Henry Ma and Ricoma

As CEO of Ricoma, Henry Ma found that his true passion is in growing a business. The innovative ideas he brings to the company enable him to partner with thousands of entrepreneurs as they find this same fulfillment. Through his vision, Ma has created a business model for Ricoma that provides the equipment and the guidance new entrepreneurs need to launch custom apparel businesses. “I’m always looking for ways to share the business knowledge I have learned,” he says. “When our customers succeed, we succeed.”

Finding inspiration in the family business

Henry Ma graduated from the NYU Stern School of Business with a degree in finance and economics, but his most valuable lessons in entrepreneurship come from his father. Frank Ma, who founded Ricoma in 1998, taught his son by example how to accept failure, overcome obstacles, and approach issues with a problem-solving mindset.

“My dad has always been the guiding example in my life,” he recalls. “I’m fortunate to have a father who cares about me and pushes me to try things beyond my comfort zone.”

Joining Ricoma

Ma started his career as an investment banking analyst for Goldman Sachs. Finance was exciting at first, but he soon began to feel restless.

In 2015, Ma returned to the family business as CFO. Instead of working with money all day, he found himself building a team, marketing products, interacting with customers, and scaling a business from the ground up. It was the challenge he had left investment baking to find.

“I enjoy the journey of helping people navigate the nuances of this business,” Ma explains. “I’ve found it extremely fulfilling to help people along the way and watch them achieve their dreams.”

After Ma’s return to Ricoma, one of his goals was to become an expert on the machines he sold. He studied the equipment’s components and then hooped his first garment to embroider. “I started just like any of our customers,” remembers Ma. “I learned little by little until I became familiar with every part and sensor. There is a learning curve, but it just takes time and practice.”

Starting the Apparel Academy as Ricoma’s new CEO

Five years after returning to Ricoma, Ma was promoted to CEO. He brought together an in-house marketing department—a team of nearly twenty designers, developers, and copywriters. In addition to selling machinery and supplies, Ricoma began creating content for the internet, writing blogs, posting videos to social media platforms, and gaining a growing audience.

With his new marketing department, Ma began the Apparel Academy, a podcast and YouTube channel that focuses on the business savvy needed to launch a side hustle in custom apparel successfully. The Apparel Academy’s content covers topics such as how to use the machines, how to price items accurately, and how to market on social media. “We cover technical training, but just having a machine and fulfilling orders doesn’t guarantee you will succeed,” Ma explains. “I set out to provide the turnkey solution for entrepreneurs who want a start in custom apparel.”

Ricoma sets itself apart

Ma has taken Ricoma from a small business to a leading retailer in custom apparel equipment through the extra value he brings to his customers. With every product he sells, he also offers professional training and lifetime technical support.

When customers purchase a product, Ma ensures they are connected with a trainer right away. He empowers entrepreneurs with the tools and business training they need while simultaneously expanding Ricoma to become the ultimate customization resource.

Another recent innovation Ma implemented involves Ricoma’s brother company, Garmeo. This website takes in custom apparel requests and passes the jobs on to new entrepreneurs. “We are not only providing our clients with equipment, training, and support, we are also giving them business after the fact,” he says.

Ma’s mission is to become a one-stop shop for custom apparel decorators. In addition to embroidery products, Ricoma has expanded to offer garment printers, vinyl cutters, and heat presses.

“My goal at Ricoma is to encourage anyone who wants to start a side hustle by empowering them with the tools, training, and resources they need,” remarks Ma. “I want to enable them to push the boundaries of customization and allow them to personalize anything, beyond even apparel.”


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