Their values-based work ethic and fostering strong partnerships with customers has been part of Fossa’s mission since Michelle Chen and her mother founded the company in 2007. Originally from Taiwan, the Chen family brings a diverse skillset to the company: Judy delivers modern fashion concepts, Michelle works closely with customers, while her husband manages accounting and her brother acts as general manager. Another beneficial aspect of the company is their partnership with Michelle’s uncles in China—Fossa has direct access to the manufacturer, which means products are delivered to customers at the best value.
As a woman-owned business, Fossa offers a unique take on the apparel design process: they begin designing clothing with the woman’s version first. Typically, menswear is design and then adjusted for women. There’s no doubt that Fossa’s process delivers clothing that is uniquely fitted for women.
“Being woman-owned actually helps us in more ways than business incentives. It changes our go-to market strategy. Counter to most apparel companies, we design the women’s silhouettes first. It is so important for us to empower all women in the workplace by offering stylish designs. When you look great, you feel great,” says Michelle.
As the company’s sales director, Michelle never seems to slow down. She leads a team of sales representatives and oversees customer engagement efforts. What always means the most to her is receiving thank you cards and notes from customers. She adds, “That’s what this is about—making people happy.”
Judy’s experience owning a quality control company in Taiwan where she evaluated products for major retailers like Macy’s has led to a distinct line of apparel that is purposefully developed. Each season, Fossa provides a collection of six to eight pieces that build on their previous product line. Every item goes through a meticulous prototyping process that can take up to eight months to refine.
The unique dynamic between Michelle and her mother Judy is something the family treasures. Judy continues to impress the market with her fashion retail designs while Michelle engages the sales team to promote the Fossa Collection in different marketplaces. “I’m so proud of my mom and feel blessed by the business opportunity she’s created for us as a family,” adds Michelle.
Connected with Skanska through HDS Brand Solutions, Fossa began providing apparel to our company in 2019. Michelle was invited to share her story and showcase products at our annual Office Managers meeting; since then, Fossa apparel has been a part of our internal company store.
“I value Skanska’s diversity program, that it embraces people from different backgrounds and really makes that a core value,” says Michelle. “We’re excited to be a part of it and have Skanska’s support promoting diverse companies like Fossa.”