Jee Von: Harnessing Growth Potentials For The Brand To Make Every Step Count

Jee Von: Harnessing Growth Potentials For The Brand To Make Every Step Count

Jee Von , CEO

Jee Von


Asia is a land of diversity – a continent with the greatest number of languages, cultures, and people. This is also reflected in the success stories of ASEAN business leaders. Jee Von is one such successful and influential leader who despite the immense challenge of running a business, has found ways to persevere and innovate, taking a unique brand like Fipper to different countries and making its products stand out in the global market.  Jee Von graduated from Bachelor Science of Actuarial Science and kickstarted his professional journey with RHB Investment Bank as an Executive in the E-Broking department and was assigned to the role of business analyst post-merger of Malaysia largest investment bank RHB and OSK Investment Bank, playing a significant role in different aspects of business planning. He also brings to the table the experience of managing the M&A activities for SWS Capital Berhad and oversees the business operation activities with the guidance by MD.

Currently, he is spearheading Fipper Group’s business operations across Malaysia, Indonesia, China and Singapore, and also helping to grow distributors in another 17 export countries. He is building business development activities and strategically operating plans for the brand and empowering teams to reflect on them to meet the Group’s longer-term objectives and priorities. Under his leadership, Fipper has been able to achieve significant goals with over a million customers. As the CEO, he aspires to take Fipper to every corner of the world and to give everyone the chance to enjoy these quality, fashionable, colorful, and environmentally friendly sleepers.

Let’s hear it from him.

Share with us your academic experience from University Sains Malaysia. What did you learn from the campus beyond academics?

Completion of MBA study in University Sains Malay­sia has helped me to discover the answer to my ‘why’ and shape it into something meaningful through consistent effort and a strong commitment to con­tinuous learning. It nurtured my understanding of operational efficiency in an agile workforce environ­ment through several courses that taught us about the Toyota Production System, lean manufacturing, and the just-in-time system we need for the produc­tion of quality goods while ensuring no wastage in the process. Moreover, the university is located on Penang Island which is known as the Silicon Valley of ASEAN, which gave me the opportunity to surround myself with reputed professionals from MNCs and helped me develop a learning network for myself.

Define Fipper as an organization and its position in the market.

Established in 2008, Fipper is a creative brand that offers the joy of wearing colorful and vibrant slippers. We started the business by importing our products from Thailand because of the quality of rubber there and selling them to small wholesale chains such as night market, petrol stations and mini markets in Malaysia. We inaugurated our first boutique outlet in Kuala Lumpur and also began expanding our business across the Indonesian market after five years of incorporation. With our new-age products, we have been able to penetrate into Japan as our first export country and we also do cross-border e-Commerce and live streaming sales in China. We have been awarded Malaysia High Quality Brand Award 2020 by Alibaba Group. Today we have more than 100 outlets worldwide and 200+ employees globally working for us. We have a track record of selling around 5,000,000 pairs of rubber slippers in one year. From Malaysia to the World, in order to penetrate the global market, we have established a comprehensive business licensing model that provides an attractive platform to business partners to grow together. With a fair profit-sharing method coupled with established branding and proven SoP gained over the years, we have successfully exported our products to 17 countries including Cambodia, India, South Africa, Australia, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan.

What makes Fipper a preferable choice for customers?

I creatively play with the colours to create uniquely designed sandals. The colour combination he chooses are strikingly attractive and they are specially designed to capture the eyes of the young adults. Also, the famous Fipper products are made with 100 percent natural rubber, and are biodegradable, slip resistant, shock absorbent and washable. These qualities of our products make it the first choice of environmentally conscious people in different countries. We religiously stand by four aspects that form our mission – quality materials, good designs, craftsmanship, and sustainability. Our target audience is the younger generation and also the people who love to travel. Hence, we put a lot of effort into meeting the needs of youngsters and claim ourselves to be the representative of young people’s lifestyle choices. Additionally, we have also tapped into the children category through our comfortable children slippers. This indirectly made them our young brand ambassadors which will increase our brand awareness and, eventually, retain them as Fipper’s loyal customers when they grow up.

As the CEO, what are the factors you look into when developing effective corporate growth strategies for the company?

I believe leading a business successfully depends on how the people of the business are managed. People management is the key to driving a business forward. I practiced DISC - D (Dominance), I (Influence), S (Steadiness), C (Conscientiousness) personality assessment to help improve workplace productivity, teamwork and communication. It creates a common language whereby team members can bridge their differences and improve their communication & efficiency. Hence, as a leader, I am constantly focused on my employees’ well-being, building up a comfortable work culture and environment where all can perform at their best. My strategies include handling all people-related tasks involving new talent, employee engagement, and career development while ensuring that the team is productive, motivated, and happy.

Great opportunities don't come every day; budding leaders must recognize and seize them with every chance they get

What is your leadership approach?

At Fipper, I follow the top-down approach (which I believe is the most effective method to manage an organization). Goals, projects, and tasks are determined by the senior management of the organization and then communicated to the rest of the employees. This allows our business to reliably give customers the same experience and product. Unity of command, meanwhile, allows us to avoid confusion in a crisis and saves time. Also, because the decision-making process is extremely centralized, it leaves little room for ambiguity. With the input of just a few people, it’s easy to provide clarity, and the message doesn’t get muddled or crowded with additional revisions and perspectives. A clearer vision is much easier to implement. I am aware that this approach will limit the creativity and slow down problem-solving. Hence, I have flattened the organization structure and lead marketing and creative team by myself.

Where do you see yourself headed in the upcoming years? What is your future roadmap?

I aspire to take Fipper to the next level concentrating on the export side of the business. In order to share this piece of beautiful flip-flop to more people. I am leveraging my experience in entering the Japanese and Chinese markets to expand our business in South Africa and Middle East countries. In this era of globalization, cross-border e-commerce is a very useful tool to test, understand and open a new market. With cross-border e-commerce, we get the opportunity to gain knowledge of the different markets, their requirements, and their pricing strategies. Our marketing team has come up with a strategy and we call it FES where F stands for Function, E is Emotional value, and S is Sensory experience. Through our brand, Fipper, we want to put through to people- ‘This is Me’, which tells ‘Flip to any version of yourself anytime and anywhere with your pair of Fipper. Cherish the most comfortable version of yourself in style, inspiring the world to join in with love, joy, and laughter’.

Based on your professional experience, what would be your advice for budding leaders who are seeking new opportunities as they move forward in this field?

Great opportunities don't come every day; budding leaders must recognize and seize them with every chance they get. We sometimes tend to lose opportunities, through excessive thinking. I believe we must never fail to act - begin small, have the courage to begin, and the confidence to succeed. Everything can be done, only the mind needs convincing.

Jee Von, Regional CEO, Fipper

With a Bachelor of Science Degree in Actuarial Science from the National University of Malaysia, an MBA from the University Sains Malaysia, and rich experience in business development, Jee Von is driving Fipper as its Regional CEO and directing strategy toward its profitable growth.

•Hobbies: Tae kwon do, playing basketball

• Favorite Cuisine: Japanese

• Favorite Travel Destination: Japan

• Favorite Book: Marketing 4.0 by Hermawan Kartajaya, Iwan Setiawan, and Philip Kotler

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