How e-Lab inspired my passion for fashion

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eLab Participant

eLab Participant

I’m Melissa Tan and I come all the way from Penang Island in Malaysia.  I’ve just completed eLab’s course in Berlin.  Back home in Malaysia, I was working in the banking sector but quickly realised that it wasn’t right for me and so I enrolled in a luxury brand management MBA, splitting my time between Shanghai and Paris.  

During this time, I particularly enjoyed Paris and felt that I would like to remain in Europe and so I began researching my options.  When I first came across CIEE, I was really impressed but, at that time, did not yet have a business idea to bring to an eLab course and so did not enroll at that time.  A couple of months later, however, inspired by one of my MBA courses, I hit on an idea for a new business and subsequently attended a startup seminar in London before moving to Berlin in February to join eLab.

“eLab has given me values and insights that I could not have learned at a university course.”

I’ve always loved fashion and I feel passionately about sustainability - these two things combined make up my new business idea.  I’m looking to disrupt the fashion and travel industries by encouraging people to rent rather than buy clothes on a regular basis.  This would ultimately mean more people travelling with less luggage, reduced fuel use for airlines and, of course, many more Instagrammable outfits for everyone!  This idea will save space, time and money for both passengers and travel companies.

The Berlin adventure

It quickly became clear to me that both eLab and Berlin were great choices.  The city is vibrant and friendly with lots of support and Government help for new businesses.  Although I have not yet launched my business, I feel that the set up in Berlin will make it possible. 

The eLab course has been an invaluable experience for me and, I’ve enjoyed every minute so far.  It’s been fantastic to meet so many inspiring people including trainers, mentors and fellow students and learn all the different aspects of successfully launching a business.  I’ve even had a couple of people ask about the possibility of a collaboration with me and my business.  The great thing about eLab is that it brings together lots of people with very different backgrounds but very similar goals; all within a fun and supportive environment.

The future

Within the next six months, I intend to get my business off the ground here in Berlin and listed publicly within the next five years.  Long term, I’d love to move my business to London as I believe that the fashion scene there is second to none as well as being an amazing city to live in.

For anybody thinking about taking an eLab course, I cannot recommend it highly enough.  I’m so happy that I finally took the plunge - I only wish that I’d done it sooner. Why not find out yourself and learn more about what the program has to offer?

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