catalyst.
Who are your customers?
Since I was born in Singapore and have so much family there, it has helped me to understand the needs of people living in apartments in Asia. So our customers are typically Asians who have studied abroad, lived abroad or love to travel. They seek something unique and not mass manufactured, they appreciate the craftsmanship and the artisanal nature of our products, and they highly value our unique design aesthetic and point of view.
What is a day in your working life like?
I start my day with a big cup of coffee before my son Axel wakes up. Then I fetch him from his cot for cuddles — this is the highlight of my day, he always wakes up with a big smile and scruffy hair. I make Axel’s breakfast, and we draw and play for a few hours. Then I try to squeeze in a hike or some time in the gym to clear my head, visualize my day and get energized.
Right now, we are in between office spaces, so I will either be holding meetings at our store in Times Square, or working with my team from my home office. I try to feed and bathe my son at around 6pm. My husband, Anthony, comes home at 7pm most nights. We might have 30 minutes of play time with Axel. We read stories every night before he goes to bed, then Anthony and I catch up over dinner.
Most nights, we both have work to do. We both have a home office each, so it pains me to say that most of the time you will find us both working until around 10 or 11pm. During peak season (Oct to Feb), I typically work until 1am most nights – I like working late because I really have time to think when its quiet and phones have stopped ringing. I really enjoy being creative, working on the website and strategizing when the rest of the world is still. My Achilles’ heel is that I always need an hour of mindless TV to wind down, so I am usually in bed sometime between midnight and 2am.
Where do you see your business in the next five years?
iDecorateshop.com is now raising capital to scale the business and enter China. Chinese demand for western products and style has never been greater, home decor sales are growing faster in Asia than any other region, and iDecorate is perfectly positioned to exploit the consumption-driven economy in China. China is really the most exciting market in the world, and we know that our products resonate with Asian consumers. We have just launched our WeChat store and plan to expand with pops ups in Shanghai and Beijing in 2018. We also hope to expand and strengthen our partnerships with our loyal B2B clients —interior designers, architects — and to develop a retail distribution network in Japan and South Korea.