Wendy YuPhoto Credit: Chang Qing
Wendy Yu is the founder and chief executive of Yu Holdings, a cutting edge, globally positioned company that makes strategic investments in areas associated with innovation, creativity and philanthropy through its subsidiaries Yu Capital, Yu Fashion and Yu Culture. Yu’s investments include fashion brands Mary Katrantzou (who recently collaborated Victoria’s Secret on their 2019 fashion show), Cefinn (founded by Samantha Cameron) as well as technology giants DiDi (the Uber of China) and Tujia (the AirBnb Of China).
Yu grew up learning first hand lessons about drive and vision from her father, the founder of Mengtian Group, the largest wooden door manufacturer in China. At the age of 15, Yu moved to London to study Fashion Management at the London College of Fashion where she began to build her own vision of a career that was more than a profession, but was a way to make a social, artistic, business and cultural impact — a vision she has both realized and continued to expand on.
In 2017, as part of Yu’s pledge to nurture creativity, Yu partnered with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the endowment of Andrew Bolton’s position, awarding him the prestigious title of Wendy Yu Curator in Charge at the Costume Institute. In 2018, Yu’s commitment to the development of the fashion industry in China saw Yu Holdings partner with the Business of Fashion (BoF) to launch the first Business of Fashion China Prize: a global fashion award dedicated to emerging Chinese design talent that carries a cash prize of $100,000, a slot on the official fashion calendars of Shanghai Fashion Week and London Fashion Week and mentorship from industry leaders.
Most recently, Yu was featured on the cover of Forbes China forming part of their “30 under 30” list as an industry leader in Fashion and Arts. Yu is fast becoming one of the world’s most influential millennial entrepreneurs to be shaping the creative and cultural landscape.
Carrie Hammer: What was behind your desire to create Yu Holdings?
Wendy Yu: Ever since I was a child, I had the urge to become an entrepreneur, however not the traditional type of entrepreneur like my father. My father has been a huge influence – he has always encouraged me to keep asking myself where I want to go and how I want to get there. From a young age, I’ve had the mindset of not just finding the right position for myself, but also finding the right pathway to get me there. I see myself as a creative entrepreneur on the global stage, building the bridge that connects investment with creativity. As a millennial, I’m passionate about philanthropy and supporting social and cultural impact as much entrepreneurship and making money. I want all that I do to be new and refreshing.