Jumei: An online cosmetic store

By Chen Boyuan
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, August 23, 2013
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Online cosmetic retailer Jumei is quickly gaining popularity. Its founder and CEO Chen Ou now tells the story behind the brand.

Chen Ou and his Jumei brand are both rapidly becoming household names in China, mostly due to a short yet inspiring video clip about Chen's road to entrepreneurship.

"I hope that no matter what happens, we can keep an optimistic attitude and strive forward together. Don't yield to the pressures of life," said Chen, founder and CEO of rapidly growing online cosmetic store Jumei.com, in a self-promotional -- and company morale boosting -- video.

Sunny, vibrant, enthusiastic and dynamic; this is the impression the 30-something business man leaves behind. The same message he wishes to convey to his peers.

With an MBA degree from Stanford University under his belt, Chen returned to China and set up his own enterprise. His unusual yet admirable path to business success has both demonstrated and shaped his independent character.

Today, Chen's cosmetic website holds a special place in many Chinese women's hearts in the same way his expanding entrepreneurship has inspired many of his contemporaries. In Tianjin Satellite TV's "Only You," a popular job-hunting show, Chen's clear-cut style has impressed numerous job seekers and made him one of the most revered employers to work for.

Speaking of his motives, Chen said, "Stanford Graduate School of Business has a motto that reads: Change Lives, Change organization, Change the world. This motto has deeply inspired me to create my own business."

Yet Chen's personal entrepreneurial vision actually started much earlier.

"During my final years in school, others around me were frantically looking for jobs, but I was really at a loss what to do. I didn't wish to continue with my studies to work towards a master's and then a PhD; that kind of fixed pattern didn't fit me well. I was actually inspired by emerging Internet companies and decided to start up one myself," said Chen, who in his fourth grade at college, established an online gaming platform called Garena, with nothing but a laptop computer. This attempt brought him his first fortune in life.

Jumei has undoubtedly changed the lifestyles of some, if not many. Chen Ou also wishes such change will inspire more people to bring themselves what is called "positive energy."

"I hope that more young men and women will start up businesses on their own, fight for themselves, together, and create [real] worth -- just like today's Jumei. Jumei has millions of shoppers, who, because of us, find more beauty and more convenience in life," he said.

Nevertheless, Chen does warn that entrepreneurship is not the path for everyone; according to him, a successful starting entrepreneur ought to possess three qualities.

"First, it's determination, because starting up a business requires the courage to understand the possible risks in the process and the determination in decision making. Judgement comes second, because as a businessman, you must lead the company down the right path lest incurring fatal errors to the entire enterprise. And third then comes leadership -- the most important one. A company founder needs to unite many people, among other resources. Without the proper leadership, the whole structure will inevitably lack cohesion and is doomed to fail."

Chen has seen bad times, too. On March 1 this year, Jumei's first anniversary, millions of shoppers swarmed onto the website following the online cosmetic retailer's aggressive promotion campaign, entailing a server overload which then resulted in server inaccessibility.

"March 1 is our birthday, and also our memorial day," said Chen Ou, who confessed on a TV show that he and his team had failed to anticipate the sudden rise in page hits.

Angry consumers bombarded Jumei with their skepticism. "Is Jumei really problematic?" "What do you wish to tell consumers?" "How will you compensate for March 1?"

Chen resorted to showing his vulnerability and sincerity. He admitted the team had overestimated the capability of the company's logistics and service hotlines, but promised compensations would occur.

Reflecting on the incident, he noted it was an important lesson to his team, a lecture that helped them perfect the enterprise.

"I am Chen Ou. I speak for myself."

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