Thirty-six-year-old Jane Lu is the founder of Showpo, a highly successful online retail store based in Sydney, Australia. By successful, I mean that in 2019, the company raked in a total of $85 million in revenue.
And to think, if Lu had simply followed the rules, none of this would have ever happened.
At 24, Lu’s life looked very different. Her accounting job at Ernst & Young, one of the “big four” accounting firms, had left her miserable. So she quit and instead pursued her love of fashion. With one caveat—she never told her parents, who she lived with.
Instead, she pretended to still be working as an accountant and committed fully to the role. She continued to put on a suit and would venture into the city, pretending to go to work.
And in her defense … that last part wasn’t a lie.
As Lu revealed in what she calls her “immigrant success story” on TikTok, her family moved to Australia from China 28 years ago. And, as is a long-lived tradition and even a running joke among children of immigrants, her parents wanted their daughter to have the stable, financially secure career of a “doctor, lawyer or accountant.”
@thelazyceo I went behind my parents’ back and quit my corporate job, and well, the rest is history #startup #businessjourney #immigrantparents #girlboss #showpo #entrepreneur ♬ original sound – Jane Lu
Lu chased after her dreams in secret. After putting on her corporate suit and leaving her parents’ home, she began working on creating a pop-up store, which ultimately failed. As she shared in another TikTok, turning back was still no option—the business shut down during the 2010 global financial crisis, and no accounting firms were hiring. So she rolled up her sleeves and created her second business. She still didn’t tell her parents.
Luckily, business flourished this time around.
“I started to make more in one day in sales than my old yearly salary,” she shared. Showpo, short for “Show Pony,” now sells to millions of customers around the world and is one of the largest online fashion retailers globally.
After her windfall of success, Lu finally told her parents. Sure, they were shocked, but they also got their first new car, had their mortgage paid off and were able to finally retire. So shock probably turned into glee pretty quickly.
Lu’s story touched the hearts of more than 2 million people who watched the video. And she now dedicates a good chunk of her social media to offering advice to others who dream of starting their own business. Unsurprisingly, a major theme in most of her videos is not being afraid to make mistakes.
“I like to compare it to golf,” she mentioned in an interview with BuzzFeed. “I don’t play, but I don’t have a better analogy. You first hit the ball in the direction of the hole. You know, it’s just about getting in a general direction.”
If you’d like to check out some of Showpo’s signature looks, you can find the shop’s Instagram here. No boring corporate attire to be found.