2nd order

Wow, today we received already our 2nd order from our new online shop. Another lady from Germany bought our Tenshi Neko bags. They are our top sellers on eBay as well. Keep ordering people and you will make me happy ;-)

Tenshi Neko bag

Visa problems

I planned to go to the Canton Fair in Guangzhou / China this coming weekend to look for new suppliers. Now, the Chinese government just changed the rules for foreigners visiting China.

The usual procedure is: you go to the border, fill out an application form at the visa office, wait around 10min and you have your visa (single entry). Even better, you can go to a special travel agent in Hong Kong and apply for a multiple-entry 1-year visa. I got that one before, just took 2-3 days and you can go to China as often as you wish.

As the Olympic games are approaching, the Chinese government gets more and more worried about bad publicity (for example the disaster in Tibet) and therefore secretly changed the rules. Even worse, they didn’t announce this news to the public. Hong Kong reporters called to the Beijing goverment department and asked what happened. They denied that anything changed. But the point is, you can’t get any multiple entry visas anymore. Only single and double entry and only in a very complicated way (embassy, etc.). Furthermore, many people confirmed, that they even couldn’t get a single-entry visa at the border or at the travel agent anymore! It was said, that the rules will change back after the Olympic Games are over.

Ok, if the Chinese goverment is doing such stupid ridiculous games with us foreigners, I won’t be going to the trade fair. I don’t want to risk to get stranded at the border and have to return without going to the trade fair. Luckily, for me it’s not such a big deal as I seldom go to China anyway, but I know of many people who do business by going to China a few times per week. Their financial income is on a great risk now and I have heard of some husbands who have to stay longterm in China now and can only come back once in a while to see their families. What a mess! These Olympic games are really starting to annoy me :-(

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. ;-)

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 ;-)

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 ;-) 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.

1st order in our onlineshop

YES, today we received our first order in our onlineshop modes4u. The lady is from Germany and bought 4 items at once to make sure that she gets the free shipping. We offer free shipping for orders above 60 Euro. I am sure this idea will work very fine with my customers as they usually order more than one item.

New product: stars scarves

Finding new products is crucial for our business so I search the Internet, visit trade fairs, etc. very often. Today, Alan and I went to a trade fair and found a very promising new factory from China which is producing scarves. Most of their designs are not interesting for us, but there was one design I really loved. Its a silky style scarf with lots and lots of stars on it. My customers love stars, so I had to talk to them. They told me that it’s their first time exhibiting on a trade fair which I could see because they had 3 sales there and only 1 spoke English! The other 2 only spoke Putonghua (Mandarin). What are they thinking? That foreigners visiting trade fairs all speak Putonghua? Crazy! I speak some Putonghua but I don’t know the vocabulary for business related conversation.

Anyway, there was one who spoke English and I discussed with him questions about the product. They can make different colours and I ordered 4 samples (neon-pink, neon-yellow, black, white) to be able to take some pictures and show them to my customers. Neon colours are so IN now! Their MOQ (Minimum order quantity) is also really attractive (300 pieces/colour), their prices are also good. Now, I will wait for the samples and post some pictures here soon.

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 ;-) 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 ;-) No more late answers for all my customers’ emails.

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