Finding the right product

I read it in many books: “Finding the right product is the hardest thing of starting your business and being successful”.

I totally have to agree with this. It is really hard to find a product that you can sell. There are many factors to be taken care of, like popularity (is it a popular product?), originality (am I the only one selling it or are there already hundreds of other sellers?), price (can I buy it for a reasonable price and sell it profitable?), sources (where can I buy it?), etc.etc. I planned to start selling on eBay, as its the easiest and fastest way to find customers worldwide.

So, I started looking around to find THE product in Hong Kong.

While I spend time in Hong Kong during summer university, the ESPRIT outlets were very popular among my female classmates. ESPRIT is a Hong Kong company and producing a lot of their clothes in China and Hong Kong. They have some great outlets where they sell leftovers, overstock and last season items for a very low price. So I started going to these outlets and buy hundreds of t-shirts, tops, trousers and jackets, take pictures of them and put them on eBay (Summer-Autumn 2005). As the competition of ESPRIT items is very though on eBay and our profit margin was too low, I stopped selling ESPRIT clothes and started looking for new products.

Anyone who is visiting Hong Kong and wants to check out their outlets, here are the addresses:
KAISENG Commercial Centre
4-6 HANKOW ROAD
TSIMSHATSUI
KOWLOON
Hong Kong

CITYGATE
SHOP 201, LEVEL 2
TUNG CHUNG
NEW TERRITORIES
Hong Kong

Esprit Tanktop
black ESPRIT tank-top

Esprit trousers
beige ESPRIT trousers, was one of our best sellers

During that time (End of 2005) Apple released their new product iPod nano and that product was HOT. it was released later in Europe than in Hong Kong and the price was much higher than here. Additional, Apple’s iPods were sold out, so I thought, this could be a profitable income. I started selling on eBay iPod nanos and was quite successful with it. The only problem was that some customers had trouble with customs and had to pay extra tax. After a while, there was more competition on eBay and the profit margin was reduced, so I started looking for new products again.

iPod Nano
that was our first “bulk” shipping of iPod nanos

Sony released their very first SONY PSP (End of 2004). Hong Kong was one of the first markets to get these new popular game consoles because many wholesalers import from Japan and so you can get almost everything that is available in Japan immediately. As the sales of iPod nanos wasn’t attractive anymore, I started selling Sony PSPs. The Japanese versions were very popular in Europe because of the special white colour and because you could play copy games with it. I sold PSPs for a very long period of time but after a while (around a year) the market was saturated and not attractive to me anymore.

white Sony PSP
selling Japanese white SONY PSPs with one of our eBay accounts “hk-trends”

Coming up:
What other products I tried to sell and how I found THE product.

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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