The biggest San-X delivery ever!

This is certainly our biggest San-X delivery ever. Today 5 pallets filled with more than 90 boxes arrived. They are filled with lots of new stationery and really maaaany plush toys. So finally we could restock lots of products that were sold out, but of course there are tons of new items too.

And some spectacular news: To celebrate Rilakkumas 10th Anniversary San-X released a series of zodiac signs plushies. We are allowed to sell them as one of the very few online shops outside of Japan, it’s such an honor. The whole collection arrived with the huge delivery, we will hurry to upload them to our shop.

Pallet after pallet arrives at the office

Pallet after pallet arrives at the office

Our big office Rilakkuma lounging in front of the big delivery

Our big office Rilakkuma lounging in front of the big delivery

The Rilakkuma boxes are super cute

The Rilakkuma boxes are super cute

Part of the opened boxes, there are more around the corner

Part of the opened boxes, there are more around the corner

We got lots of cute Rilakkuma plushies and cellphone accessories

We got lots of cute Rilakkuma plushies and cellphone accessories

Of course there are lots of stationery products too

Of course there are lots of stationery products too

A new Korilakkuma in a sleeping bag plush

A new Korilakkuma in a sleeping bag plush

So many new products

So many new products

This plush is from the zodiac sign collection

This plush is from the zodiac sign collection

Here are all the plush toys from the zodiac sign collection we whill have at our shop

Here are all the plush toys from the zodiac sign collection we will have in our shop

modes4u team: Rilakkuma asks……. Sandra

This will be a long interview, but she just has so much to tell. Why? Because she started the company many years ago. Meet the boss: Sandra!

Hello, who are you by the way?
I’m Sandra, 31 years old. I am the Managing Director and founder of modes4u. My hometown is Bregenz in Austria, but I have been living in Hong Kong for more than eight years now. After I finished my Masters degree in Computer Science I was invited to join a summer university program in Hong Kong and Beijing. I liked it so much that I decided to stay. I moved to Hong Kong and studied Business Management.  During that time I met my husband Alan and after graduating we started modes4u.com together.

What is your job at modes4u?
At the beginning I did everything from A to Z as there was only Alan and I. I looked for suppliers, ordered products, wrote product descriptions, packed and shipped orders, blogged, organised partnerships, answered customer emails etc. Meanwhile my tasks have changed, because now I have a great team that supports me a lot.

I am still responsible for purchasing, so I order products, look for new suppliers and do everything that is connected to that. I also visit trade shows all around the world several times a year to check out the newest products and trends and to meet business partners.

I frequently start new projects, as I have so many ideas for improving and simplifying the shop. Despite that I am still pretty active in the day-to-day business: I answer lots of emails every day and do paper work and administrative tasks. But when we have lots of orders I still help packing.

What is your favourite product or your favourite category at modes4u?
I like everything we have, otherwise I would not have ordered it. But personally I like our fabrics the most. I have done quite a bit of sewing with our echino fabrics, but I also like to use cute designs with matryoshkas, owls, deer etc.
Washi Tapes are on second position in my personal priority list. We have a very big variety now and I really like the beautiful prints.

What do you like most about your job at modes4u?
I am in the very special situation that I have founded this company, therefore I have to say: everything! It is a very special feeling for me to see the shop grow each year and get more and more professional opportunities.
Also I like the work attitude in Hong Kong. Everybody is working eagerly and without complaining. Our team is really great and I appreciate that a lot.

I feel like you can try lots of new projects here. In Europe many things would not be possible that easily and without a lot of bureaucracy. There is an innovative atmosphere, the people are not afraid of experimenting and also willing to take a risk.

You’re surrounded by creative stuff the whole day. Do you like to craft or to be creative in your leisure time?
I like to craft very much if I have a good occasion. Like when I sewed curtains with our echino fabrics for our whole house, because we needed some. It took super long until I was done, but even though it was lots of work, I totally enjoyed it.

For my little nieces I sewed bibs with our fabrics, as a mother can never have enough of those. And I also like to use fabrics as decoration, e.g. by just framing them.
I have also used Washi Tape to decorate vases and glasses or used them as name tags for glasses at parties and BBQs.

Big Rilakkuma is asking Sandra lots of questions at our lunch table

Big Rilakkuma is asking Sandra lots of questions at our lunch table

Sandra sewed these bibs for her little nieces

Sandra sewed these bibs for her little nieces

Not yet finished, but already very pretty. A Little bag sewed with our fabrics

Not yet finished, but already very pretty. A Little bag sewed with our fabrics

Sandra used different echino fabrics to sew curtains for her whole house. Seen here: Living room curtains

Sandra used different echino fabrics to sew curtains for her whole house. Shown here: Living room curtains

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A “shop” in Hong Kong where Sandra bought fleece for sewing.

Her cat Miu also liked the big sewing project. So comfy!

Her cat Miu also liked the big sewing project. So comfy!

Sandra crafted a pinboard by stapling fabric onto cork coasters

Sandra crafted a pinboard by stapling fabric onto cork coasters

A whole new vase design made with a couple of stripes of Washi Tape

A whole new vase design made with a couple of stripes of Washi Tape

Rilakkuma’s Top 3 Valentine’s favourites from our shop

Are you in a romantic mood already? Our big office Rilakkuma definitely is, he can’t wait for Valentine’s Day to come. Today he even went through our warehouse and picked all his favourite items for Valentine’s Day. These are his top 3:

1. Heart fabrics

Doesn’t he look lovely with all those heart fabrics on his lap? These are just a few of the heart fabrics we carry in our shop. If you can sew there are endless possibilities for using them, but also if you are not an expert on the sewing machine you’ll enjoy them: use them as decoration or include them in your crafting activities.

Rilakkuma selected some of his favourite heart fabrics

Rilakkuma selected some of his favourite heart fabrics

2. Heart deco tapes

Aww, they look so cute. Rilakkuma loves the heart deco tapes, they just spread an atmosphere of love and spice up every gift wrapping or card.

Rilakkuma senaking a peek at the cute heart deco tapes

Rilakkuma sneaking a peek at the cute heart deco tapes

3. Rilakkuma heart stationery

Rilakkuma knows very well that his own products are pretty cute themselves. Here he selected some stationery items like folders, memo pads, letter sets or towels with lovely heart designs. And Rilakkuma, Korilakkuma and Kiiroitori must not be missing of course.

the lazy bear with some of his favourite Rilakkuma stationery

The lazy bear with some of his favourite Rilakkuma stationery

modes4u team: Rilakkuma asks……. Karen

We’ve already introduced you to large parts of our team, but some very important people are still missing. Like our packing fairy Karen!

Hello, who are you by the way?
My name is Karen. I’m 32 years old and come from Hong Kong. I have been working for modes4u for 1 ½ years now and like it a lot. Before I had a job as an animator for many years, where I animated cartoons.

What is your job at modes4u?
I am one of the packing staff here and do everything from picking products, wrapping and packing, cutting fabrics from the bolts, sticking stamps on the envelopes to taking the packages to the post office. Of course I can’t do all of this by myself, I share these tasks with my colleagues Lok and Veronica.

We have lots of Japanese products and as I speak a bit of Japanese I sometimes have to help out Bianca, when she is describing the products and needs additional information.

What is your favourite product or your favourite category at modes4u?
I loooove Rilakkuma, so working here is my personal heaven. All the Rilakkuma products are really lovely, but I like the Rilakkuma plushies the most. My absolute favourite is our giant Rilakkuma office mascot, which is almost taller than me. Fortunately he is not for sale, so I can see him every day when I’m at work.

What do you like most about your job at modes4u?
I really enjoy the friendly and almost familiar atmosphere. And it is so cool to work in an international team, because I am super curious to learn about different cultures. I absorb all the new information like a sponge and take every opportunity to try local food from the different countries.

I also like to work with our products; it’s really fun to pack them.

You’re surrounded by creative stuff the whole day. Do you like to craft or to be creative in your leisure time?
I don’t craft very much, but express myself in a different way in my leisure time. I like to cook very much for example. As my colleagues bring delicious self-made pastry frequently, it really makes me want to bake too, but unfortunately we don’t have an oven (lots of people don’t in Hong Kong). So the other week I made a dessert called “chocolate salami”, a big chocolate roll filled with nuts, cookies and pistachios. It looked like a salami when you cut in slices. It was pastry without baking.

After work I also take language classes, I started to learn Korean last year and also took English classes to improve my English.

As happy as can be: Karen with our Rilakkuma office mascot

As happy as can be: Karen with our Rilakkuma office mascot

It really looks like salami, but was a delicious chocolate dessert - Karens yummy chocolate salami

It really looks like salami, but was a delicious chocolate dessert – Karens yummy chocolate salami

Exclusive Chinese New Year Rilakkuma plushies

Hissssss, what a cute surprise. The Chinese New Year will start soon and for the ‘year of the snake’ San-X released a super cute 2013 Chinese New Year Rilakkuma limited edition. And we actually have the adorable plush toys in our shop. This is really a great honour, because only a handful of retailers in the whole world are allowed to sell them outside of Japan. We’re super proud and totally in love with the three plushies.

Rilakkuma, Korilakkuma and Kiiroitori are wearing funny green snake caps or costumes and also have a cute snake pet with them. The bears hold little wallets and wish for lots of money. All plushies have a ‘2013’ embroidery, so they can be a great lucky charm for this year.

Be fast if you want one, this is a limited edition and we won’t get those plushies again.

Rilakkuma brown plush bear with snake and wallet

Rilakkuma brown plush bear with snake and wallet

Rilakkuma white plush bear with snake and wallet

Rilakkuma white plush bear with snake and wallet

Rilakkuma yellow plush chick as snake in a basket

Rilakkuma yellow plush chick as snake in a basket

Inventory at the modes4u office: Counting from 1 to 13

The year 2013 is already 13 days old and and as the beginning of the year is often used for inventory, we also started counting some things. Check out some fun facts about the modes4u office.

He is our hero and beloved mascot, the one and only giant Rilakkuma bear

He is our hero and beloved mascot, the one and only giant Rilakkuma bear

One Rilakkuma

We couldn’t wish for a better mascot. Most of the times our beloved giant plush Rilakkuma just relaxes lazily in his office corner, but we’re more than happy that he joined our team.

Two office entrance doors for modes4u - you can already tell from outside where to get to the warehouse or the office area

Two office entrance doors for modes4u – you can already tell from outside where to get to the warehouse or the office area

Two entrance doors

Since we moved to our new office last August not just the office size doubled but also the number of entrance doors. When you enter the right door you get to our office area, the warehouse is on the left side.

Our three packing ladies pick and wrap your orders

Our three packing ladies pick and wrap your orders

Three packing fairies

Our youngest staff member Veronice joined our team in 2012, so now we have three packing girls who make sure that you get all the cute things you ordered.

The four desks in this working area belong to the office heroes

The four desks in this working area belong to the office heroes

Four desks for office stuff

This little island of desks and computers is the work home for the part of our team that’s responsible for customer service, photography, copy writing and internet marketing.

Already five rows of shelves are completely filled with fabrics

Already five rows of shelves are completely filled with fabrics

Five rows of fabric shelves

We already have more than 1,000 fabrics, so by now already five complete rows of shelves in our warehouse are filled with those lovely textiles.

Six air cons scattered throughout the whole company help us to stay cool in summer

Six air cons scattered throughout the whole company help us to stay cool in summer

Six air conditioners

Hong Kong gets incredibly hot during the long summer, without a good air con working is really no fun. Luckily we have 6 different ones scattered throughout the whole place.

If you have ordered from our shop before you got your items in one of these seven bags

If you have ordered from our shop before you got your items in one of these seven bags

Seven wrapping bags

To protect your orders, we always put them in plastic bags before putting them into the envelopes. The seven different plastic bags make sure we have the right size from very small to super big orders.

Every shelf in the modes4u warehouse consistes of eight stories full of products

Every shelf in the modes4u warehouse consists of eight stories full of products

Eight trays in each shelf

As we have lots of small stationery items we could put eight trays into each shelf to use the space available in the most efficient way.

Everyday we combine those nine different stamps to get the right amount on all the packages

Everyday we combine those nine different stamps to get the right amount on all the packages

Nine types of stamps

We ship to almost every country in the world, so of course the postage on each envelope is always different. Every day we have to pick the right amount of stamps of these nine different types when sending your packages.

What a great variety, there are 20 different flavours for our coffee machine

What a great variety, there are 10 different flavours for our coffee machine

Ten different coffee flavours

Since we got a super cool Nespresso coffee machine last spring we can be even more productive. And it’s great to have a big variety of flavours. At the moment we have ten different ones, as all of our staff members have a different taste.

In autumn thirteen major product categories are online on our website

In autumn eleven major product categories are online on our website

Eleven product categories

In our online shop modes4u.com you can always choose between several thousand products. To help you find the right thing quickly we divided all our stuff into eleven different product categories. Most of them have sub categories too. Of course some of them you can only see at certain times, for example our Christmas our Halloween categories.

Twelve different office chairs, although not all of them are used constantly

Twelve different office chairs, although not all of them are used constantly

Twelve office chairs

Our whole team eats lunch together every day at our big table. In order that everybody can sit we have 12 different office chairs. Not every one of them is taken yet, but our team is growing regularly.

Thirteen sticker shelves, and soon we'll need more again

Thirteen sticker shelves, and soon we’ll need more again

Thirteen sticker shelves

Last year we decided to reorganize our stickers and hang them on the wall instead of keeping them in boxes. It looks a lot better and makes picking them a lot easier too. We already have 13 shelves full of stickers, soon we need to add more.

Rilakkuma hotel room in Hawaii

In 2013 San-X will release the new Rilakkuma Hawaii collection and they will offer a super cute add-on. When San-X visited us the last time in our office in Hong Kong, they told us that two hotels in Hawaii will offer special Rilakkuma rooms once the collection is released. And they even showed us pictures already!

So you’re getting a super exclusive preview on how the rooms will look like. From what we can see, it looks like there will mainly be tons of plush toys in every room, but it looks super cozy and inviting. You have to book the rooms in advance, because it takes some time to prepare to make them look like this. We don’t have any information yet when you will be able to book and what they really contain, but it’s a very good collaboration to promote the new collection.

Would you want to stay there?

Rilakkuma everywhere in the Hawaiin Sheraton hotel

Rilakkuma everywhere in the Hawaiin Sheraton hotel

This room will be available in the Holiday Inn

This room will be available in the Holiday Inn

modes4u team: Rilakkuma asks……. Ho

Without him our shop would look really sad, because there would be no pictures. It’s time to meet the man behind the camera.

Hello, who are you by the way?
I’m Ho. I’m 27 years old and from Hong Kong. Besides my job at modes4u I also have been studying multimedia since 2008. In evening and weekend classes I work on my skills in photography, video and animation. Before I started working here I was a photographer for jewelry.

What is your job at modes4u?
I am the modes4u photographer and take pictures of every product that we have. That means I see every new product first, have to understand how it works and present it in its best way. So I get to know our products quite well. When we need pictures for magazines, I arrange the products and try to make a good photo. During peak times with lots of orders I also support the packing staff, for example with cutting fabrics or sticking stamps.

What is your favourite product or your favourite category at modes4u?
I like how all our products are lots of fun and really have bright and happy colours. It makes them really fun to work with and I can only imagine how much the customers enjoy them.

The fabrics we carry impress me the most. I have already photographed hundreds of them, but still there are always new designs that really surprise and amaze me. I also enjoy getting to know the different materials.

What do you like most about your job at modes4u?
I get to know many new things here. I work with products I have never seen before and it’s very exciting to find out about them. It is a lot of fun to photograph these things, they just make you smile.

Due to the international team I am also introduced to lots of new things besides work. I have already tried many typical German, Austrian, Swiss, Japanese or Korean delicacies that people brought or made to share with everybody at work. I probably would not have tried them otherwise. You just feel very well cared for here, because everybody helps each other and brings little treats all the time.

You’re surrounded by creative stuff the whole day. Do you like to craft or to be creative in your leisure time?
Because of my studies I HAVE to be creative in my leisure time, as I have to fulfill assignments. So my creativity is mainly challenged in the field of multimedia, in editing videos and pictures.

Usually he stands behind the camera, today Rilakkuma nearly totally covers our photographer Ho

Usually he stands behind the camera, today Rilakkuma nearly totally covers our photographer Ho

Our favourite product of the week: new plushies

Isn’t it nice to have something warm and soft to cuddle when it’s getting winter? We totally say YES. And the new plush toys from San-X that we added to our shop this week are your perfect autumn buddy. They are super soft and extremely nice to squeeze and cuddle. This is why we make them our favourite product of the week.

Kiiroitori yellow plush chick with bathing foam strawberry

Kiiroitori yellow plush chick with bathing foam strawberry

Rilakkuma brown plush bear with pink bathing cap foam

Rilakkuma brown plush bear with pink bathing cap foam

Rilakkuma plush toy white bear as sailor kawaii

Rilakkuma plush toy white bear as sailor kawaii

 

 

Rilakkuma plush toy brown bear as sailor kawaii

Rilakkuma plush toy brown bear as sailor kawaii

very big brown-white Chocopa bear plush toy by San-X

very big brown-white Chocopa bear plush toy by San-X

cute very big brown Chocopa bear plush toy by San-X

cute very big brown Chocopa bear plush toy by San-X

modes4u team: Rilakkuma asks……. Bianca

It’s time to introduce our fifth team member. And it’s getting international again, because Bianca moved from Germany to Hong Kong to come to our office every day.

Hello, who are you by the way?
I’m Bianca, 31, from Wuppertal in Germany. One year ago I moved here to Hong Kong and started working at modes4u. It’s still super exciting here; the city is surprising me over and over again. In Germany I lived and worked in different cities, most recently as a public relations officer in a ski dome. Before I was a television editor.

What is your job at modes4u?
I am the copy writer at modes4u and work with words every day. My main task is to add new products to our shop. That means every new item for modes4u.com has to pass my desk first to be measured, weighted and described.

Also I am in charge of the German and English company blogs and constantly looking for new ideas and topics to write about. In addition to that I deal with inquiries from media and journalists. And whenever a text for our website, for an announcement or for another occasion is needed, I write it as well.

What is your favourite product or your favourite category at modes4u?
I absolutely adore our Washi Tapes, which I discovered in our shop for the first time. Before I didn’t even know the cool Masking Tapes existed, now I already own a box full of them. No letter or present leaves my house without at least one stripe of Washi tape decoration.

From all our characters I am a big fan of the cute Otogicco Little Red Riding Hood by Decole. I’m always really excited when we get new products from that series. Also I am profoundly in love with our echino fabrics. Unfortunately I can’t sew at all, so the ways I can use those lovely textiles are kind of limited.

What do you like most about your job at modes4u?
There are no limits to my creativity. I have never worked in such a modern and open company. In Germany I often felt that rules and rigid structures slowed down new ideas. Here in many ways I really have the freedom to do whatever I want creatively. I can try a lot and start new things which I really like.

Our team is totally great too and the bosses really care about the well being of their employees. Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be natural in many Hong Kong companies and I also had mixed experiences in Germany about that. So I really appreciate it and feel in good hands here.

You’re surrounded by creative stuff the whole day. Do you like to craft or to be creative in your leisure time?
My creative activities always have certain phases. At the moment I’m in my Washi Tape phase; I love decorating glasses, stationery and photo albums with the adhesive tapes.

Sometimes I also design my own T-Shirts by embroidering, drawing or just applying an iron-on. In Germany I loved baking cakes and tarts a lot, but this passion is a bit on hold now. Baking is not that common in Hong Kong so a lot of times I lack the needed materials. Still my Chinese colleagues are always very excited when I bring something self-baked every now and then.

The bear and the girl - Bianca and Rilakkuma chatting

The bear and the girl – Bianca and Rilakkuma chatting

Bianca decorated all these jars with Washi Tapes

Bianca decorated all these jars with Washi Tapes

She also enjoys decorating photo albums with the colourful Masking Tapes

She also enjoys decorating photo albums with the colourful Masking Tapes

The office was super excited about Biancas self-baked cookies for Valentines Day

The office was super excited about Biancas self-baked cookies for Valentines Day

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