Oh Tepmongkol: A Role Model For Entrepreneurs


Naeem Kandwal
Success is not defined by age, class or gender. Determination, courage and enthusiasm lead a person to the ultimate level of success. I met a woman who is a great example of determination and enthusiasm. Her name is Oh Tepmongkol, the CEO/Co-founder of the OHZONE, Inc. She has been recognized and honored in the Forbes Next 1000 Class of 2021. Forbes Next 1000 highlights the world’s most successful new entrepreneurs, a group consisting entirely of sole proprietors and self-funded and pre-revenue startups. She is awarded for her outstanding achievements and innovation at The OHZONE, a B2B fashion technology. She is a great example of women empowerment. When I asked about her work and her startup, she said: “OHZONE was initially born from my desire to stay connected with my daughter, who went to college on the opposite coast in 2014. We were having difficulty shopping online for clothing together. The clothing we looked at together online lacked the detail and subtlety she desired in 2D imagery. I decided to apply my skills in 3D algorithms and video graphics to create a better shopping experience. My co-founders and I built our first prototype and showed it to my GenZ daughter. She and her friends played with it for two hours during a Thanksgiving dinner. So I knew we got something magical”.The founding team came together at Stanford and Nvidia and has deep technical expertise in 3D technology. We have spent 24 women-years developing the patented 3D photorealistic (3DREAL™) technology to create true-to-life digital assets from real garments. Our patented 3D photorealistic (3DREAL™) technology bridges the gap between virtual fashion and real fashion for e-commerce, AR/VR, and gaming. We presented the world’s first interactive fashion show — not a mere video — with SFCFW.org in September 2020, were awarded two patents, and launched our 3D digitization service for apparel. We presented our 3D Fashion Saves The Planet at Nvidia GTC 2020 and again at Nvidia GTC 2021. Recently we were awarded Top Fashion Tech 2021 by Retail Tech Insights, covered in the latest Vogue Startup Spotlight, and were one of the Top 200 for Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Frontier Sustainability Challenge 2021. “Starting a new business is a daunting task. When I asked about the beginning, she said: “With no external funding, I managed to pull together a superb engineering team, which has created an award-winning product with a sustainable competitive advantage and a highly defensible patent portfolio. My co-founders and I have been required to improvise, to pivot multiple times, and to make progress with resources available. Together, we built the world’s first apparel 3D scanner. We created a magic wand that could help small and medium-sized fashion brands transition to e-commerce. Now that the virtual and physical worlds of fashion are merging, these businesses struggle to remain relevant and maintain sustainability. The hard work put into creating this magic wand gives them that chance to survive the future changes and transform the e-commerce experience. Today, Ohzone is a fully operational company with a team of four full-time engineers and four marketing and salespeople — all inspired by a dream to bring 3D virtual fashion to life. At the Ohzone, we aim to democratize 3D virtual fashion and make it accessible to small- and medium -sized brands to help them increase sales, lower returns, and be sustainable in the post COVID-19 era”. Oh Tepmongkol’s success story is highly motivational and inspirational. when I asked her to describe success story, so that the younger generation may learn a lesson from it, she said: “My life reads like a cliche drama! Speaking no English, I arrived in Amarillo, TX, from Thailand at the age of 15 to live with my mother, who had immigrated to the US six years earlier. I graduated from high school as Valedictorian and attended Texas A&M University. Due to our limited financial resources, I finished my degree in EECS in three years with Magna Cum Laude distinction. My first manager at Hewlett Packard’s R&D Lab hired me to check two boxes in the HR form: female and minority. I spent seven years proving my capabilities at HP while supporting my father, who had early-onset Parkinson’s. Despite considerable prejudice, I obtained HP financial support for my Master’s study at Stanford University. For the 30 years after completing my Master’s degree, I took high-risk assignments with tight schedules and limited resources, ultimately climbing to a position as principal engineer and computer graphics architect. This is reflected in the seven patents granted for which I am a principal inventor in multiple disciplines. I am a rare breed among technical women whose boots are still on the ground. “ When I asked her what message would you like to send to your followers, she said: I will give you my unfilter unconventional wisdom. 1.First step to failure is trying. 2.You have to work harder, before you get to work smarter. 3.You cannot quit until you are ahead 4.Get ahead by doing “sh*t” job excellently. 5.Luck happens to people who are there. 6.It does not matter how you get there (as long as you did not commit atrocities), it’s what you do afterward that matters. 7. Stand up for others even if they do not want you to.Despite limited financial resources, Oh Tepmongkol has become a most successful entrepreneur with hard work and enthusiasm. Her unparalleled ability clearly shows that she will soon become the world’s top entrepreneur. I think, her inspirational life story and achievements should be taught as an optional subject in Schools, Colleges and Universities so that the younger generation can learn from him and play an important role in the development of nations. She is a real hero of today’s world.