The French Chamber Startups & Entrepreneurs Committee is the platform for entrepreneurs to meet and network. In order to share experiences and visions, the committee launched a series of interviews with successful Entrepreneurs in Singapore.
What is your background?
After obtaining my engineering diploma in France, I move to Asia in 2010. I worked during 7 years for a french company specialized in the design and production of POP / Stores for the luxury industry. Started as project manager in China, moved to Singapore after 7 months to set up the SEA branch in Singapore. In 2014, in parallel of my SEA role, I was sent to India to restructure an Indian company we had just acquired. In parallel of my day job, I also set up a restaurant & wine bar here in Singapore in 2012 which I run during 2 years before exiting. During 7 years of collaboration with the largest global luxury brands, we designed a large number of retail concepts but never considered customer experience through other senses than eyes. This is the reason why I resigned and launched Unmute Music with one aim: to position music within brand strategy, both offline and online.
A few words about your business
Unmute Music is an agency specialized in sensory marketing (audio). We elaborate for luxury brands in retail, hospitality and F&B bespoke musical identities based on their DNA, audience, strategy and market and support them in the integration of the music within their brand marketing strategy. Our immediate aim: enhance customer experience with music and our long time vision: create musical emotions and change the way people listen to music. After one year of activity, we count for clients LVMH Group, AccorHotels and Michelin star restaurants in Asia.
Why did you set up your business in Singapore?
I have been living in Singapore for the past 7 years and had already set up 2 companies here before. So when I started working on Unmute project, it was obvious that I should do it from here. First, because my network was the strongest here in SEA, second because we are in the heart of one of the most dynamic region on the planet and third because the stability of Singapore makes setting up and running a business structured and efficient.
What was the most difficult challenge to overcome on your entrepreneurial journey?
Clearly, finding the right balance between bootstrapping and spending rightly in order to grow. Bootstrapping is essential when you start a business and you have limited funds but it is even more important to do the right investment which will allow you to win a project or client.
What are the next steps for your company?
We want to consolidate our position in the music for business industry and become the key player in the region. In parallel, we will be launching new features that will allow brands to propose a personalized customer experience to their clients.
A few tips for new entrepreneurs?
Speak about your project as early as possible : Do not be scared that someone steals your idea. This is essential ; you do not want to set up a business which only you is convinced of. By speaking about it, people will challenge you, ask you questions. This is exactly what you are lookign for, it will help you fine tune your project and train you to sell it like you breath.
Surround yourself: Being an entrepreneur is tough, very tough. Nowadays the word is trendy, we all have in mind the success stories of Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, etc… but before being where they were/are, it took them time and failures. Steve Jobs used to say « If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time”. In an entrepreneur journey, there are a lot of up and downs, and when there are downs, you do not want to be alone, your co-founder / key partner / advisor will be there to keep your head out of the water.
Fundraising should not be a focus at the start : The first key actions are to build the team, the product (even if not perfect), launch it and prove that there is a market. Then, at this time, if to reach the next level or to speed up the growth, you need to raise money, you will do it. From my point of view, nowadays we advertise too much the fact that this or this company raised x millions when we should focus on the real achievements of those companies. We see too many entrepreneurs having only one goal: raising money. To me, this is not right.
Work-life balance : This is very very important. Being entrepreneur means working 24/7, living, eating and breathing your project. But if you want to last, you need to take some breaks to do what you enjoy the most, to be with whom you love. Even serial entrepreneurs like Richard Branson do. This is mandatory for your health and the success of your startup.
Your motto in life?
I like this one : If the plan A did not work, the alphabet has 25 more letters
Your business motto?
Opportunities don't happen. You create them
Jean Vendange, Unmute Music
The views and opinions expressed in these columns do not necessarily reflect those of the French Chamber members and management.