Launching a luxury sustainable fashion brand with funding and a kickstarter! It’s VENIM (episode 382)

Leslie Fong has been in eCommerce since 2009, and in 2018 took the leap into founding her own fashion brand. VENIM launched with a super successful kickstarter in 2019, has been awarded grants by Spanx, SIA Scotch, and Facebook, AND been nominated in FGI’s Rising Star Awards.

Listen now for free:

Subscribe on your Favourite Podcast App

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Spotify
Listen on Google Podcasts

Getting Started In eCommerce

Leslie has always worked in fashion.

While attending fashion design school, she worked with a business owner who ran eCommerce sites for her brands. That was Leslie’s first experience in eCommerce, which also set the stage for her future career with Venim that combines both eCommerce and fashion.

About Venim

  • Based in California
  • Sells globally but with majority of their customers coming from the United States

Venim’s hero product is their 100% cotton denim trucker jacket. Its main features are its genderless sizing and customizations, which are like works of art.

What’s coming in the future for Venim is its expansion to knits.

The Team

The internal team is made up of just two people — Leslie and her co-founder, Kaycee Houchin. They do the branding, design, and production in-house.

What they outsource are engineering and marketing tasks like paid ads, public relations, and social engagement.

When asked about the co-founder piece, Leslie says it’s working for them because she and Kaycee have known each other for a long time. They play off each other’s strengths, with Leslie doing branding and eCommerce and Kaycee handling technical product development.

She does mention being a solo founder and working by herself for about a year before onboarding Kaycee, so she could first understand her abilities as a CEO.

Venim’s Sustainability Component

The brand’s focus is making luxury, quality, genderless denim jackets but it was important for Leslie that their production methods also centered on sustainability.

Venim uses deadstock denim materials — raw materials that have never been used. These materials are used to produce Venim’s jackets, which also pass through wash houses in Southern California that have sustainability systems in place.

Launching The Business

Leslie’s background working for other startups showed her that while the companies were small, they had great funding.

She believes that this allowed the startups to create their products in a more thoughtful way before launching.

Because of this insight, she took her time before she launched Venim doing focus groups, running it in beta, and crowdfunding. It was during this pre-launch period that she was able to figure out if there was demand for the product, and if she could attain product market fit.

The Key To Venim’s Success

Leslie says that the key to their success is their customization piece.

It has given them a competitive edge, and a lot of the brand’s success is due to this component.

eCommerce Book Top Tip

eCommerce Traffic Top Tip

  • Leslie says their agency wants them to create more video content and to get into TikTok because that’s where everyone is.

Tool Top Tip

Growth Top Tip

  • Accept that there is single winning channel. Everything is going to ebb and flow, and you’ll figure it out along the way.

Interview Links

  • Business
  • Sign up for Venim’s newsletter and you’ll get their quarterly secret Spotify playlist and 15% off your first order
  • Instagram

Related episodes

  • 381: The Fashion Business Model of the Future? This is Unfolded with Cally Russell
  • 373: How Sustainability and Community are super-powering this fashion brand with Katie McCourt from Pantee
  • 354: Building a Sustainable Fashion Brand with Partnerships and PR. Gergana from blonde gone rogue

Without the sponsors the podcast wouldn’t be possible – please do check them out:


Klaviyo is a leading customer data and marketing automation platform dedicated to accelerating revenue and customer connection for online businesses. Klaviyo makes it easy to store, access, analyze and use transactional and behavioral data to power highly-targeted customer and prospect communications.

The company’s hybrid customer-data and marketing-platform model allows companies to grow by fostering direct relationships with customers, without giving up their valuable data to popular big-tech ad platforms. Over 80,000 innovative companies like Unilever, Custom Ink, Living Proof and Huckberry sell more with Klaviyo.

Learn more at

internet retailing expo

The retail and eCommerce landscapes have significantly shifted over the past 2 years and a visit to IRX & eDX on 11 & 12 May 2022 will provide retail professionals with the toolkit they need to support their business in the new climate.

Retailers, brands, industry experts and retail vendors from across the UK will gather to hear from thought-leaders, discover innovative technology and learn how to power their business into the next decade.
The UK’s number 1 digital retail show combines insightful sessions with practical hands-on training on all aspects of online retailing.

Retail professionals can meet with leading suppliers all with cutting-edge technology and innovative services to enhance customer experiences, increase sales and deliver efficiencies across online and in-store operations. Register today at


Osome. Hassle-free accounting and bookkeeping for your eCommerce business. Osome integrates with major online platforms and the team can do all your bookkeeping in real-time and you get access to your own accountant!

9,500+ customers worldwide, serving UK, Europe, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Accountants with years of eCommerce experience take over your accounting documents and convert them into actionable numbers, tax filings and reports.

To get a demo and find out how much time & money Osome could save you… go to, fill in your details, and hit the “Let’s Go!” button.
Make sure you use the link as it will automatically add the coupon EM100 to save you £110.

Full transcript to read & download:

Click to access

Like to be a guest? Apply Here