Using the artisan name “Jannah Velma Noir” to kick-start creative projects in photography, digital marketing and talent casting since she was 18, Janet Fung now has her hands full as the co-founder of e-commerce brand AVO on top of her regular day job.
What do you do?
I work full-time as an account manager in a leading digital agency and as a creative director and photographer who drives ideas for content creation on my own time.
At the beginning of 2019, I co-founded a brand called AVO, an e-commerce platform for people to buy affordable items that make them stand out in their everyday lives. We also sell unique notebooks and postcards painted by our other co-founder, Eunice. Apart from that, I also provide consultation services with styling tips to clients.
How does your business work?
We look for affordable accessories from different sources. The goal is to find that little piece that changes your entire personal style. As a full-time employee, I understand that people might not have enough time to create daily looks that speak for themselves. I think it’s not necessary to show your personal style by changing your whole look — all you need is one interesting piece that you can incorporate into your ordinary look.
How did your business get started?
When I first entered the creative industry, I felt that I was fulfilling my teenage dreams. I was enthusiastic and thrilled to be able to meet different people, get inspiration from them, and share experiences with one another.
But after a few years of working, things became repetitive. One day I had a conversation with my sister, Eunice, about what “dream job” means. She told me that she wanted to be an artist, but she stopped drawing to focus on getting into university, where she picked a different major other than art. She felt sad that she walked away from something she used to be really good at. It’s quite common for a student to feel this way, especially in Hong Kong.
AVO is a story that I am trying to tell; a turning point. I wanted to encourage my sister and clients, if not to change their daily work direction, but to give everyone a chance to reconnect with the things they are passionate about. It also helps me get back to my own career starting point — to be inspired and to inspire the people around me.
Who are our clients?
AVO is only six months old, but we already have an international base of clients from the US, Australia, France, Hong Kong, and Singapore. They are mostly women — students, young professionals, moms.
Our customers like us because they find our style unique and fresh. Some international customers are attracted by our paintings, which is delightful to Eunice.
What’s a day in your working life like?
My working routine is like everyone else. I still have my full-time job, so I am dedicated to it during most of my work time. But after 7 pm on weekdays, I start my brand planning to keep things moving for AVO. On the weekends, I might shoot brand content or take a short business trip to source the right pieces. Eunice mainly deals with the offline operations and I work with online operations.
Where do you see your business in the future?
To be honest, I still have a lot to learn about how to run a business, but I’m doing something I’m passionate about and that makes me feel alive. I believe we all deserve a chance to express ourselves and to do things that make us happy.
An elevator convo with Jannah Velma Noir. See here for more from our Next Up series.