Andrew Chen is a storyteller, marketing expert and influencer turned entrepreneur. He has established his career in New York & Taiwan under LVMH Group, Bergdorf Goodman, Gilt Groupe, and Issey Miyake. For the last decade, his experiences and expertise span across Digital Strategy, Multi-Channel Retailing, Marketing, and Business Development. He is also a member of the Luxury Education Foundation that partners with Columbia Business School and Parsons School of Design where he pursued his further education.
Known as a Key Opinion Leader, Tastemaker and Experience Curator, Andrew’s androgynous look without any labels and his impeccable taste has gained him great attention and reputation among the social scene around the world. He launched a global thought platform, My Inspire Project, with Co-Founder Henry Hu in 2018 as an online luxury travel and lifestyle media that connects clients with the desired audience. The project was nominated as the finalists for the 1st International Influencer Award presented in Monaco in 2018. He currently resides between New York, London and Taiwan.
Tell us about who you are and what you do.
My Inspire Project is an award-nominated online media platform focusing on luxury travel, cultural experience, and curated lifestyle. I established my career in the luxury and fashion industry for over a decade and founded the project with my business partner Henry Hu in 2018. We are known for their trendsetting, storytelling and content generating skills that connect businesses with a desired global audience. Through the curated eyes and journeys, My Inspire Project generates unique and high-quality content for business units creates exclusive events and unique tours for high-end individuals and corporate groups. The platform has worked with various tourism boards, hospitality groups, LGBT communities, art organizations and fashion houses across the world.
Trailer – Porto’s Old World Charm With a Flare of New World Energy
Tell us how you created this brand and what was the sole idea behind it.
I have been in the luxury and fashion industry for more than a decade and I traveled extensively around the globe creating and executing VIP events, fashion shows and special experiences for the clients. These experiences have allowed me to obtain in-depth knowledge of local cultures and destinations. As the retail business has evolved in recent years, I decided to take a break from corporate jobs and started as a consultant helping other designers and brands to build their presence on social media. During that time, I registered the name My Inspire Project and shared my journeys and discoveries on social media platforms. It began to gain positive feedback and attract followers. Many requests from brands to collaborate for digital content and promotions came in as there was a surge in Influencer marketing trends. In early 2018, I decided to ride the wave and establish My Inspire Project platform through Instagram and YouTube channel. I invited my dear friend Henry Hu to join me with his business skills as a business partner, taking the media platform to the next level with more in-depth content and our travel films. In the same year, we received the recognition as being nominated for the 1st International Influencer Award in Monaco and attended the award ceremony as one of the top 20 finalists.
Since then, the project has grown from a one-man show to a full lifestyle channel and we could not ask for a more rewarding and fruitful progress so far. My Inspire Project shares the discovery about positive living, creativity, and inspiration with a unique point of view. We believe in Authenticity, Exclusivity, and Individuality as the core values of the new luxury experience.
We are launching our new social media platform on RED in China in January 2020 and are also about to launch our new travel film for Suzhou in China. The Chinese market is a big focus for us for the new year and we certainly have a great advantage of knowing the market, culture, and language. It has been challenging for many people to conduct an insightful destination feature and soon we will be able to connect the East and West audiences through our media content and services.
Go in detail and tell us about how your brand works. You may keep this from the audience’s perspective.
We aim to be the credible inspiration source for our audience. The audience could trust our taste and save a great amount of time on the research for their travel and lifestyle tips. When doing trip research on big travel search engines such as TripAdvisor, it could be overwhelming and energy-consuming. We offer a detailed and curated experience for all destinations and lifestyle products we cover, and the audience could visualize the experience easily and be able to save the information and book directly through us. In the future, the audience could subscribe to our mailing list and be updated directly with our travel tips and deals that could be purchased directly. And we would love to grow with our audience.
What is your giveaway idea through this interview?
By following our social media channels on YouTube, Instagram, and Red, you will be the first to know of the global hottest spots, exclusive insights of the destination and travel tips through our curated travel experiences. We also offer exclusive deals, promotions, and free trips through our giveaways. We also provide one-of-a-kind tours for our audiences to sign up and travel with us. Ultimately we want our audience to be inspired and motivated by the experience we curate and design, and we hope they invite more people to join our discovery. Please stay tuned for our upcoming website and become a member of our community.
Explain the challenges you went through while you were working on brand creation. What are the challenges you go through on an everyday basis?
In order to maintain our standards, creative vision, and luxury aesthetics, we have to turn down many inquiries and requests for unsuitable projects. We know who we are and what our audience and clients are looking for and therefore, we would only commit and cover the projects or topics that would best fit our interests and needs. In the meantime, we also have to be cautious about maintaining our revenue growth and building a bigger and wider audience.
Another big challenge we have is the algorithm transparency issue with Instagram and other social media platforms. So far we have been depending on these platforms to gain traction and publish our stories, but as the algorithm keeps changing, it greatly affects the exposure and reach of our content. This also put risks on the results and relationship with our clients. In addition, as Social Media and Influencer Marketing is a brand new industry, we are constantly adapting our content and directions to new regulations and guidelines.
How do you manage your finances through the services you offer. Any fundings etc received?
Our revenue stream mainly comes from content generation, collaboration with brands and businesses, sponsorship and the service we offer such as design exclusive tours and commission from the bookings through our content and promotions. Most of the trips, media content, film production and future expansion into real estate and lifestyle brands are most self-funded in order to maintain the quality of our work and vision.
Tell us your future vision about the brand. How far do you want to take it? What is your dream about taking it to the next level?
We would like to take our vision and experiences into a full lifestyle brand. Aside from our established online media channel, we are setting up a parent company, Gloren, that would further expand our offerings and help us realize the unique experience we have created. We have been seeing the market and audience shifting from buying things to owns experiences in recent and coming years, we would like to create different divisions under our private label including real estate, lodging & hospitality, fashion & lifestyle products and exclusive tours and journeys that could all be incorporated as a living experience as a whole. In the future, our clients would be able to pursue and purchase the experience directly through our inspiring and alluring content and we could build up our own eco-system with our partners and suppliers to realize the dream for our audience.
What message would you like to give to anybody who has a plan of creating something of their own and making a living through it?
Like many other businesses, there is no shortcut for building a personal brand. It takes time, resources and efforts to come up with rounded ideas, content, and promotions. Our industry is based on a balance between going viral and traditional worth of mouth. Many people only see the over-night fame or success but oversee the work behind people like us. We always recommend people be patient, consistent and be true to themselves. You have to have your own voice and vision to differentiate yourself from others and show the best part of yourself. You define your own image and you have to provide value to your audience and customers. Everything starts with a passion and it may take a long run to see the results. You don’t give up your main job for the perks and freebies unless you have clear paths and ideas for your next move. At the end of the day, it is your own business and your personal brand, you cannot dilute your own value and fail on being your own!
Latest Episode: MyInspireProject EP8 — Porto, A Unique Legacy Between the Old World Charm & Modern Symphony
EP8 — Porto, A Unique Legacy Between the Old World Charm & Modern Symphony
You may share a few testimonials of the clients who have worked with you.
It’s a short notice to receive testimonials from our clients but here’s a list of our proud partners for your reference: tourism boards such as Jordan, Amsterdam, Porto, Copenhagen, Boston, and San Diego; and businesses from Empire State Building, Google Local Guides, Equinox Hotels, Hudson Yards, Encore Resorts, W Hotels, Edition Hotels, Iberostar Group, and Armani Hotel Milan; Art and cultural institutes such as La Biennale in Venice, Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Longine Masters, Intersect by Lexus and Azulik SFER IK. We also work with numerous brands from luxury, fashion, lifestyle to wine, spirits and wellness sectors. Our works have been featured in various publications such as Afar, Town & Country, Culture Trip, Athens Voice & The Venue Report.
Our successful case studies:
We featured Armani Hotel Milan as one of our top picks in Milan and we received a reservation request for the suite from one of our followers and secured the booking within one week after our story being published.
We have also had another successful case after we featured the new Iberostar Cancun Star Prestige in Cancun and Casa Malca in Tulum, a client from Dubai wanted to book seven rooms for both properties for his bachelor party trip.
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