New Newsletter software

I got a new newsletter software which I can connect with my software Afterbuy. We use Afterbuy for the online shop, managing eBay auctions, our product database and handling the purchases. I was on the lookout for a suitable newsletter provider for a while and I decided to use CleverReach. After testing and trying out all the functions I wrote our first newsletter for our customers. It took a while to set up a nice design and write the whole newsletter but the coming newsletters will be much faster written as I can save my newsletters as templates. I hope my customers enjoy this service and get informed about new products first and special sales that only our newsletter subscribers can enjoy.

If you want to sign up for our newsletter and be the first to see our newest items and get special discounts, please sign up on our website (lower right box). I plan to write regular newsletters for both our end customers and our wholesale customers.

Threat from Chinese guy

I received a threat on my blog from a Chinese guy, threatening me that he will destroy my business if I keep on writing critically about the Chinese government. The comment was made on my post about the visa problems many foreigners have after the Chinese government suddenly changed the rules for entering China. Some people are really just ridiculous. The complete comment was:

DO NOT CRITICISE OUR GOVERNMENT OR WE WILL SHUT DOWN YOUR WEBPAGE AND BUSINESS.”

Interestingly the IP address from the writer is a computer In Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Now I am really scared. ha ha… His email address was a @china.gov – address. I guess he thought he can impress and scare people with that.

I am not the only one receiving threats from crazy Chinese, a friend of mine got a similar one: GMtee. He is selling t-shirts with the Tibetan flag on it and got the following email: “DO NOT SELL FREE TIBET T-SHIRT! DO NOT CHALLENGE CHINESE PEOPLE!”

Gifts & Premium Fair

I went to the Gifts & Premium Fair the first time today. We were just curious what they are offering there and hoped that we are lucky and find something interesting for our shop. The fair was huge; so many halls. Every time I go to a trade fair I come back home with burning feet and legs. It is SO exhausting. You don’t realize it while you are there because there are so many things to see so you are totally distracted. But after leaving the premises you suddenly realize how many kilometres you must have walked. High Heels are a No-NO, you just wouldn’t make it through countless aisles of booths.

I was really lucky this time as I met a Japanese guy who is the official distributor of San-X. If you don’t know San-X, here is the official website. They have lots of cute kawaii-style characters like Rilakkuma (a cute bear) and Mamegoma (a baby seal). San-X didn’t have a booth there but the factory who is producing their products gave me the contact details. I will definitely contact them. Their items would fit perfectly into our shop.

Rilakkuma Bear
Rilakkuma, the cute Relax Bear

Mamegoma Seal
Mamegoma, a baby seal

We also found a contact for a printing shop here in Hong Kong who could make low quantity of t-shirts for us. The printing quality is really good so that could be a useful contact in the future. We plan to make our own t-shirts soon. And low quantities are always welcomed. There was also a company who could make our prints on stickers, so our customers could iron the designs themselves onto their t-shirts. But I personally think the printing shop is more interesting because the quality is just better.

Mannikin and body parts

I ordered a mannikin and some body parts for taking photos of our products. Today it finally arrived and I must say she looks pretty good. Nice make up, fake eyelashes and skin colour body. I hope we will be able to take more professional pictures with this mannikin and show our products better.

Mannikin
Mannikin Head
Mannikin Bodyparts

The hole is fixed

Our landlord came by this morning to check out the problem in our bathroom. He left and came back with the construction worker and the owner of the office upstairs. Our landlord and the construction worker started discussing and arguing. I didn’t understand a word but it was obvious that he was angry with that guy. The owner of the upper office apologized to me many times (his English was quite good). They then started to fix the hole by pouring concrete into the hole from upstairs and painting white paint over it. That’s it. I hope that;s safe enough and the ceiling won’t come down again.

Hole in the Ceiling
the fixed hole after the concrete was poured in

Help, the sky is falling

When I went to work this morning a “nice” drilling noise welcomed me at the entrance door. I thought, oh no, I have to stand this noise the whole day. After I entered the office the noise became louder and louder. When I reached my room the noise was almost unbearable. There was definitely a construction going on on the upper floor and it seems they are rebuilding the toilet as the noise came right from there. I went into our bathroom to check it out and the noise was extreme. I looked up and saw some water drops falling down! Ok, something was wrong here.

I tried to call my husband to ask what to do. As I don’t speak any Chinese I didn’t know how to talk to construction workers. Unfortunately, he didn’t pick up his phone so I tried to work for a while. Suddenly, I heard a very loud noise which sounded like falling rocks. I carefully went back to the bathroom and saw that the ceiling came down! Can you imagine that? These stupid construction workers drilled so long until a part of the ceiling broke down. Oh God! Now, I didn’t know what to do. I got my shoes and just wanted to go upstairs, as the door bell rang and one of the workers stand outside. He said something like “Solly, Solly” (= Sorry) and pointed to the ceiling. I showed him the way to the bathroom and he checked it out. After that he left me his phone number.

Finally, Alan picked up the phone and he called to that guy and asked what the hell he is doing. They said they will come tomorrow again and fix it. Oh God, this is really scary. I am afraid now that the rest of the ceiling will come down as well. Or worse, the ceiling in my office. As Asterix and Obelix said: “Help, the sky is falling!”

Another trade fair visit

These weeks many trade fairs are held in Hong Kong. They are just in time for companies ordering for their Christmas business. Alan and I went to a Houseware Fair and we could see lots of Christmas decoration. I must say I LOVE Christmas and seeing all these decorations, Christmas trees, Christmas candles etc. made me really looking forward to this year’s Christmas. Like every year, we will fly to Austria and celebrate Christmas with my family. Can’t wait to see them again and lots of snow and Christmas decoration.

Now, back to what I wanted to write about: We checked out that trade fair because we wanted to see if we can find anything interesting and maybe get a 2nd product range for our business. It is always wise to not just stick to one product range but to extend it and maybe even find a totally different product range for your business. I have a colleague from Germany who is exactly doing this. He is selling ducks (the ones for the bathtub) and he has another online shop selling cherrystones and other natural products.

We found 2 interesting products: One is a factory producing stickers. Stickers aren’t anything special, but they have wall stickers which can be stuck on a wall or any other big surface. It is great to decorate your room. They have designs for children rooms, adult bedrooms, living rooms, kitchen and so on. Some examples of designs: gorgeous flowers, Buddhas, Asian inspired themes and many more.

Wallsticker

I also found a factory who makes 3D stickers for decorating bathroom & kitchen tiles, cups, glasses, fridge, MP3 player, PSP, iPhone, iPod, mobile phone and many more. They are really cool because the quality is amazing and after sticking it for example on a tile it looks like it was printed on it, not just a sticker. And the 3D effect is really amazing too. We were totally surprised that a sticker can look like a print. With these stickers it will be easy to change your bathroom, kitchen or any of your decoration within seconds. You don’t need to spend huge amounts of money on new tiles, glasses or whatever anymore. The stickers are even removable, so you can change the design as often as you want. Here is a photo of some examples, unfortunately you can’t see the quality:

3D Sticker

I hope we can find a way to produce and sell these products very soon. We can even make custom made designs. So anyone interested, please contact me by e-mail.

I have to admit I couldn’t resist when I saw all these gorgeous candles and ordered some samples for myself. That’s one of the advantages when you have a company, you can order free samples for yourself, but don’t tell anyone. 😉

Trade Fair visits

We are constantly on the lookout for new products. This year I decided to go to all trade fairs in Hong Kong that sound interesting. You never know what you will find. As I live in Hong Kong and there are so many international trade fairs here, I should take this chance and check them out.

Today, Alan and I went to the Gifts & Houseware Fair to look for some new ideas. And we really found some interesting things. Alan is really into ceramic knives and we found 2 factories who could manufacture them for us. I also found some factories for badges, cute fans, plastic accessories (mobile phone straps, bracelets etc.) and factories who produce blankets and doormats for one of my customers. Alan also found a company who makes iPhone skinz but unfortunately, their quality isn’t good enough for his expectations. He is doing a local chinese blog related to iPhone news, software etc. and always looking for new products that could be interesting to blog about.

For my my company modeS4u, the cute, kawaii-style fans and the badges could be interesting to add to our current collection. Here are some pictures of the fans, aren’t they cute?

cute fans
cute fans
cute fans

Business Opportunities with GMtee?

Today, Don from GMtee came by at my office to say hi. I found his blog on the internet and contacted him as he is doing something similar like me here in Hong Kong. He is the owner of the brand “GMtee” and also has his own online shop and eBay shop. They are selling Asian inspired clothes with prints like dragons, Buddhas, Ninjas, famous chinese warriors etc. Don is an expat like me living in Hong Kong, but he came to Hong Kong much earlier than me (ok, he is older too). We met to discuss a possible business collaboration and to get to know each other better.

We came up with some interesting ideas how we can support each other’s business, for example

  • promote each other’s online shop in our newsletters to our customers (wholesale/retail)
  • exchange banner/link in our online shops
  • exchange flyers which we will pack into the parcels for our customers

Furthermore, we could also collaborate manufacturing our own designs at factories in China. He has a very good relationship with a factory who produces high quality t-shirts, sweaters and long sleeve shirts for him. He brought 2 shirts for me to check out the quality. I have to say, the quality is really incredible good (very soft, heavy cotton) and the print is a high quality print as well (thick, soft print). So we could share the MOQ (minimum order quantity) for the t-shirt material.

I think we small business owners should support each other and help where we can. Anyone else interested in a business collaboration with my company? If yes, email me.

GMtee T-Shirt
I got this cute t-shirt from GMtee

Business Card Lost

A few days ago, I wrote that I found a new factory which can make some really nice scarves with stars on them. Well, after we left the trade fair we found out that the business card from that company was not here anymore. I can’t explain how could that have happened as we tacked it to a catalog as a precaution. Anyway, as I was so excited about these scarves I went to the trade fair once more today and got another business card from them. Let’s hope it was worth the extra trip and we can sell lots of them. 😉

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