Wai was the founder of Happy Lab, a unique, fun and quirky specialty retail confectionery stores. She started the business in late 2009 and built the business to 7 stores including an online store. In July 2012, she decided to scale back her daily involvement and has since handed the running of the business to her business partner and in 2013 sold all her shares in Happy Lab.
During the period of 2006 and June 2009, Wai was the Group Operations Director for the Just Group as well as the CEO for Peter Alexander Sleepwear division (part of the Just Group). As the Operations Director of the Group, she headed up supply chain, distribution and logistics, inventory allocation and management, quality assurance, e-commerce development and information technology for the Group which owns and operates more than 900 stores globally across seven iconic brands such as Just Jeans, Jay-Jays, Portmans, Dotti, Jacqui-E, Peter Alexander and Smiggle. The Group’s revenue was in excess of AUD$900m.
One of the many achievements she had attained at the Just Group was the transformation of the Group’s traditional operating model to a fast fashion supply chain platform that enables scalable growth and efficiency. While reducing fashion risk through shorter and effective supply chain, she also managed to reduce operating costs in excess of $10 million during her tenure. The other legacy she left behind with the Group was her vision in pioneering the development of a ecommerce (online retail) platform for Peter Alexander Sleepwear back in 2001 and later scaled the online platform to service all 7 brands of the Group.
Her ability to participate in acquisitions and integrate acquisitions rapidly into the Group’s infrastructure to unleash the targeted synergistic value had earned her a remarkable reputation internally and externally.
The most notable achievement was the relisting of Just Group in the Australian Stock Exchange in 2004 after a management buyout in conjunction with Catalyst Investment in 2001. Together with other senior executives, she has helped to deliver back-to-back profit growth for consecutive years even beyond the 2004 public listing of market capitalisation of $430m. In 2006, in parallel to her Group Operations Director position, she was awarded the CEO role for the lifestyle division, Peter Alexander Sleepwear. She grew the business by expanding the number of retail outlets and implementing multiple channels for distribution. Her two years tenure as the CEO before retiring from the business in June 2009, the business had achieved a CAGR of 20% in sales revenue and 15% in EBIT growth.
Prior to joining the Just Group, Wai was the General Manager of Business Development Manager for Pacific Brands, a division of Pacific Dunlop overseeing business strategy development, merger and acquisition and business improvement for 27 business units within Pacific Brands. During her employment with Pacific Dunlop/Pacific Brands, she was awarded the most outstanding employee in 1998.
Shortly after her graduation in 1985, she was inducted into FMCG industry by working as a system and process consultant for a period of five years. Her in depth understanding of information technology system and business process landed her a role within Bowater plc as a manager in leading business process transformation and improvement. Having spent five years at Bowater, she joined IBM Consulting Group (Business Transformation) as a senior management consultant advising major FMCG corporations such as Pacific Dunlop, Kraft, Weston Foods, Mars and many others.