Goal: Turning into the ‘Uber’ in foot wear retail
Vietnamese sandals brand SADOO eyeing US market with unique business model
SAADO, a popular Vietnamese sandals start-up that has sold 66,000 pairs of shoes and successfully entered four Asian countries within one year, is now eyeing the US market.
Set up by Phung Le Lam Hai last year after realizing there is high demand for fashionable, dynamic sandals that come with an affordable price tag, SAADO has proven to be popular in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar. SAADO is now preparing to enter the Indian, Nepalese and Thai markets in 2019 and 2020.
Last month, SAADO tested the US market by launching its products on Amazon, using the strategy "US Brand, Vietnam Soul". This strategy comprises of applying for a US trademark while positioning the sandals as a "made in Vietnam" product. Vietnam is known as the world's second largest footwear exporting country.
"By applying for a US trademark, our brand is able to protect our products while enabling us to sell the sandals at a more competitive price. However, we must emphasize we are promoting this as a Vietnamese product because we want to show the world that our country's products have always been overlooked. We are well-known to help big brands manufacture their products, but our own products have never been recognized. Through SAADO, I would like to help rectify this situation," said Phung.
Despite running a successful start-up, Phung said he has no plans to set up physical shops to sell his products: "My goal is to turn SAADO into the 'Uber in Retail' and establish a platform to help young people learn how to run a business. The education system in Vietnam doesn't offer concrete experience and I would like to provide opportunities for future generations, to provide them with the hope of running an internationally recognized business. These inspired entrepreneurs only have to bring in the orders and we will back them up with the customer service, logistic and warehouse requirements. After they succeed, they can create their own stores. My motto is 'Don't open a store to sell a few pairs of shoes, sell 1,000 pairs before opening one,'" explained Phung.
So far, SAADO has business partners in 40 out of 64 provinces in Vietnam. Apart from Vietnam, SAADO also plans to build up its business partner network around the world. Phung said they will be meeting with interested parties who are looking to learn about business operations and help them grow their own businesses in the local market with SAADO.
SAADO's unique business model won the Best Innovators Award in Asia last year and the company was selected to be one of the three Vietnamese start-ups to present its business plan to the international SEPT Program of Leipzig University. The German event was attended by entrepreneurs as well as end customers.