Sunday, May 11, 2014

Graphikos: The story thus far and what's next?

Let me count, it has been like 7 months since i first started my blog shop - Graphikos. Wait, i think i mentioned it before - I should call it an online store instead. (more professional, LOL) I remember launching it on National Day last year and after the soft launch i did on my Facebook and twitter (the official blog post was 2 days later) i eagerly sat in front of my laptop staring at my inbox that night, hoping that my very first order would come in. At around midnight, the very first order came in, and i heaved a sign of relief - "Phew, there's actually people that will buy my stuff." LOLOL

The next day i woke up to a couple of orders and soon, i was visiting the mail box opposite my block every other day. If you visit Graphikos site, you would notice that it's just a very simple "store" that is part of this blog that you are reading right now and there is no special e-commerce functions such as shopping cart, payment methods etc. To order, the buyer just have to fill in this form and i will personally contact them shortly via SMS to confirm the order and send my account details over so that the buyer can transfer via ATM or iBanking. I know it sounds very old fashioned and 1G, takes up a lot of my bandwidth and time but i was really not ready do up a full fledged online store because i had no idea when the next launch would be and as you can see, it took me 7 months to come up with my 2nd collection :|

About a month after the launch, i sold about 95% of the clothes with about 2 to 3 pieces remaining and that's it, close shop. Then again if you are thinking, "Wow, 95% in a month?!" i did not really get a lot of stock in the first place because i was quite skeptical on whether there is a market for guys tee and if anyone would buy my stuff, HAHAHAHA Not really say earn a lot but enough for me to buy an air ticket to get new/ more stocks. So I would say it was really a good start!

This post is getting a little wordy but never mind, i seldom type so much on my blog also. lol

In that one month of sales, i would say i gained quite a bit of experience on managing an online store. It's honestly not easy doing a one-man show on top of my regular job. From checking of emails every night, compiling orders, SMS-ing every buyer (i will go into that in awhile) checking if the payment is in via iBanking, preparing the clothes to be mail out the next day, getting stamps, visiting the mail box or going to the post office for customers who chose registered mail or meeting up with some of the customers at MRT stations (at my own convenience), updating Graphikos site timely for apparels that are sold out so that people won't order them and i don't have to send them an SMS apologizing.

Oh ya, talking about SMS. One thing that i learnt is that, after you sent the confirmation sms and account details to the customers, you should never expect a straight and immediate reply like - "Ok, will do so tonight. Let you know when i transfer. Thanks" Benefit of doubt, maybe about 80% will do so but there is still this exceptional 20% that will go:
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See what i mean. The SMS convo can go on forever but because i made the decision to start up this blog shop and customers always comes first, i have to "bite my teeth" they call it " 咬紧牙关" in chinese and aid the customer till he or she is satisfied until they confirm the order and received it. Even if they cancel their order, still politely say "Thank you, hope you will purchase from Graphikos again". Someone just give me the best customer service award thank you. LOL

The next thing you know i'm already complaining on my twitter. Hoping that the customer is not one of my 1.9K followers, LOL I'm so sorry if you are coincidentally one of them, i meant no harm, hehe

On top of mailing, i also offer self collection at my convenience, and it normally takes place at the MRT station near my house after work. Because i'm selling guys tee, i would expect to meet guys collecting the tees for themselves (some of them are like secondary school kids. Some from ITE because they wore their uniform. Unexpectedly, i met a few girls too. Some bough the clothes for their BF, some for themselves (Hmm, maybe i can consider making unisex collection) The most memorable one was perhaps a girl asking if she can take a photo with me before we parted, i gladly obliged.

Throughout the month, there were several times i asked myself whether it's worth the effort. It's not like i'm earning a few thousand dollars or making a big profit but then again, it's like the saying - "It's not the outcome, but the process."
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For my first collection, i had Joyce and Don to help me with the photo shoot which took place at RP so i had to drag everything to woodlands and back to Pasir Ris which was super tedious. I told myself as much as i can, i will never want to experience it again, LOL (studio sponsor came in after the shoot was done, oh wells) For my 2nd collection, i decided to DIY everything at home so i bought 2 rolls of Mahjong paper and pasted it all over one of my walls, set up my tripod, set the self timer and change out one top after another for about 20 times. Damn! I wished i had a wireless remote so i won't have to keep walking to and fro the camera to QC the photos and to press the shutter button for the self timer

So, after saying so much, i hereby announce the launch of my 2nd collection - "Back to Basics" Every piece is handpicked by me personally and i named this collection "Back to Basics" because the design is really simple. You can basically pair it with any bottoms be it berms or jeans and you are off to go! All tees are priced at $16 and FREE next day normal mailing included because i'm lazy to do the math for all the per-apparel-mail, unless you are going for registered mail :D
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Click on the banner above to be directed to Graphikos.  photo Photo6-5-14122250am.jpg
Do support Graphikos by spreading the word, RT-ing my tweets or sharing it on your facebook! Till the next collection (: