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Article: Celebrating Women with Helen Tan

Celebrating Women with Helen Tan

Celebrating Women with Helen Tan


Every girl dreams of the day when they’ll open a wildly successful fashion house. To those girls, this one’s for you. Helen Tan is the co-founder of Doublewoot, an online fashion store. She established it in 2005 with her sister, Heliene. With the passion both sisters have for fashion, Doublewoot has made waves in the fashion industry by introducing quality apparel that exceeds expectations of style and quality.

In conjunction with International Women’s Day 2018 on March 8, BloomThis, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Doublewoot and DIDA brings you Celebrating Women, a series of interviews with inspiring Malaysian women, bringing change to their own industries, workplaces and communities.

We chat with Helen to find out about her journey in the fashion business.


BloomThis (BT): Tell us about yourself.
Helen Tan (HT): Hi, my name is Helen. I’m one of the co-founders of Doublewoot, an online fashion store, alongside my sister, Heliene. My background is in graphic and industrial design. Previously, I dabbled in medicine in IMU, only to find out that medicine isn’t really for me. While studying design, I was working part-time as a marketing assistant in ViTrox and then as a technical writer in Agilent. I worked full-time with Doublewoot in 2013. I’m also a mother of two kids which I adore very much.

BT: Why did you start Doublewoot?
HT: Back in 2005, when I came back to Penang after dropping out of med school, I felt lost and distraught. I lost my sense of direction and decided to study design. So, I took up graphic design. At that time, my sister, Heliene wanted to sell pre-loved clothes online. She got me to partner up with her to set up an online fashion store, as I knew how to work with Photoshop and set up blogs.

We wanted to come up with a brand which would represent the both of us. I asked my then, boyfriend, now husband, a graphic designer, to come up with some names. He gave us Doublewoot. At the time the phrase, ‘woot-woot’, was kind of popular. It represented excitement which was our sentiment towards fashion. ‘Double’ represented my sister and I. So with that, Doublewoot was born.

BT: What’s the biggest challenge you faced in Doublewoot?
HT: This is a really tough question because running Doublewoot is the biggest challenge itself. Doublewoot is 100% online. The biggest challenge in operating an online fashion store is how to portray our product, from the way payment is made to how it’s delivered to the customer's hands. We have to make sure the photos that we take are a close representation of what’s being sold, the payment gateway is secure, the delivery is efficient, and ensure that the product exceeds the customer's expectation. I feel that the biggest challenge is being consistent to ensure what we sell exceeds expectations.

BT: As sisters, how do you support each other through life and business?
HT: Having to work with my sister and family in Doublewoot is actually a blessing. Of course, there are disagreements along the way, but we make an effort to compromise and take time to bond with each other, encouraging ourselves to walk this journey together.


BT: What does the IWD theme #PressforProgress mean to you?
HT: Pressing for progress during this International Women’s Day means to take bold and impactful actions in our everyday life, whether in the household or workplace, to fight for gender equality. For example, in my family, I make an effort to ensure my husband helps me with work around the house and also take care of our kids. By doing this, I hope it’ll break the norm in society that women should just cook and take care of the home, when actually, the job belongs to both the husband and wife. I feel it is by taking small impactful actions that we’ll strive towards gender equality.

BT: What 3 skills do you think are essential to be a great leader?
HT: I have met a lot of leaders throughout my journey. I think that being a great leader needs integrity. The person would need to walk the talk, be humble, understand the people that you work with, gather their strengths and nurture them.

BT: Any fashion advice for working women?
HT: I feel that as a strong working woman, first impression really counts as it acts as a motivation to work, elevating one's mood. By dressing in a demure and professional manner, it tells how you would want your colleagues to portray you. As the saying goes, “Dress for the job you want to have, not for the job you already have now.”

BT: What’s your favourite flower?
HT: I’m a traditional girl at heart so I love red roses any day.

Find out more about Doublewoot
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Celebrate the Women Around You

This Women's Day, send your message of love & support to the wonder women in your life with gorgeous designer flowers and gifts. See them smile today!



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