Some thoughts to share - business talk

By Kristine Lam - June 21, 2013

Most of you probably found out about my blog through my online store, which is actually turning 5 years old in September this year. Just thinking about this kinda blows my mind sometimes. It all started in my last year of high school as a little side job to earn some extra pocket money. It wasn't just me at first, but as many of you have probably realized I've been running the majority of the store for the last 4 years.

You're up for a long read - you have been warned!

Starting something is always the hardest. When the store first opened, there were only so many facebook stores going on. Now everyone is selling their stuff on facebook/weibo etc etc. Back then, online shopping was still relatively new and facetrade was a term that was extremely vague to most people. The store went from pre-order only with 100% no all in-stock...facetrade only...and now someone else is managing the shipping instead of me!

Do you guys still remember blythe zoo (now called base zoo I believe)? The store sold their clothing for quite a while and it was what really got everything going.

As with most things, there's always ups and downs. Nothing is going to be good forever. Eventually the brand started to die down (or should I say, competitors started to kick in) and I had to look for alternatives. Actually, I was constantly looking for alternatives at the time but there were a lot of obstacles and plenty of rejection involved.

Keeping in mind I was still a full-time student that just started university at that time, managing school and this "job" of mine was more than a lot on my plate. However, I enjoyed it and the positive feedback from my friends and customers alike kept things going for me :)

I learned so much from doing this, probably even more than I've ever learned from school. I'm not a business student (though my boyfriend keeps telling me I should have been) so I was really going into this blindly. I guess sometimes experience is really more important than anything else. I was very lucky to have my dad who used to run his own business give me some pointers along the way.

A lot of people underestimate the amount of work you have to put into an online store. It's not simply just uploading photos onto a platform and sticking a price to them. There is far more "behind the scenes" work than you can see or can probably imagine. The photo itself for instance, is a huge amount of work if you are sincere about representing the true quality of what you're selling.

Remember this top? One of the best sellers from a year or two back - when I just bought new lights in attempt to get better photos ... still not quite there yet.

Everything was a challenge, and still is even after 4 years. Sometimes I get quite offended when people say things like - [oh you're just selling things online and don't work part time? that's so chill.] Maybe it's just me, but it really does bug me a lot : p

Working for yourself can be fun and exciting, but it can also be extremely stressful. There's no separation between your own time and work time. The hours/workload are pretty extreme. Some days I might just be working say one to two hours, other days I will be up til 1am tending to customers, doing merchandising. And yes, customers have called me at 2am in the morning to ask if a certain item is available :p

Yup, definitely learned how important time management is (and having high EQ :p).

All that aside, running your own business can be very, very, VERY rewarding. Of course, it's not always going to be rainbows and unicorns. It's a lot of work, and I really do mean a lot. But when you do catch a glimpse of them rainbows it feels damn good - no joke. I'm really not sure how far this is going to go but I'm quite happy about how big the store has expanded since I first started. I'm still not quite sure how I managed to pull through the last 4  years but I did.

I can honestly say that I love what I do :)

I guess what I'm trying to say is, if you want to try/start/do something - go for it. It's probably not going to be easy, but you'll never know where it will take you :)

And a big clap clap for you if you made it to the end of this long post!

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  1. I'm so glad you wrote this, it's very inspiring and I'm so happy you love what you do and that it's been rewarding~
    You really are wonderful and your hard work really is reflected in what you do.
    May you and your store grow wonderfully, you really do deserve it!

    1. Thanks for your kind comment!
      Doing this has allowed me to work with and meet some awesome people like yourself - another one of my perks <3

  2. So happy for you, happy 5th anniversary in advance hehe! It's great seeing that in everything you've been able to get through the tough times and embrace the rainbows haha ;) Thank you for being so lovely and inspiring in all that you do!
    - Minni x

    1. Aw thanks! And yes, loving the rainbows when they appear for a little while ;)

  3. This is so inspiring. :) Congratulations!
    Do you ever think of starting up an actual store in Vancouver or somewhere?

    1. Thank you!
      I have been contemplating that but it is still a little difficult at this stage :(