My sis is coming to Hong Kong

YAY, my sister Marion told me today that she is going to visit me in Hong Kong this July. It will be her first time in Hong Kong, even in Asia! How exciting! This will be a very fun time as we love going out together, clubbing, dancing, drinking and having fun. I miss my family and this will be a great chance to spend lots of time with my “little” sis. I will definitely write some posts about what we are doing while she is here. πŸ™‚

Familymy mum, me and my sis

Olympic Games tickets cheat

I love horses since I am a child, so I planned to watch the Olympic Equestrian Events. Luckily they show them here in Hong Kong and not in Beijing. A few days ago, I went to the official Ticket Seller website and saw that I can book the tickets online. I thought “Great!” and booked around 4x 2 tickets. I waited for a confirmation email, call or anything else but nothing happened. So today I called to their office and asked what’s going on. The woman laughed (!) at me and said: “Cannot book online. Only in branch. Many people call and are angry.” And she laughed again. This is not funny at all! Why the hell are they offering online booking when the tickets cannot be booked? So I asked if there are any tickets left, of course NOT πŸ™ I am REALLY angry now! Such a crap service! The company’s name is China Travel Service. I recommend, never ever use them if you want reliable, good service.

Hong Kong Torch Relay

Today was the Olympic Torch Relay in Hong Kong. As i was warned in advance about it this time I decided to stay at home and watch the event from my balcony until the bridge is opened again. I live in Park Island which is a small island right next to the beautiful Tsing Ma Bridge. The torch relay was scheduled to take place on the bridge around noon. I shot a photo with my camera:

Tsing Ma Bridge

As the air pollution was really bad today (poor guys who had to run and breath in that air), I attach another photo with the view from our balcony on a nice unpolluted day:

Tsing Ma Bridge

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.

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

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.

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 πŸ™‚ ) and a really cool box with our company name’s on it.

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. πŸ™‚

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