There’s determined, then there’s Candice Ong. She left her successful and cushy investment banking career in 2012 to take on regional brand buying for e-commerce platform ZALORA, while getting hit with a 70 per cent pay cut.
“My decision to switch careers came at a time when the e-commerce, technology and start-up industries were not popular at all,” she reveals.
“I took the plunge at a time when people thought ZALORA was still a blogshop and not the fashion conglomerate it is today, and this was just five years ago.”
Seeing friends abroad who were also making huge career switches, ultimately helped Candice to reflect on what she really wanted to do in life.
“I could have gone places in banking but my skill sets would have been limited to finance alone and I wouldn’t have had the learning opportunities I enjoyed by moving into the tech space,” she explains.
The 33-year-old hasn’t looked back since. After developing Zalora’s business into a household name in the region, she left last January to join ShopBack, a home-grown start-up.
Candice has pushed the homegrown e-commerce platform from a Singapore-based team of just three people in 2014 to a regional force of 100 employees today.
In addition, her tenure as Chief Commercial Officer has seen the company flourish across six nations in Asia in less than three years, and outgrow their No. 1 competitor, Ebates.com, in the region.
“Shopback aims to be the top Southeast Asian player in the space in the next two to three years and it’s my job to grow the company’s profits,” she says.
“I will lead country teams across the region, as well as direct regional marketing and work within the core business management team.”
It’s worth noting that in just her first six months there, Candice drove up growth by 30 per cent. Not bad for a young lady who took a massive risk to achieve her true calling.
Words to live by: “I believe you should never let hiccups get you down.”
Next up: “I’m part of the Government’s Future Corporate Capabilities and Innovation sub-committee, so I hope to foster a more entrepreneurial culture and push for greater innovation in Singapore.”
The Great Women Of Our Time 2017 is proudly presented by Lancôme.