A fashion-tech entrepreneur pioneering a global fusion of creativity and innovation

Yang Di
Yanie Yanson showed extraordinary foresight at the age of 15 by starting a multinational fashion technology company.
Yang Di

At the age of 15, Yanie Yanson had a clear vision: to build a global fashion tech company. This fashion-tech inventor began her entrepreneurial career in Shanghai, where she founded POMPOM Creative and SANPOM (a digital fashion studio powered by POMPOM).

A fashion-tech entrepreneur pioneering a global fusion of creativity and innovation
Courtesy of Yanie Yanson

Fashion-tech pioneer Yanie Yanson founded POMPOM Creative in 2017 and SANPOM, a digital fashion studio, recently.

Before we talk about your companies POMPOM Creative and SANPOM, would you please introduce yourself?

I'm from Montreal, Canada, and was raised by French entrepreneurial parents with identical twins on an agricultural tree farm. I decided at 17 to invest in a building in Canada to reach financial freedom. I skipped college that year and went directly to university, as my purpose was clear at the age of 15: creating a global leading fashion tech company.

I speak four major languages, including mandarin, which allowed me to have global experience in the fashion industry, from NYC, Milan, Paris, Montreal, and Shanghai, adapting to different cultures.

I started a blog in 2015, entering the branding world, and have led global fashion retailers and institutions to propel their image in the Chinese marketplace.

After staying in Shanghai for a few years, why did you start your own agency?

I was a blogger at first, and I thought I could do something on a much bigger scale that could influence not just brands but the industry. I opened up the POMPOM agency, as it was the most natural thing to do. I come from a marketing background and paired with the blog, I received a lot of opportunities for PR, creative campaigns, and production, along with social media.

We recently extended a sister branch, *SANPOM, focusing on digital clothing and physical shows, web3 environments, and fashion tech for b2b2c supply chains. This will create more sustainable products for the fashion industry and a way to reduce waste and unnecessary overconsumption of raw materials.

*SANPOM is a digital fashion studio powered by POMPOM, focused on creating immersive meta environments, digital fashion, avatars, and digital textiles for both B2B and B2C environments.

What makes Shanghai's business environment special?

The ability to connect with people from different industries, from VCs to the tech sector, all the way to the manufacturing and supply chain for textiles and brands. They are all here, and that's quite exciting. Shanghai is still very fluid with a low hierarchy, which means there's an opportunity for possibilities.

What were you trying to bring to the local community?

Recently, we focused on the fashion tech community. We held a couple of large-scale seminars and mini-workshops in Shanghai to introduce the concept of fashion and technology merging together as one.

From an industry perspective, we're building bridges between China and overseas within the fashion business for knowledge exchange, collaborations, and partnerships. We're also pioneering digital advancements for fashion technology (avatars, motion capture, and AR), and from a campaign and content creation perspective, we're elevating commercial aesthetics and pushing boundaries further.

A fashion-tech entrepreneur pioneering a global fusion of creativity and innovation
Courtesy of Yanie Yanson

Yanie Yanson organizes lectures and mini-workshops in Shanghai to illustrate the confluence of fashion and technology.

What's the hardest about starting a business here? How do you stay inspired?

The main challenge is to keep going, no matter what happens. There are plenty of chances, but you need to be prepared or have the right team in place. After COVID-19, things got tough and led to a big change in the agency, creating new departments and restructuring the old ways of doing things.

For the fashion tech part, this is still a very new concept, so creating any type of digital transformation for a client can be scary or too new. This is also a challenge. I stay motivated because I believe in the purpose, which is bigger than just me.

What was your proudest moment?

To explore multiple possibilities of combining technology and fashion and finding new solutions that can tangibly contribute to the future of the fashion industry.

What are you working on now?

Creating the tech bridge between Europe and China and exploring body motion capture with avatars and digital fittings.

Who is the role model who inspires you?

Steve Jobs ... on thinking differently.

Any advice for women entrepreneurs?

- Belief in yourself, resilience, and a support network (online or offline) are key.

- Stay hungry and keep on learning.

- If you fail, understand the WHY and use it as a learning experience.

- Set some goals and work better with your subconscious mind to increase the likelihood of achievement.

- Be savvy financially. If this is not your forte, find a partner whom you can trust to help out.

- Remember, you always get what you negotiate.

- Self-care is imperative.

- Adaptability and being able to pivot repeatedly given the volatile changes.

- Celebrate achievements, yours and your teams.

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