By Team Dia on December 30th, 2020
There is a lot you don’t know when brainstorming on post-it notes in a kitchen: How exhausting it is to actually start a business, how much joy each little triumph will bring you, how deeply you will lean on each other when the going gets tough. You don’t envision the hours it takes to steam and pack inventory, the frenetic energy it takes to solve urgent problems, or the determination it takes to push forward when you feel like you’ve failed.
Perhaps all you know in that kitchen is that you’re standing beside two of your best friends with a precious idea in your hands and excitement for what’s to come. Dia opened for orders seven weeks ago, and as our team looks back on this time, what we’re most excited about is still what lies ahead.
Most people don’t know this, but November 10th, the day we soft-launched, was actually the beginning of a six-week trial period for Dia and our first batch of brands. We started with this trial because we wanted to test our various business hypotheses in a controlled time frame and on a smaller scale before launching officially. As a business built on slow fashion and thoughtful choices, we were wary of charging full speed ahead and investing significant amounts of money or time when we were still so new to the game.
What’s more, Dia’s business is complex: The three of us manage a fragmented supply chain with numerous brands in different countries, deal with high-value inventory, are trying to figure out cost-effective, yet safe and reliable international logistics, and are attempting to market Southeast Asian artisanship at scale to a global audience during a pandemic. As we reckon with and continually adapt to these challenges, we needed a trial period so we didn’t over-promise and under-deliver — to ourselves, to our wonderful first cohort of brands, and to our customers.
There have been many growing pains during this trial but there has also been success in equal measure. Ultimately, the support and trust from both our brands and Dia community mean that we feel ready to gear up for an official launch in February 2021. This doesn’t mean that we’re expanding rapidly — as Kylie said in her Tech Collective interview, we’re more concerned with creating a sustainable business model that champions creativity in the region. However, what it does mean is that you can expect more artisanal brands and meaningful content from Dia in the New Year because we’re ready to bloom.
For the co-founders, life is still spinning around outside of Dia. Outside the co-founders, the world is still tumbling through various seismic shifts, the pandemic being only one of them. Still, in this little corner, we’re putting our hearts into building something that lasts. The work has barely begun!
So, where do we go from here? Onwards and upwards, of course. Orders, as well as our site and socials, will remain open as we regroup for Dia’s next phase. Stay tuned and see you soon.
Kylie, Alia, & Aisha
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Team Dia is made up of Dia’s three co-founders: Kylie, Alia, & Aisha. They are friends from Malaysia who decided to create Dia in 2020 out of love for their home region. They have lived across the world and have worked in government, big data, journalism, hospitality, and market research. They’d love for you to join the Dia community.