Meet Startup @TW

Supermodels Give Entrepreneurship a Sporting Chance


Western celebrities like to make use of their glamor and millions of social media followers to kick-start new careers. American actor Robert De Niro launched restaurants while Britain’s former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham is now a successful fashion designer.

Now, two Taiwanese supermodels have similar aspirations.

After a decade in the modeling industry, Yuli Lin and Hope Lin have partnered up to launch a sports accessories company called Hyphy.

Caption: Sports accessories products from Hyphy.

The products they create and design and also has partnership with Bala Bangles, sports jewelry made for yoga, running and aerobics. They’ve also designed yoga towels, sports shirts and other sportswear.

The models’ entrepreneurship philosophy

“Hope and I are sports fans. We love it as it keeps us fit,” Yuli Lin explained.

“Part of the reason is that we need to keep in good shape as our job is modeling. The other reason is that we want to live healthy lives and achieve a work-life balance,” she said.

Yuli Lin added the pair had millions of followers on social media.

“Our fans always left messages asking us what kind of sports accessories we would wear or use when we next interacted with them in a live-stream,” she said.

“Suddenly, one day, I told Hope: ‘Why don’t we try to establish our own brand? Why not create a sports accessories brand?’” Yuli Lin said.

Hope Lin agreed to start the entrepreneurship adventure with her longtime friend.

Hope Lin, for her part told Business Next that they began the business from scratch, which was a new challenge.

“ We used to have agents helping us with our work, (such as) appointments,photo shooting for magazines.” Hope Lin said.

“Now, as the founders of our brand, Hyphy, Yuli and I have to learn everything on our own, such as problem solving and asking others for help.”

The models used their own money to found the company.

The core message of the sports accessories brand is to help their target audience -- young women aged from 25 to 40 -- exude confidence and vitality during sports activities.

“I always believe the most beautiful moment for a woman is when she focuses on something and then achieves it with glory,” Yuli Lin said.

“For me, sports might be tiring. However, once you finish exercising, sports really benefits your health and that’s a kind of achievement."

In order to raise their brand awareness outside the usual e-commerce platforms, the duo partnered up with a local gym, as its patrons might need sports accessories.

Caption:Hope Lin and Yuli Lin integrated many offline events in order to "meet" with their customers for having more interaction.

Noticing the importance of integrating offline and online events to reach potential customers, Yuli Lin and Hope Lin plan take Hyphy to global markets.

“We don’t merely focus on the domestic market but also plan to expand overseas,” Yuli Lin said.

“The first destinations include Hong Kong and Singapore since the location is close to us,” Yuli Lin said.

Yulin Lin added that next to Taiwan, Hyphy products are most popular in Singapore and Hong Kong. The pair plan to visit these Chinese-speaking metropolises and meet with their buyers before they decide whether to set up bricks-and-mortar shops there.

Even though they haven’t be entrepreneurs for long, Yuli Lin and Hope Lin shared their experiences with Business Next.

“ No one was born knowing everything; the most precious lesson we both have learnt is to be humble people and learn new things that are unfamiliar to us,” Yuli Lin said, as Hope Lin expressed her agreement.

“Once you have truly learned from past mistakes or past experiences, it becomes your own knowledge,” she said.

Caption:Caption: Yuli Lin (Left) and Hope Lin are supermodels from Taiwan. Now they are the founders of their own brand, Hyphy.
Feliciana Hsu
English journalist and PR for Global Affairs

Feliciana gained her MSc of Media Power and Public Affairs from Royal Holloway, University of London.

After graduating from London, she started her career of being journalist at Business Next Media and Meet Startup @TW Website, and specializes in interviewing about innovation and technology.

Within her career, she has interviewed various experts in their field, including Mr.Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia; Fleur Pellerin, former French Minister of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and Sir Christopher Pissarides, Nobel Prize Laureate in Economic in 2010.