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

Impressions of moving offices

We did it! Last weekend we moved our whole office and warehouse one floor down to our new office, which is twice as big as the old one. Luckily we just had to move one floor down, still it took us 2 whole days as we had to pack and unpack thousands of products. Fortunately we got a lot of support from our friends, who helped to carry all the stuff. Once everything was moved late in the evening, we all went out for a big dinner. Everybody was really exhausted but also happy that it all worked out well. We have so much more space now, although it will probably fill up quicker than we think. Here are some impressions from our moving weekend.

This is how it started: We're unpacking the very first shelf

This is how it started: We are unpacking the very first shelf

Big Rilakkuma relaxed well protected on a pile of fabrics while everybody else was working

Big Rilakkuma relaxed well protected on a pile of fabrics while everybody else was working

One team is packing all the boxes in the old office

One team is packing all the boxes in the old office

More and more shelves are empty

More and more shelves are empty

Everything is packed on pallets

Everything is packed on pallets

Another team is unpacking the boxes and puts the products back to the shelves

Another team is unpacking the boxes and puts the products back to the shelves

Looks quite good already, right?

Looks quite good already, right?

New furtniture has to be build too: Gabi and Bianca are building an IKEA table

New furniture has to be build too: Gabi and Bianca are building an IKEA table

Some parts of the warehouse got a new floor

Some parts of the warehouse got a new floor

Everybody really enjoyed the food at the restaurant in the evening

Everybody really enjoyed the food at the restaurant in the evening

Moving offices has started

Our big moving days will be this Friday and Saturday, but as we finished all the renovation of our new office already, our office fairies already moved down to the new office. Gabi, Maggie and Bianca are already working from our new office while the rest of the team is still in the old one. They really like it, although it is a little strange to be in that big office by themselves. Today photographer Ho will join them and move down his studio to the new office.

The real challenge however will be the moving of the whole warehouse with our kawaii stuff on Saturday.

Please don’t forget that we can’t ship any orders on Friday, August 10th, due to our office move.

The 3 desks look still quite lost in the new BIG office

The 3 desks look still quite lost in the new BIG office

Everything is already unpacked so the girls can start working

Everything is already unpacked so the girls can start working

Suddenly photographer Ho is all by himself in the office area of the old office

Suddenly photographer Ho is all by himself in the office area of the old office

modes4u team: Rilakkuma asks……. Lok

It’s time to introduce another one of our staff members to you in our new blog series. This month you’ll get to know Lok – one of our packing staff – a bit better.

Hello, who are you by the way?

I’m Lok. I’m 24 years old and was born in Hong Kong. I love everything yellow and adore food, so Hong Kong is the right place for me, as there are hundreds of restaurants with different kind of food. Before I started working at modes4u I was working in the jewelry industry. Although I’m still pretty young, I am the “oldest” employee at modes4u, because I started working here in 2010.

What is your job at modes4u?
Together with my colleague Karen I am responsible for everything that is connected to sending the packages: I pick the products for the different orders from our warehouse, pack them and prepare the postal formalities. I also cut the fabrics from the big bolts for all the fabric orders that we get every day. And of course I go to the post office every evening with all the packages to mail them all over the world. So my job is very active, I am up on my feet and moving all day long.

What is your favourite product or your favourite category at modes4u?
Yellow is my favourite colour, so I like all the yellow products in our shop. The yellow Kiiroitori chick from the Rilakkuma family is really cute.
And since we got quite a few clay books which show pictures of clay craftings, I am also quite interested in this. Until now I have just crafted some little clay items, but the pictures are really inspiring and I love to look at them.

What do you like most about your job at modes4u?
We are a really cool team. Everybody helps each other and is really nice. The atmosphere in the team is great, everybody is working hard, but still we laugh a lot and have fun at the office. Plus the products are so lovely. I really enjoy picking them, and sometimes I’m really surprised when I pick new products that I haven’t seen before.

You’re surrounded by creative stuff the whole day. Do you like to craft or to be creative in your leisure time?
I really love to craft and to try all kinds of different styles. In Hong Kong you can get most crafting accessories super cheap so that’s a great opportunity to experiment and find out what you like. I sometimes craft jewelry like earrings and also like to sew little accessories and pouches. But my latest obsession is leather crafting. I have visited a class where I learned how to work with that material and already made all kinds of things.

Our office mascot Rilakkuma is really taller than Lok, but she has far more power than the lazy bear

Our office mascot Rilakkuma is really taller than Lok, but she has far more power than the lazy bear

Lok sewed this little Rilakkuma herself

Lok sewed this little Rilakkuma herself

One of Loks first clay craftings - she did it all without any molds

One of Loks first clay craftings – she did it all without any molds

New delivery: 1 ton of fabrics

Fortunately we’ll be moving into a bigger office in two weeks, because since we got a huge delivery of 1 ton (!) of fabrics last week we have serious storage issues. We were quite a bit overwhelmed when we got the delivery, as three huge pallets were carried into our office which took away all our leftover space. But we’re super excited about the hundreds of new fabrics we got from the New York label Timeless Treasures. The fabrics are beautiful and we will add them to our shop as soon as possible.

This is just a tiny part of the new Timeless Treasures fabrics we got

This is just a tiny part of the new Timeless Treasures fabrics we got

Hundreds of new fabrics will be in our shop soon

Hundreds of new fabrics will be in our shop soon

Two of the three pallets full of fabrics from the USA

Two of the three pallets full of fabrics from the USA

We're unpacking one of the pallets

We are unpacking one of the pallets

Happy Birthday Ho

What an usual position for him. Today it’s the birthday of our photographer Ho and of course we took a picture of him and the fruity mango cake that we got him. Usually Ho stands behind the camera to take pictures of all the new products for our shop. However, he enjoyed the short change of perspective, because it meant he got to cut and eat the yummy mango cake with chocolate crisps at the office. It was really full of fruit and probably the healthiest birthday cake we have had at modes4u celebrations so far.

Happy Birthday Ho!

It is Hos birthday so he gets a cake

It is Hos birthday so he gets a cake

The mango cake was really fruity, it looked like they used a whole mango to make it

The mango cake was really fruity, it looked like they used a whole mango to make it

It was so delicious, just see how big the mango pieces are

It was so delicious, just see how big the mango pieces are

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