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.

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 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.

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

I got the keys !!!

Today, FINALLY, I got the keys for our office. I am so excited! It is really hard for me to wait for something when I really want it.

Now, there is still lots of work ahead of us. Tomorrow we are going to move the complete office (incl. our products) to there. We will get some help from Alan’s brother Mark and Alan’s best friend Ping who is experienced in moving because he helped us moving our apartment before. πŸ˜‰

We checked out the available wireless network connections immediately but unfortunately no unsecure network. That means I still have to work at home the next week until the “internet guy” will come on 7.4.08.

Office keys
there are 3 keys only for the entrance door (for security reasons)
plus 1 key for the mail box (the other 2 are for my home)

Handing over delayed

We got a call last night that the landlord cannot finish the renovation until this evening. Therefore we have to postpone the handing over of the keys till Saturday because tomorrow is my husband’s 30th birthday! Damn, I am really not good in being patient especially when I am so looking forward to something. That also means that we have to delay our move from Saturday to Sunday. I hope we can finish everything in one day. There are sooo many things to move. I will need a holiday after this weekend.

And just to make the situation (and my patience) worse we tried to sign up for a business internet connection with Hutchison and they told us they won’t be able to come before 15.4.!!! Are they crazy? How can I work without internet for 2 whole weeks? They are nuts! So my husband kept pushing them and finally they agreed to come on 7.4.08. So that means I have to figure out how to work without internet in the office and use the computer at home instead. My last hope is that I can get some free access to a wireless internet connection from a neighbouring company for that week. πŸ˜‰ A customer from Australia also made an appointment to see our showroom on the same day so I hope these guys set up my internet before I welcome my first official visitors to our showroom.

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.

First registered customer

I found out that just one day after we released our online-shop www.modes4u.com our first customer signed up for an account (incl. newsletter). The customer is from Italy where we have many customers from our eBay business already, especially for our Tenshi Neko bags. They are really popular in Europe. Unfortunately no one has ordered anything from our shop yet but I must be patient as our shop is totally new and just less than 1 week old.

Tenshi Neko
one of our bestsellers from the Tenshi Neko bag collection