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. πŸ˜‰

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. πŸ˜‰

Part-time employee

As I have more and more work to do I decided to find a part-time employee so I can pass some of the not-so-important-work to someone else and focus on the important one. Alan’s brother Mark is a student at a Hong Kong college and so I asked him if he has some spare time for a part time job. He agreed and he started today. I gave him some photos for editing and explained him how to do it. As his English isn’t as good as Alan’s, it’s a bit difficult to explain and talk to him but we should be able to manage that. He will be busy with editing photos for at least a few weeks but after that I have already a lot of other work waiting for him πŸ˜‰

A visit from a friend

Philipp, my friend from Germany, who lived in Hong Kong before and is now living in Thailand (Koh Samui) visited me today in the office. He came to Hong Kong to discuss a new project with Alan and me. They are interested in getting a similar online shop like ours from us. Christan, another German who works with Philipp, prepared a design layout and we discussed their plan. Alan will be responsible for the programming part while Christian is doing the design.

They want to sell their mp3 player in their new online shop and they are very keen in getting our online shop template as Alan invested lots and lots of time in improving the XT-Commerce standard shop. XT Commerce is a very successful online shop template from Germany and you can get it for free. But there are some disadvantages: First of all, there were a lot of logic bugs, programming bugs and a horrible English template (they translated the German template word by word into English). Second, the template doesn’t have any kind of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) so your shop will be listed at the back of search result pages. It is crucial for online shops to be listed on the first page for important keywords to be able to get new customers. So Alan spent night after night (he has a full time job during the day) on changing the template and make it more attractive for search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN.

And I must say: IT WORKED! Our online shop was almost fully indexed after just 2 weeks being online. Furthermore, we are listed for many important keywords on the first page, sometimes we are even the number one! From ZERO to page 1(!), what a great result!

So Philipp is even more keen to get our template now πŸ˜‰ But he has to pay good money for that. haha. But it will be worth it, I am sure about that. So anyone, who may be interested in getting his/her own online shop with a fully SEO optimized template, please check out SEO-Expert or contact me (in English or German) and I will forward the details to Alan.

2nd visitor

Unbelievable, today we had already our 2nd visitor coming to our new showroom within 2 weeks! They are from Germany as well! I picked them up at their hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui and took a taxi to our showroom with them. I offer such a good service πŸ˜‰ They are interested in ordering some custom made products for their company. I will try my best to find suitable factories and products for them.

That’s why we opened the showroom and everyone is invited to come by and have a look at our products. Just give me a call in advance. You can find our address here.

Back online

I am back online! YEAH! Yesterday the “internet man” came by and installed the broadband connection (4MB up- and download) but unfortunately it didn’t work after he was finished. He said something about “Port, building, broken” in his broken english. I wasn’t sure what he meant. So Alan called to Hutchison and asked why our internet doesn’t work. They said that they have to fix something at the building and I should try again the next day. So today, I went to office again and tried it out. Luckily it worked! Finally I can work properly again πŸ˜‰ No more late answers for all my customers’ emails.

Furniture for free

A good friend of Alan, Stephen, works in a recycling company and offered us to give us chairs for our office for free. They get each year office equipment from HSBC (big bank) as they need to use up their budget and invest in new office equipment every year. Therefore, they had some very nice, comfy, almost new chairs for us. Today, we called a van to pick us up and drive to Yuen Long which is near the Chinese border in the North. We got 5 really nice chairs and drove them back to our office.

Now Alan and our visitors don’t need to stand anymore but can sit in comfy chairs πŸ˜‰ Thanks Stephen!

Office Chairs
our nice new office chairs

Moving

Today we moved our home office and products to the new big office. It was unbelievable. There were 3 guys and me and we needed almost an hour to get the things just downstairs (although we could use a reasonable sized elevator)! I didn’t realize before how many things are actually related to my work in our home. Our apartment looks really empty now. One room is completly empty and the others look really strange now to me πŸ˜‰

Once the things were finally in the truck, the rest of the move was pretty quick. We drove around 15 mins to the new office, moved the car in front of the loading area (don’t forget that’s an industrial building where trucks can load and unload items easily πŸ™‚ ) and just moved everything directly into 2 big elevators. 10 floors up and we moved all the things into the office -> DONE!

Thanks to Alan, Ping and Mark for their help!


big office room

my “boss office”

some of our stock