Friday, March 06, 2015

Weiming Yuan

For my interview I decided to interview AEON Attire. It is a small up and coming company that is beginning to grow and spread throughout the country. When I first asked about the interview, they seemed excited that I had wanted to get to know more about the company. The company mainly consists of three people. However, due to their busy schedules I was only able to speak with one of the three.

Weiming Yuan and I had decided to meet at a local star bucks where the interview would take place. I had arrived a couple minutes early in order to review the questions I had prepared to ask before the interview. Upon his arrival we introduced ourselves as we both waited on our orders by the counter, before settling down to begin. Finally sitting at the table, I began asking him questions. The very first question was about the company, and who started it. He told me, he as well as his twin brother Weidong Yuan, we're working in the same company together along with a very close friend of theirs, Patrick. He apologized for their absence, and spoke about how they wished they could have joined him. “As owners of a business, we really have to do all jobs. We all do marketing, sales, design work, some accounting, you name it!” Having heard that the three of them were closely involved with the company, I began to get curious about how they we're so close. He explained to me how they are all bboy’s (break dancers), and they had met through an underground breakdancing scene back in 2009. Since then, they practiced their art together, which brought them closer together over the next couple years. I was surprised when I heard about their interest in dance, It made me wonder about what inspired the three dancers to begin a business in fashion. “What was it that made you three decide begin this business, I understand the three of you are close but what made you guys suddenly turn towards the Fashion industry?" I asked Weiming. He laughed at the amount of questions I was so eager to have him answer. He took a sip of his coffee, leaned over and said "Let me tell you a story."

I fell back into my chair in silence as he began to share. He began by telling me it started at home, alongside his brother, Wei Dong Yuan. One night they had got into an argument with their parents and had no choice but to leave their home. With no place to go, they decided to call their good friend Patrick. He let them stay the night, but when the following morning came Patrick was unaware that he had no food so they decided to head out. The three friends ventured off to Walmart, and somehow made their way through to the bedding aisle. “I spotted an invention used to keep bed sheets securely fastened to mattresses: a plain, white strap attached to a clip. After fiddling with the item for a few minutes, I held it around my ankle and found that it could be used to effectively taper my pant leg. I suddenly had this idea of wearing these to slim down pants, and that is where the idea for AEON Taper was conceived,” He laughed. “I can't explain how the idea came to me exactly, maybe it was the lack of sleep or lack of food which made me delirious… whatever the reason was, I was happy it came to me because that idea grew into something larger than we could’ve ever imagined.”

As the interview continued I began to figure out the whole backstory as to the history of the boys had been through. Being kicked out of their home must have been difficult enough, I thought, how were they able to start a business after realizing they lacked the necessary fundings? That is where they put their talents to good use, by purchasing a busking license. Day by day, month by month, they set up speakers and began to dance along the streets of Toronto. After months of hard work they were able to secure manufacturers for the components, taught themselves how to sew, created dozens of prototypes, and conducted over 300 consumer research surveys at malls. “We used our dancing to finance and fund AEON Attire. We launched our first collection without getting into any debt” Weiming laughed.

Being a new company, I asked him if there is anything new about their Aeon Attire besides the tapers. He began to tell me about a new project they've been working on called, The Full Circle Project. “In terms of the AEON Full Circle Scarves, it’s not only a scarf. People don’t only buy what it is, they buy the why,” he explained. For every scarf purchased, a donation of their scarf is made to many homeless shelters around Toronto. Places which include Convenant House, the United Way and many other people who are in desperate need of warmth. They are also working on new accessories which include launching their touch screen leather gloves, and Nimble wallet which are available on their online website for orders. “We want to create more products that are drastically different than what people have seen before, we want to push fashion, function, and innovation as far as it can go!”

I was amazed at how it had turned into a positive result. How being kicked out of their house they understand what it is like to roam the streets with nothing but each other by their sides and by using their company they are able to give back to those who aren't as fortunate as they were. After an hour of questions, it was finally time to call it a day. I thanked Weiming for taking the time to come out and share his story with me as we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways.

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