Sunday, September 23, 2012

Flipside to Retail Therapy

Different Spin

The Star Metro - 21st September, 2012

I love to shop, but I am not a shopaholic. 
I placed myself in this category after reading Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series of novels, which had convinced me that I do not, I repeat, do not have a serious shopping problem.
For those clueless to this chick lit, the series follows the life of Becky Bloomwood through her adventures in life and her serious addiction to shopping — and I am not even close to her manic compulsion for retail therapy, hence my self-belief that I love to shop, but I am not a shopaholic.

When I explain my theory to family and friends on why I cannot be accused of being a shopaholic, they roll their eyes (I don’t appreciate that gesture by the way), telling me that Becky is a fictional character therefore, my theory carries no scientific weight.
I am then reminded by these “bunch of eye roll-ers” on my shopping extravaganzas. Extravagant? Please, it is called economics!
A pack of miniature disco balls going for RM10 for 12 pieces? That is less than RM1 a ball. Dirt cheap ladies and gentlemen. D-I-R-T C-H-E-A-P!

And look who gets the last laugh when someone decides they need 240 disco balls for their disco-themed party.
I have the knack of buying quirky items for amazing prices. It is not like I shop excessively for luxurious possessions that I would use or wear only once.
For starters, I don’t have that sort of money, and admittedly, I am a teeny bit afraid of my husband and simply detest credit card debts.
Now with online shopping, I save not just time going back and forth to my favourite mall, but I help save fuel, so in a way, I am playing my role in conserving Mother Nature.
Oh the joys of surfing has never felt better. Again, I put monetary sense into the equation, so I don’t just shop and cart away everything.
No siree! I have my wish list, so if there is a special promotion on that particular item that has tickled my fancy, I get notified via email immediately, and click, click, click!
I have my order sent with a 20% discount. See? I am a savvy shopper.
Anyway, I am going off tangent.
After being acquainted with cyber retail and subsequently, seeing some friends and associates doing quite well in their online businesses, it dawned on me that I could kill two birds with one clever stone — I should set up my own online commerce.
After all, someone (or a movie) told me that you don’t need to be an IT expert to launch an online business.
All I need is imagination, open-mindedness and determination.
Recalling my ‘shiny disco ball’ purchase, I knew I definitely fitted that criteria, and it so happened, my husband shared the same thought and ideology as yours truly.
By having an online store of our own, we get to ‘shop’ for our favourite items to be sold on the World Wide Web, and we would be ‘helping ourselves’, when shopping on our own site. Genius isn’t it?
The appeal of being the boss to our own online boutique did have a sexy appeal to it. And let’s not forget the money we can make if we get the formula right.
There is no doubt, that working for yourself gives you a level of self-determination that is harder to find when you are working for a corporate organisation.

It has been less than a week since we launched EleanorByDaphneIking, and the journey so far, has been tiring, but fatigue has hit us in a nice warm fuzzy way.
Guidebooks on how to set up an online business tells me that it is possible to build your own virtual trade, as you don’t need premises or high levels of stock and because of cyber magic, it opens up a huge market to sell to, plus it can be up and running much quicker than a traditional business.
But being virgins to retail (from the other side of the fence) and starting from scratch with limited resources, we had to quickly get familiar with SKUs, marketing gimmicks and scouting out manufacturers and tailors who could work with us and the capital we were willing to part with.
And then there is the competition that we had to deal with. Suffice to say, shopping online was much easier than being the haven for shoppers to splurge, yet the thrill of surpassing these challenges, made the gain even more memorable.
A few years back, I attended this talk and the speaker shared with the audience on certain qualities that successful entrepreneurs had. Fortunately, they are not uncommon and it all boils down to whether you want to learn that skill or not.
From determination, to having an analytical mind, I think one quality that struck me as being quite odd, was humility — a quality that one would not normally associate with business.

Having the ability to recognise that you do not know everything is essential as it enables the person to do research and have the flexibility to change plans in response to the evidence found. And with humility, you will also have an open mind to learning new things, every day.
This new venture of mine, has not just taught me more proficiency but has made me so busy, I have forgotten to update my wishlist.
I love shopping, but I am not a shopaholic. This has a new meaning all together now.
Daphne is currently learning the importance of split testing and has her hands tied neatly with not just Eleanor, but has joined forces with two crazy fashionistas with the birth of baajookoo. Follow baajookoo on instagram and visit to know more about her latest muse.
With Atilia Haron & Yasmin Hani donning Baajookoo
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