Translated by LIM LIY EE
Guang Ming Daily
KUALA LUMPUR: 35-year-old fashion wholesaler, Liu Jun-xiong from Ipoh has overcome the difficulties of the "passive" traditional business model by creatively turning a van into a one-stop "mobile boutique" called "I-World" that sells not only clothes but also fashion accessories, handbags, scarves, etc.
In addition, the sales promoters will also double up as "stylists" for the customers. Its high quality service as well as reasonable prices have successfully lured a substantial number of customers within only a few months.
Liu pointed out during an interview with Guang Ming Daily that he had switched his career from being an insurance agent to a clothing wholesaler cum consultant at the age of 30.
Nevertheless he found that he only could "passively" wait for his customers to come up to him every day. In addition, he also had to pay relatively high rentals for his shop.
Because of this, he decided to change his business venue to the night market as it offered a much bigger stream of shoppers and cheaper rentals.
After deciding the actual location of his stall at the night market, Liu made up his mind to turn his van into a "mobile boutique" and designed his van to look like a storefront with a cabinet to display the accessories, handbags, scarves, clothes and other merchandise.
Most of the clothes he is selling have been styled after Taiwan, Japan and Korea in order to meet the requirements of young office workers. Besides, he is also selling scarves, headwear, jewellery, handbags and wallets, with the hope that he will also sell shoes in the future.
Liu's "mobile boutique" has become a hit among the young lady customers at Cheras' night markets over the past four months.
Four mobile boutiques in town
Business-minded Liu has set up four franchised stores within only four months and there are currently four "I-World Mobile Boutiques" at the night markets all over Klang Valley.
Members of the public can check their business hours and locations on his website which also provides online shopping services.
Liu aims to set up more franchised stores in the future.
He told Guang Ming Daily some of the clothes had been designed by I-World's own fashion designers while others were painstakingly sourced from more than ten factories overseas.
He is planning to expand his business by selling children's garments and shoes in the near future.
The average price of one piece of clothes sold at "I-World" is between RM30 and RM50, considered quite affordable for his lady customers when compared to the other boutiques.
Besides, customers are also allowed to get a replacement for clothes they find not fitting them.
Custom designed mobile van
Not unlike a "Transformer," the "I-World Mobile Boutique" has many hidden partitions inside the stunning and colourfully painted exterior specially designed by Liu to display a large number of merchandise. These hidden partitions have helped save up space.
Liu's business partner, 30-year-old Hu Zhi-zhong was persuaded by Liu to set up a "mobile boutique" and is now following the footsteps of Liu driving the van and selling the clothes at the night markets..
In order to provide better services for his customers, Liu requires all his sales promoter to go through one-month training so that they could comprehend the basic designs, prices, fabrics, ways of selling clothes, serving customers and matching clothes for their customers.
He admitted that most of his sales promoters failed to get used to the environment of night markets initially.