Handing over delayed

We got a call last night that the landlord cannot finish the renovation until this evening. Therefore we have to postpone the handing over of the keys till Saturday because tomorrow is my husband’s 30th birthday! Damn, I am really not good in being patient especially when I am so looking forward to something. That also means that we have to delay our move from Saturday to Sunday. I hope we can finish everything in one day. There are sooo many things to move. I will need a holiday after this weekend.

And just to make the situation (and my patience) worse we tried to sign up for a business internet connection with Hutchison and they told us they won’t be able to come before 15.4.!!! Are they crazy? How can I work without internet for 2 whole weeks? They are nuts! So my husband kept pushing them and finally they agreed to come on 7.4.08. So that means I have to figure out how to work without internet in the office and use the computer at home instead. My last hope is that I can get some free access to a wireless internet connection from a neighbouring company for that week. ;-) A customer from Australia also made an appointment to see our showroom on the same day so I hope these guys set up my internet before I welcome my first official visitors to our showroom.

Starting the “real” business

As I mentioned before, I started my own business after finishing my studies in Hong Kong in 2005. Of course, at the beginning I didn’t register my company because I was just doing lots of research to find out what I could sell. I also didn’t earn any money yet, just putting in my own money. In 2007 my business started growing significantly, especially because we started doing wholesale business as well. Therefore, I decided that it is really urgent now to register my own company here. My German friend Philipp recommended an accountant to me who is taking care of such things for a good price. I sent him an email, filled out the paper he sent me (one single page!) and he prepared the documents for registration for me. He sent me the documents by courier, my business partner and me signed everything and sent it back. A few days later I got a call that our company is registered and I should pick up the original documents at his office! Now tell me, isn’t that the easiest and fastest way to open a company? I am really impressed! I even got a set with 2 different company chops, a “pressing thingy” to make a seal (no idea how to call that), a statutory book (man, that looks professional :-) ) and a really cool box with our company name’s on it.

Looking for an office & warehouse

Until now we had an home-office and we also stored all our products in our home aka “warehouse” ;-) . But we do get more and more requests from wholesale customers asking if we have a showroom in Hong Kong as they are visiting Hong Kong and want to see our products. I always had to deny and offered them instead to visit them in their hotel and bring a huge (and heavy) suitcase full with samples with us. Additional, our stock is getting bigger and bigger and we run out of space. Hong Kong apartments are already sooo small and not really suitable for fitting in a business with stock.

Therefore, in January ’08 we started looking for an office with warehouse space so we can set up a showroom, our office and have enough space for storing all our products. We had quite a lot of requirements including:

- 1000-1200 sqf
- reasonable price (what is reasonable in Hong Kong?!?)
- close to the MTR (subway)
- quiet (no machines/factories on the upper/lower floors)
- must have its own toilet (I can’t imagine using the public toilet in these industrial buildings)
- at least 3-4 rooms (“boss”-office, showroom, warehouse, etc.)
- renovated (walls painted, clean floor)

Based on these requirements it was really hard to find a suitable place, but good news everyone:

WE FOUND IT!!!

It is 1,200 sqf big, has 3 rooms (2 “boss”-offices, 1 big room) plus 1 storage room plus a big corridor plus a toilet, reasonably priced, very close to my home (~15 mins by bus plus 5 mins walking) and very close to MTR (~5 mins walking). The offices around it are trading companies, so they are usually not really noisy. ;-) The landlord also agreed on painting the walls, cleaning the carpet and the air-conditioners. Furthermore, there is a new big Yoga-studio within 5 mins walking distance ;-) Great for working out after work. We met the landlord last Sunday 23.3.08, and we will get the keys this Thursday! That’s quick! So in other words: JUST PERFECT!

We will convert the corridor into a showroom, Alan and I get each one of the “boss”-offices and our future employees will work in the big room. I found a part-time employee (Alan’s brother) already who will start working next week as well.

I will post some photos of our great new office as soon as possible. In the meantime, here is a picture from Google Earth in a bird’s eye view…

Office Picture
picture of our office including surrounding area (shopping mall, yoga studio, bus stop and MTR station)

Anyone, who is visiting Hong Kong and interested in our products is welcome to visit us. Please call for an appointment. Here is the address:

modeS Group Limited
Room E, 10/F
On Fook Industrial Building
41-45 Kwai Fung Street
Kwai Fong
Hong Kong

phone: (+852) 901 869 82

Directions: Here is a map where you can see how to get to our office:

Office Map

Some extra income

While I was searching for the right products I got the opportunity to earn some extra cash. In November 2006 Sony released the Playstation 3 in Japan and therefore it was available in Hong Kong as well. Almost everything on sale in Japan is imported to Hong Kong too. So I grabbed this opportunity making some money in selling PS3s to Europe on eBay. I could sell them quite well because there were not too many competitors and the demand was huge. Additionally, I also offered PS3 games and accessories for a very good price.

PS3 delivery
customer orders including PS3s, games & accessories

PS3 games and accessories
PS3 games & accessories on sale on eBay

In March 2007, the PS3 was released in Europe and eBay got some crazy restrictions on who is allowed to sell the Ps3. We were not allowed to anymore. So I quit selling them and focused on my main business: fashion.

The money I earned from the PS3s and games I invested in manufacturing clothes and fashion accessories in China and ordering bags from Thailand as well. I was finally able to stock up on more items and increase our sales. We also used some of the money for a Christmas holidays trip to Austria to visit my family there. :-)

The Beginning

How did i start this whole adventure?

Well, I will start right from the beginning. In 2004 i finished my Master studies in Computer Science at the Fachhochschule Vorarlberg in Austria. Now I could call myself Dipl.Ing.(FH) Sandra Boch. ;-) During my last semester I was invited by a Hong Kong university (Polytechnic University Hong Kong) to join their 2004 summer school program. Since High School I always wanted to study/live abroad for a while. As i haven’t had any plans yet, I decided to join this summer university. The program was conducted in Hong Kong for 4 weeks and after that we flew to Beijing for another 2 weeks. The classes were about Chinese language (Putonghua) and Chinese culture.

Summer University
my classmates and me at our Putonghua class during summer university

During that time I realised how desperately I wanted to go abroad and started looking for suitable interesting study programs while being in Hong Kong. As it was summer already, the number of choices were very limited. I was looking for a marketing/business management course for 1 year (including a degree). Luckily, I found one called Business Management and I would get a Bachelor degree in Business Management at the end of one year. The course was conducted by Northumbria University in the UK, but classes were hold in Hong Kong. During that year I learned a lot about Hong Kong people and culture, studying in china (such a difference to Austria) and so on. I started thinking about my future and what I should do after finishing this degree. I successfully graduated as a Bachelor of Arts with Second Class Honours (Upper Division) in Business Management in May 2005.

Classmates and me
with my classmates (Weny, Yan, Cybill and me)

I didn’t like the idea of looking for a “normal” full-time job as i hate paternalism and restrictions and love the challenge. So i decided to try and start my own business right after leaving university. During that year i also met my future husband Alan. He also had his own company and supported me in the idea to start my own business.

That’s how my adventure started….

welcome to my blog

Hello,

this is my first post on this blog. I would like to write about my company modeS Group Ltd. and all the interesting things happening while trying to make this company successful and bigger.

What are we doing? modeS Group is an online retail/wholesale company for fashion (garment and accessories) for the following styles:

emo, rockabilly, rock, gothic, batcave, punk, skull, kawaii etc.

We have some brands as well: Pucca, Tenshi Neko (similar to Hello Kitty), Nightmare before Christmas, Minmie, Living Dead Toy, Guru Gala, Mimori, Akuma etc.

We started with a few eBay accounts, example modes4u, and quickly realized that eBay can’t be the future as the fees are ridiculously high, customer usually “difficult” and the profit margin just too small. So i looked for different opportunities and found the wholesale market. Shops and wholesalers in Europe/USA are looking for new suppliers with good prices and we can offer that as we order all our items directly from factories in China and Thailand.

So, that’s it for my first post. I will write in more detail about the different products we have, about wholesale and online-retail etc. later on.

For now, have a nice day.
Sandra

Sandra Boch
that’s me, Sandra Boch

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