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The Founder Questionnaire: 'Making Good' on Sacrifice and Support, With Touch of Modern's Jerry Hum

This is an extract of an article published in Forbes and written by Jonathan Wasserstrum.

Right at the center of the Amazon vs. Walmart soap opera is e-commerce: how it’s both eroded and forced innovation on brick-and-mortar retail, its ongoing appeal to a growing pool of shoppers, and its own challenges in delivering products more efficiently.

Nowhere is the fighting more intense than in fashion. As erstwhile retail giants tumble from their anchor tenant thrones in dwindling shopping malls, they’re playing catch-up with nimble, tech-first companies offering sweet deals and a fresh-take on the shopping experience. Companies like Walmart’s new prized-possession in Bonobos and, perhaps the sleekest of them all, Touch of Modern.

The latter is a members-only men’s e-tailer that offers elite collections of gear and apparel at friendly prices. If the concept sounds familiar, you might be glancing the remnants of the flash-sale craze that once shot companies like Gilt and Fab to fame.

But touch of Modern is banking on the relative scarcity men's e-tailers, a superior mobile experience and an emphasis on curating unique discoveries over simply delivering off-price designer goods to keep thriving.

To date, Taste of Modern has over 10 million members and just hired a new President and Chief Operating Officer to help lead a new stage of growth.

Mr. Hum takes us inside his journey to this point.

1. When did you first know you were going to be an entrepreneur?
I don't think I really knew until my co-founders called me out to San Francisco. I was living in New York at the time and teaching myself how to code. It wasn't real until I put in my notice at the architecture firm and left New York with nothing but two suitcases.

2. What inspires you to succeed?
Even getting this far as an entrepreneur is a rare opportunity. It's an opportunity given to me by my fellow co-founders, our investors, and our employees. The way I see it, it's a necessity to succeed, to make good on the support they've given.

3. If you could hire your younger self, what job would it be for?
When my co-founders and I started Touch of Modern, I did the UX design / development, and the merchandising as well. I was pretty good at those things but I did all my learning on the job. Honestly, I'm not sure if the me from five years ago would get hired here today. Our screening processes and tests for new hires are pretty rigorous.

4. What’s the best part of coming to work everyday?
We have a lot of people here who, early in their careers, placed a bet on us just as we did on them. Those people work very hard and are now successful and highly valued in the marketplace. I enjoy coming in everyday ...

Read the full article on Forbes website.

 
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