Jessie Wong Yumei Startup Garage

STARTUP GARAGE: Jessie Wong from Yu Mei on social media and community

We were lucky to have the wonderful Jessie Wong speak at Startup Garage. Jessie is the founder of Yu Mei, a Wellington-based luxury leather goods label and Deloitte Fast 50 Rising Star. Jessie talked us through the Yu Mei startup story, focusing on how she and her talented team have used social media tools and the power of storytelling to build a successful business and a global community of customers.

Enjoy our top three takeaways from her talk. 



Social media provides businesses with a direct connection to customers. Yu Mei has an engaged following on Instagram and uses the ‘story’ feature to share, lo-fi, real-time, authentic content.

Why using IG stories?

  • Show transparency of the supply chain and production process (literally blood, guts and all at the tannery where their deer leather is processed!)
  • Take followers ‘behind the scenes’ sharing the inspiration behind the designs (fun fact: the pink in their latest collection is inspired by the Royal Hawaiian Resort in Honolulu)
  • Share customers photos. Yu Mei customers use the hashtag #yumeiinthewild to share photos of their bags all around the world

This, as well as their other social media channels, allows Yu Mei to demonstrate their brand values and connect followers with their products and their crew.


Yu Mei are clear on who their customer is – modern women! They take ‘consider’ to the next level by utilising social media to involve users in the design process.

“Our entire following becomes a focus group for our product and a collaborator in the design process”

Examples of this include using IG polls to decide colours for an upcoming season and using IG questions to ask what followers want to see more of. This collaborative process allows customers to take ownership of the products they’re buying.


Jessie and the Yu Mei team are clear on their values, clear on what they’re doing, and why they’re doing it. Jessie’s advice is to build relationships organically and effectively.

“Customers are drawn to products with which their values align and everything we do is designed to facilitate this conversation”

Thanks to the Hutt City Council for your ongoing support of 1A and making Lower Hutt a great place for tech businesses to get started! And thank you to our friends at The Settlement for hosting our events in your sleek coworking space!

To stay up to date with our upcoming events, join the Startup Garage meetup group. Startup Garage holds events in Wellington and the Hutt City for entrepreneurs and startup enthusiasts. Come along to hear from other awesome startups, upskill and make friends!

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