Meet Yen Kuok, the youngest daughter of Robert Kuok a.k.a. Malaysia’s richest man and the “Sugar King of Asia”.
Yen Kuok has been typecast all her life. Whether it‘s ‘family black sheep’ for leaving father Robert Kuok’s Kerry Properties, or ‘spoiled rich heiress’ during her school days, she has lived in the shadow of her family name since birth.
Over the past few years, however, Yen has taken great strides to break free of the stereotypes that have been attached to her by carving out a name for herself in an industry she is passionate about: second-hand luxury.
While most of her affluent peers are living the high life and jet-setting across the world, Yen launched a fashion start-up selling pre-loved branded clothing and goods in August last year.
Yen started Guiltless when she realised that there was no consignment site for people to sell off their high-end goods in Asia, despite the progressive convergence of luxury and technology. Guiltless was officially launched in Hong Kong and Singapore in January 2016.
Speaking to Wundrful, Yen recalled when she tried to sell her branded clothes and accessories to consignment sites upon her return to Hong Kong from the US, where she attended university. To her surprise, they do not take in products outside Europe and the US.
Hence, Guiltless was born. Besides collecting and curating second-hand luxury goods, the site also offers new items from past collections at up to 80% off its original retail price.
“Asia’s appetite for luxury goods far exceeds those in the Western hemisphere, so it’s strange that there is no legitimate second hand consignment platform,” she said.
“Even if people in Asia don’t admit it, they are looking for a deal. They’re looking for value for money,” she told BBC. “In Europe, people carry an expensive handbag for life. In Asia, people want a new model every year.”
While most of us may think that she had it easy with a rich father behind her, Yen recently revealed that she was raised in a strict environment and was not given much pocket money growing up
“The way my family brought me up was very strict. In fact, I was not given much pocket money. When I was in school, my friends’ pocket money are usually much more than mine,” she said in an interview with Hong Kong media, adding that her first branded clothing – a Viktor & Rolf – was gifted to her by her brother when she was 17 years old.
The reason? When Yen was a child, her father once told her that her grandmother did not wish for her to be raised like a “princess” in a wealthy family.
All that aside, Yen said that her father loves her very much and did not pile on the pressure when it comes her academic achievements.
“My father kept telling me that going to school is not only about studying and getting good grades, but instead, education is meant to expand one’s horizon,” she said.
“My father had never forced me to get an A in my exams, and he said it doesn’t matter if I get a B.
Guiltless was founded by Yen Kuok, a Stanford graduate in International Relations, junior-year elected Phi Beta Kappa and the youngest child of prominent Asian businessman Robert Kuok Hock Nien (Kerry Group, Shangri-La).
A headstrong entrepreneur herself, Yen recognized the opportunity in luxury e-commerce, and started Guiltless to provide a seamless, truly high-end experience for both buyers and sellers of pre-loved designer goods.
Yen first delved into the business of online fashion retail while working at J.P. Morgan — a certain online fashion retailer’s follow- on equity offering was one of the many deals she worked on as their investment banking summer analyst in New York.
Growing up in the age of tech, she also had the opportunity to explore online user behaviors, particularly those of Chinese teenagers, at Google’s previous Beijing office. She then went on to learn about upscale real estate at Kerry Properties Limited, before striking out on her own to develop Guiltless, an ambitious tech start-up that combines her business acumen with a knowledge of fashion consumer patterns.
Her Instagram : yenskiboo