June's Start-up Challenge: Week 6 - When things don't go to plan
Posted: Fri 19th Jul 2013
StartUp SaturdayÂ alumni June Mineyama, founder ofÂ Mamimu Tokyo, has been documenting her progress for us as she seeks to take her pattern business from idea to launch in just 12 weeks. It's week six and an unforeseen change in life circumstances means the business has to be put on hold.
It's week six of my 12-week start-up challenge,Â writes June (left). Exactly halfway in - and after much consideration - I have decided to put my business on hold. This is obviously not how I planned when I started...
A blow and an adjustment
As mentioned in week one and also last week, my goal was to sell my products - either online or in a physical shop - with some brand recognition. In order to achieve that, my plan was to produce and sell cushions, tea towels and bags with several designs inspired by everyday urban sights, including manhole covers and London street pigeons. Then I would run a Kickstarter campaign to fund a pop-up shop, followed by trips to trade shows to hit the wider market that would enable my business to blossom.
"My plan was to produce and sell cushions, tea towels and bags with Â designs inspired by everyday urban sights, thenÂ hit the wider market that would enable my business to blossom."
However this plan is no longer feasible as we are moving to Hong Kong for my husband's job after the summer. This was not on the cards when I started this 12-week challenge and although we, as a family, are very excited about our new life abroad, it's a blow for my business plan nonetheless. So what can I do now? Throw my toys from the pram and cry as if all my effort was wasted? Or maybe I can think more laterally and adjust my plan accordingly.
Hong Kong - the new promised land?
I have been dealing with British suppliers for ease of communication and quality checks. I knew manufacturers in some of the Asian countries would be cheaper but never had confidence in that option because I wouldn't have been able to check the quality myself and communication could have been sketchy. Now I see things differently. If I'm in Hong Kong, I might be able to find a manufacturer in Hong Kong or China with my own foot. Not only that, my homeland Japan will be much closer. That means I can source materials from Japan much more cheaply. In fact I always wanted to use Japanese materials and work with Shokunin (artisans) but gave up on the idea because it seemed too expensive and complicated. This is no longer the case and I am likely to be able to pursue the original idea I'd written off even before the start.
"I can source materials from Japan much more cheaply. In fact I always wanted to use Japanese materials and work with Shokunin (artisans) but it seemed too expensive and complicated."
Another interesting thing is that the Mamimu Facebook page has more Likes from Hong Kong than any other county. So with the growing interest and cheaper production cost, Hong Kong might well be my best market to start up. I may be busy with the relocation for a while but I will 're-start' my start-up when we settle in the new land. If you are interested in my re-adjusted progress, follow me on Facebook and Twitter.
Editor's note: June, we'll miss your quirky reports from the front line and the excellent tips and insights you've given us over the last six weeks. You're definitely a one-off! Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us and the best of luck with your new life in Hong Kong. Please let us know how you're getting on - I'm sure our readers are as keen to hear about your progress as I am. Good luck! SimonÂ
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Photo credits: June Mineyama