modes4u team: Rilakkuma asks……. Karen

We’ve already introduced you to large parts of our team, but some very important people are still missing. Like our packing fairy Karen!

Hello, who are you by the way?
My name is Karen. I’m 32 years old and come from Hong Kong. I have been working for modes4u for 1 ½ years now and like it a lot. Before I had a job as an animator for many years, where I animated cartoons.

What is your job at modes4u?
I am one of the packing staff here and do everything from picking products, wrapping and packing, cutting fabrics from the bolts, sticking stamps on the envelopes to taking the packages to the post office. Of course I can’t do all of this by myself, I share these tasks with my colleagues Lok and Veronica.

We have lots of Japanese products and as I speak a bit of Japanese I sometimes have to help out Bianca, when she is describing the products and needs additional information.

What is your favourite product or your favourite category at modes4u?
I loooove Rilakkuma, so working here is my personal heaven. All the Rilakkuma products are really lovely, but I like the Rilakkuma plushies the most. My absolute favourite is our giant Rilakkuma office mascot, which is almost taller than me. Fortunately he is not for sale, so I can see him every day when I’m at work.

What do you like most about your job at modes4u?
I really enjoy the friendly and almost familiar atmosphere. And it is so cool to work in an international team, because I am super curious to learn about different cultures. I absorb all the new information like a sponge and take every opportunity to try local food from the different countries.

I also like to work with our products; it’s really fun to pack them.

You’re surrounded by creative stuff the whole day. Do you like to craft or to be creative in your leisure time?
I don’t craft very much, but express myself in a different way in my leisure time. I like to cook very much for example. As my colleagues bring delicious self-made pastry frequently, it really makes me want to bake too, but unfortunately we don’t have an oven (lots of people don’t in Hong Kong). So the other week I made a dessert called “chocolate salami”, a big chocolate roll filled with nuts, cookies and pistachios. It looked like a salami when you cut in slices. It was pastry without baking.

After work I also take language classes, I started to learn Korean last year and also took English classes to improve my English.

As happy as can be: Karen with our Rilakkuma office mascot

As happy as can be: Karen with our Rilakkuma office mascot

It really looks like salami, but was a delicious chocolate dessert - Karens yummy chocolate salami

It really looks like salami, but was a delicious chocolate dessert – Karens yummy chocolate salami

Inventory at the modes4u office: Counting from 1 to 13

The year 2013 is already 13 days old and and as the beginning of the year is often used for inventory, we also started counting some things. Check out some fun facts about the modes4u office.

He is our hero and beloved mascot, the one and only giant Rilakkuma bear

He is our hero and beloved mascot, the one and only giant Rilakkuma bear

One Rilakkuma

We couldn’t wish for a better mascot. Most of the times our beloved giant plush Rilakkuma just relaxes lazily in his office corner, but we’re more than happy that he joined our team.

Two office entrance doors for modes4u - you can already tell from outside where to get to the warehouse or the office area

Two office entrance doors for modes4u – you can already tell from outside where to get to the warehouse or the office area

Two entrance doors

Since we moved to our new office last August not just the office size doubled but also the number of entrance doors. When you enter the right door you get to our office area, the warehouse is on the left side.

Our three packing ladies pick and wrap your orders

Our three packing ladies pick and wrap your orders

Three packing fairies

Our youngest staff member Veronice joined our team in 2012, so now we have three packing girls who make sure that you get all the cute things you ordered.

The four desks in this working area belong to the office heroes

The four desks in this working area belong to the office heroes

Four desks for office stuff

This little island of desks and computers is the work home for the part of our team that’s responsible for customer service, photography, copy writing and internet marketing.

Already five rows of shelves are completely filled with fabrics

Already five rows of shelves are completely filled with fabrics

Five rows of fabric shelves

We already have more than 1,000 fabrics, so by now already five complete rows of shelves in our warehouse are filled with those lovely textiles.

Six air cons scattered throughout the whole company help us to stay cool in summer

Six air cons scattered throughout the whole company help us to stay cool in summer

Six air conditioners

Hong Kong gets incredibly hot during the long summer, without a good air con working is really no fun. Luckily we have 6 different ones scattered throughout the whole place.

If you have ordered from our shop before you got your items in one of these seven bags

If you have ordered from our shop before you got your items in one of these seven bags

Seven wrapping bags

To protect your orders, we always put them in plastic bags before putting them into the envelopes. The seven different plastic bags make sure we have the right size from very small to super big orders.

Every shelf in the modes4u warehouse consistes of eight stories full of products

Every shelf in the modes4u warehouse consists of eight stories full of products

Eight trays in each shelf

As we have lots of small stationery items we could put eight trays into each shelf to use the space available in the most efficient way.

Everyday we combine those nine different stamps to get the right amount on all the packages

Everyday we combine those nine different stamps to get the right amount on all the packages

Nine types of stamps

We ship to almost every country in the world, so of course the postage on each envelope is always different. Every day we have to pick the right amount of stamps of these nine different types when sending your packages.

What a great variety, there are 20 different flavours for our coffee machine

What a great variety, there are 10 different flavours for our coffee machine

Ten different coffee flavours

Since we got a super cool Nespresso coffee machine last spring we can be even more productive. And it’s great to have a big variety of flavours. At the moment we have ten different ones, as all of our staff members have a different taste.

In autumn thirteen major product categories are online on our website

In autumn eleven major product categories are online on our website

Eleven product categories

In our online shop modes4u.com you can always choose between several thousand products. To help you find the right thing quickly we divided all our stuff into eleven different product categories. Most of them have sub categories too. Of course some of them you can only see at certain times, for example our Christmas our Halloween categories.

Twelve different office chairs, although not all of them are used constantly

Twelve different office chairs, although not all of them are used constantly

Twelve office chairs

Our whole team eats lunch together every day at our big table. In order that everybody can sit we have 12 different office chairs. Not every one of them is taken yet, but our team is growing regularly.

Thirteen sticker shelves, and soon we'll need more again

Thirteen sticker shelves, and soon we’ll need more again

Thirteen sticker shelves

Last year we decided to reorganize our stickers and hang them on the wall instead of keeping them in boxes. It looks a lot better and makes picking them a lot easier too. We already have 13 shelves full of stickers, soon we need to add more.

5 days until Christmas

Christmas is already next week and our office is officially in Christmas mode. This week Gabi and Bianca brought lots of self-baked Christmas cookies to the office, so everyday after lunch everybody is munching on the yummy trees, stars and hearts.

After we already crafted a Washi Christmas tree on one of our office walls we also decorated our entrance doors. Now we see cute and colourful Christmas stickers when entering the office and warehouse.

Lots of self-baked cookies arrived at our office

Lots of self-baked cookies arrived at our office

Our entrance doors are decorated with kawaii Christmas stickers

Our entrance doors are decorated with kawaii Christmas stickers

What a kawaii Santa Claus sticker

What a kawaii Santa Claus sticker

modes4u team: Rilakkuma asks……. Ho

Without him our shop would look really sad, because there would be no pictures. It’s time to meet the man behind the camera.

Hello, who are you by the way?
I’m Ho. I’m 27 years old and from Hong Kong. Besides my job at modes4u I also have been studying multimedia since 2008. In evening and weekend classes I work on my skills in photography, video and animation. Before I started working here I was a photographer for jewelry.

What is your job at modes4u?
I am the modes4u photographer and take pictures of every product that we have. That means I see every new product first, have to understand how it works and present it in its best way. So I get to know our products quite well. When we need pictures for magazines, I arrange the products and try to make a good photo. During peak times with lots of orders I also support the packing staff, for example with cutting fabrics or sticking stamps.

What is your favourite product or your favourite category at modes4u?
I like how all our products are lots of fun and really have bright and happy colours. It makes them really fun to work with and I can only imagine how much the customers enjoy them.

The fabrics we carry impress me the most. I have already photographed hundreds of them, but still there are always new designs that really surprise and amaze me. I also enjoy getting to know the different materials.

What do you like most about your job at modes4u?
I get to know many new things here. I work with products I have never seen before and it’s very exciting to find out about them. It is a lot of fun to photograph these things, they just make you smile.

Due to the international team I am also introduced to lots of new things besides work. I have already tried many typical German, Austrian, Swiss, Japanese or Korean delicacies that people brought or made to share with everybody at work. I probably would not have tried them otherwise. You just feel very well cared for here, because everybody helps each other and brings little treats all the time.

You’re surrounded by creative stuff the whole day. Do you like to craft or to be creative in your leisure time?
Because of my studies I HAVE to be creative in my leisure time, as I have to fulfill assignments. So my creativity is mainly challenged in the field of multimedia, in editing videos and pictures.

Usually he stands behind the camera, today Rilakkuma nearly totally covers our photographer Ho

Usually he stands behind the camera, today Rilakkuma nearly totally covers our photographer Ho

Happy Birthday, Veronica!

Our days at the office before Christmas are still super busy, but there is always time for cake. Yesterday we celebrated the birthday of our newest staff member Veronica. We got her a super yummy chestnut cake, which is quite typical for Hong Kong. She really didn’t expect to be surprised with a cake and a birthday song after work, but of course that’s a tradition at modes4u. As part of our team is on holiday, not everybody was there to enjoy the cake, but all the ones who ate it really loved the sweet finale of the day.

Happy Birthday Veronica!

Veronica with her birthday cake

Veronica with her birthday cake

Everybody loved the yummy chestnut cake

Everybody loved the yummy chestnut cake

Our team with the birthday cake in front of our Washi Christmas tree

Our team with the birthday cake in front of our Washi Christmas tree

We’re crafting a Washi Christmas Tree

It was about time to give our new office a Christmas look. And as we have quite a few white walls here, we decided to embellish them our own way: With Washi Tapes. Now we have a wonderful Masking Tape Christmas tree in our office and everybody participated in making it. It was very easy to do and lots of fun. All of us made at least one Christmas tree ornament and could design it any way he or she wanted.

So how to do it?

Make the outline of a tree with Masking Tape. You can try to make the shape of a real fir tree, or you go for the easy triangle version as we did. The outer line of our tree also consists of two tape layers, we chose one light green and one darker green tape. For the Christmas tree balls we just cut out circles of paper and decorated them with all kinds of Masking Tape. Then we stuck them on the tree and voila: done.

After Christmas we can just remove it without leaving any traces on the wall. We also adjusted the tape several times when making the outline, as we were not that satisfied with the shape. Washi tape just rocks!

We're crafting a Washi Christmas Tree 8

Christmas at the modes4u office with our lovely Christmas Washi tree

We're crafting a Washi Christmas Tree 3

Sandra is busy finishing the outline of the tree

We're crafting a Washi Christmas Tree 9

The whole staff crafted at least two different Christmas tree balls

We're crafting a Washi Christmas Tree 10

Everybody is very happy with the result

Welcome Veronica: Dim Sum for our newest team member

She is our “little girl” although she is one of the tallest women in the office. Our newest team member Veronica just joined our team a couple of weeks ago and supports our packing girls in the warehouse. She is already our second new packing staff (we missed out on introducing our team member Echo to you a couple of weeks ago), so we hope we are well prepared for the big Christmas rush.

But before it’s getting too hectic we all went out for a big Dim Sum lunch and enjoyed lots of yummy Chinese dishes. Welcome to the team Veronica.

the modes4u team: Ho, Karen, Lok, Echo, Veronica, Maggie, Gabi, Bianca and Sandra; Alan is taking the picture

the modes4u team: Ho, Karen, Lok, Echo, Veronica, Maggie, Gabi, Bianca and Sandra; Alan is taking the picture

modes4u team: Rilakkuma asks……. Bianca

It’s time to introduce our fifth team member. And it’s getting international again, because Bianca moved from Germany to Hong Kong to come to our office every day.

Hello, who are you by the way?
I’m Bianca, 31, from Wuppertal in Germany. One year ago I moved here to Hong Kong and started working at modes4u. It’s still super exciting here; the city is surprising me over and over again. In Germany I lived and worked in different cities, most recently as a public relations officer in a ski dome. Before I was a television editor.

What is your job at modes4u?
I am the copy writer at modes4u and work with words every day. My main task is to add new products to our shop. That means every new item for modes4u.com has to pass my desk first to be measured, weighted and described.

Also I am in charge of the German and English company blogs and constantly looking for new ideas and topics to write about. In addition to that I deal with inquiries from media and journalists. And whenever a text for our website, for an announcement or for another occasion is needed, I write it as well.

What is your favourite product or your favourite category at modes4u?
I absolutely adore our Washi Tapes, which I discovered in our shop for the first time. Before I didn’t even know the cool Masking Tapes existed, now I already own a box full of them. No letter or present leaves my house without at least one stripe of Washi tape decoration.

From all our characters I am a big fan of the cute Otogicco Little Red Riding Hood by Decole. I’m always really excited when we get new products from that series. Also I am profoundly in love with our echino fabrics. Unfortunately I can’t sew at all, so the ways I can use those lovely textiles are kind of limited.

What do you like most about your job at modes4u?
There are no limits to my creativity. I have never worked in such a modern and open company. In Germany I often felt that rules and rigid structures slowed down new ideas. Here in many ways I really have the freedom to do whatever I want creatively. I can try a lot and start new things which I really like.

Our team is totally great too and the bosses really care about the well being of their employees. Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be natural in many Hong Kong companies and I also had mixed experiences in Germany about that. So I really appreciate it and feel in good hands here.

You’re surrounded by creative stuff the whole day. Do you like to craft or to be creative in your leisure time?
My creative activities always have certain phases. At the moment I’m in my Washi Tape phase; I love decorating glasses, stationery and photo albums with the adhesive tapes.

Sometimes I also design my own T-Shirts by embroidering, drawing or just applying an iron-on. In Germany I loved baking cakes and tarts a lot, but this passion is a bit on hold now. Baking is not that common in Hong Kong so a lot of times I lack the needed materials. Still my Chinese colleagues are always very excited when I bring something self-baked every now and then.

The bear and the girl - Bianca and Rilakkuma chatting

The bear and the girl – Bianca and Rilakkuma chatting

Bianca decorated all these jars with Washi Tapes

Bianca decorated all these jars with Washi Tapes

She also enjoys decorating photo albums with the colourful Masking Tapes

She also enjoys decorating photo albums with the colourful Masking Tapes

The office was super excited about Biancas self-baked cookies for Valentines Day

The office was super excited about Biancas self-baked cookies for Valentines Day

modes4u team: Rilakkuma asks……. Maggie

Without her you might not even know about us. Get to know our online marketing expert Maggie in our team introduction series.

Hello, who are you by the way?
I’m Maggie, 28 years old, and live with my two lovely cats in Hong Kong. I grew up in this city and really love it, but I also wanted to see more of the world. So I went to Europe for a year, worked quite a while in Ireland and traveled through many countries.

Before I started to work for modes4u I was employed by an online marketing agency in Hong Kong. My experience and skills really help me a lot in my job now, where I can apply them on a whole new level.

What is your job at modes4u?
I am responsible for the internet marketing in our company, so basically it is my job to make sure everybody knows about modes4u. My job is never finished, because we constantly come up with more ideas how we can make our shop known on the internet. I promote our kawaii products by advertising online and organizing giveaways and cooperations with different channels. Also I am in charge of our Affiliate Program and of course keep an eye on what’s happening on the web and where modes4u should be present.

What is your favourite product or your favourite category at modes4u?
From all the cute characters in our shop I love Kutusita Nyanko cat the most. I also bring my Kutusita Nyanko wallet every day that I bought in our shop.

Despite of all the cute characters we have, I have to say that our fabrics here impressed me the most. They are really pretty, colourful and very high quality, especially when you compare them to the ones you can get on the local fabric markets in Hong Kong. I even joined a sewing class, because I was so often thinking about what I could make with those fabrics.

What do you like most about your job at modes4u?
I enjoy the international atmosphere here very much, there are colleagues from different countries and the intercultural exchange is really exciting. Everybody loves to share his/her own culture, for example colleagues always bring food from their trips or cook typical dishes to share with everyone. It’s also very funny to find out cultural differences in taste, language or activities. This helps us to get to know the Hong Kong culture better too.

Also modes4u is honestly the best online shop that I have ever seen when it comes to the products, organization and customer service.

You’re surrounded by creative stuff the whole day. Do you like to craft or to be creative in your leisure time?

I like to learn new things and am interested in many different creative directions. For a while I was doing some felting, where I created cute mini felt objects. Then I took a sewing class to learn how to sew.
I also love eating and cooking, so I took classes where I learned how to make macaroons or egg tarts.

Maggie has to drive lazy Rilakkuma bear during the interview

Maggie has to drive lazy Rilakkuma bear during the interview

Maggie crafted these little felt cameras

Maggie crafted these little felt cameras

 

 

Her cat loves her Kutusita Nyanko wallet

Her cat loves her Kutusita Nyanko wallet

Unbelievable - Maggie learned to sew on this vintage sewing machine

Unbelievable – Maggie learned to sew on this vintage sewing machine

 

Impressive, Maggie made these macaroons and egg tarts herself

Impressive, Maggie made these macaroons and egg tarts herself

modes4u team: Rilakkuma asks……. Alan

Today we’re introducing a member of our staff which has been there from the very first minute: Alan is one of the bosses at modes4u.

Hello, who are you by the way?
I’m Alan. I’m 34 years old and come from Hong Kong. I am married to Sandra, the Managing Director from modes4u.com. Together with her I build modes4u more than 4 years ago. Before I joined the company fulltime I was working as an IT specialist for different companies here in Hong Kong.

What is your job at modes4u?
I am the IT manager and responsible for everything technical at the office. I developed our packing software, our shop software and website, so I have to watch out that everything is working fine. I am constantly trying to improve everything of course, to make it easier, more user-friendly and faster. It is a never-ending story, but I enjoy it a lot.

As one of the bosses I am also busy with lots of organizational stuff, negotiations, business trips and so on. And sometimes I even am the craftsman at the office, when I have to fix or build things.

What is your favourite product or your favourite category at modes4u?
I know all our products in our shop very well, because until we hired a fulltime photographer last year, it was also my job to take all the product pictures. I like all of them, because they are so beautiful, but if I had to choose a favourite category, it would definitely be our dessert erasers. They are from Japan and made by the company Iwako. And even though Japanese products are usually very high-quality, those are the best looking erasers I ever seen; they look so real and so delicious!

What do you like most about your job at modes4u?
I have been in this shop since it started with a couple of orders a week and just two staff members, so it is very overwhelming to see how our business has developed and grown. I feel very fortunate that we have such a good team as I think the most important asset for a company is the staff. Everyone at modes4u is very passionate, hardworking and happy with his/her work. Our working environment is quite harmonized and a lot of times it just feels like a group of friends are doing something great together.

Personally, I really enjoy seeing how our products are making people happy.  It might sound cheesy, but since I graduated from school I often wondered what I can do to make the world a better place. But then I see all the feedback we get from happy customers and realize that these kawaii things bring happiness to our customers. That’s a wonderful feeling and a great motivation to find new products and improve our shop constantly.

You’re surrounded by creative stuff the whole day. Do you like to craft or to be creative in your leisure time?
I like to be creative not so much in the crafty way, but in the field of technology. I love technical stuff and computers and can be very creative in dealing with them. A lot of times I also HAD to come up with ideas, because when we started to build our online shop a couple of years ago, the technology was nowhere near as good as today. I had to build most of our software from scratch, which involves a lot of creativity.

Alan is showing office Rilakkuma who is boss

Alan is showing office Rilakkuma who is boss