Meet Edmond Yip, the Co-Founder & CEO of CeleBright
Everyone of us surely have admired and been inspired by some celebrities in our life. Meeting celebrities, however, is a dream that can hardly come true, not to mention receiving blessings from the celebrity we love. Edmond, found a gap between the celebrities and their fans, and hence, co-founded CeleBright, a platform to make your dreams come true.
In this interview, Edmond shared the story behind CeleBright and some interesting experiences and learnings when working with celebrities.
Q: What is CeleBright?
E: CeleBright stands for celebrities to brighten up your days! Our mission is to bring happiness to people through the positive energy of celebrities. Our initial product is a 2-sided marketplace where customers can book and co-create personalised video greetings from their preferred celebrities.
Q: Where did the idea of CeleBright come from? How did you validate your idea?
E: 2019 was one of the gloomiest times in HK and most of the people were stressed out by what happened day in day out. While I was looking for a special birthday gift to delight and surprise my wife despite the depressing sentiment, I realized that the use of videos have become so common on social media and daily lives as we could hardly go shopping. That made me start to explore the business opportunity in this sector. This idea already exists in other countries, so I validated it by ordering a video from an overseas site for my wife. She absolutely loved it! Then I intensively interviewed artists with different popularity and users from different walks of life to further understand their needs and views as our initial concept validation locally.
Many celebrities lack an effective channel to engage their fans in a brand-positive manner. On the other side, we believe everyone has some celebrities he or she looks up to but it is very difficult, or even impossible, to interact with the people they like. CeleBright is therefore here to provide a channel to connect both celebrities and fans.
Q: Does your background give you a definite advantage when it comes to being a startup founder in this field?
E: I started my career as a management trainee in a multinational corporation, which gave me very comprehensive and invaluable exposure of how different pieces of a business organization worked together. We got rotated to different departments and even geographical locations from time to time, so we were trained to be adaptive, strategic and resourceful. In addition to paying attention to details and execution, we were also required to see trends and lead for performance. All these general management skills laid down a strong foundation for entrepreneurship. After that I moved on to the private equity arm of a listed company and then a startup, which greatly prepared me for starting CeleBright from scratch.
Q: How many celebrities are currently available on your platform? How did you get these celebrities on board?
E: We’ve got around 200 celebrities onboard now, such as Alex Fong, Serrini and many more. As an early-stage startup, it is common for founders to start with their own connections and cold calling. As our product is new to the Hong Kong market, it took us some time to persuade celebrities to join us and believe in our vision. There are no secret ingredients for getting celebrities on board. Afterall, our patience and persistence matter.
Q: What is it like to work with celebrities? Any fun experiences to share with us?
E: Celebrities are not the easiest to deal with professionally as each of them carries their own brand which is precious. The fact that we have to deal with so many in one go makes it a steep learning curve for us.
We’re glad that our celebrities have been quite engaged as they see the difference they could make to their fans!
There have been a few stories that really touched my heart. One of the stories is, a customer ordered a personalised video for her grandma’s birthday the day before even though we have stated that it would take a few days before a video could be delivered. We thought it would be impossible for the celebrity to entertain such an urgent request. After we communicated with the celebrity, however, he said he would take the video right after he finishes his job – which is early in the morning
Another story is about a customer who ordered a video from a celebrity who was a cancer fighter for his friend who also got cancer recently. The celebrity was able to share her care and encouragement through her personal experience and that sort of personal touch was really powerful and needed in the current society.
Q: As a startup founder, every decision you make is life or death during the early stage of a company. What are your considerations when making decisions and how do you make sure you are making the right call?
E: As an early-stage startup which is still bootstrapping, survival is key. So I would need to make sure that every decision I make would help extend our chance of surviving longer. I cannot be 100% sure that every decision I make is going to be correct. But I believe the key to minimize the chance of making poor decisions is to look at facts and data, be transparent at work and get advice from a wide range of experts like mentors.
Q: Throughout your entrepreneurial journey, what’s the best advice you’ve been given?
E: You will never be ready for something until you start doing it. So if you have an entrepreneurial dream, make sure you take actions sooner than later. That was why I took the chance to start CeleBright which was a totally new segment for me. Don’t wait for chances, act fast!
Q: What is CeleBright’s long-term vision? What are some exciting developments you envision in the future?
E: Social media have been so successful in connecting people and it’s taking over the traditional media globally. What CeleBright is doing is just to utilize the effect of social media and take it one step further. We believe many of us have dreamed of interacting with our idols directly. Celebrities, however, often seem to be unreachable. Therefore, we want to do more than an ecommerce platform and create great memories for our customers, we would like to be a personalised interaction platform between laymen like me and celebrities in the Chinese-speaking markets and continue to spread joy and positivity to people! We will continue to add new features which can keep our customers and celebrities happy and excited.
Q: How can we learn more about you and your company?
Edmond Yip, Founder & CEO of CeleBright
April 26, 2021