Thursday, 30 October 2014

Cancer Walk 2014 - Walk For The Cure

28th October 2014

Never fail to join the Cancer Walk organised by the Oman Cancer Association (OCA) every year. The theme of the walk for this year was - Walk for the cure.

Over 6,000 people comprising children, elders and students participated in this event. It was held at the Al Qurum Natural Park, Muscat. It was a 2km green stretch in the park. You won't feel the 2km at all (not even sweat) as when we joined walking with thousands of people, it was more like a leisure walking.

The walk is more to spread the awareness about cancer, especially the breast cancer. There has been a 35% increase in breast cancer since 2012. Breast cancer is the largest killer of females in Oman.

The walk is also to remember all those who lost the fight against breast cancer while celebrating those who have survived. It is to encourage those who are battling out.

I myself, have a very strong family history of cancer.

My mom - cervical - brain cancer
My aunty - lung - bone
My uncle - nose
My uncle - gastric/stomach

Al fatihah to all of them.

It is a lie if I say that I am not worry at all. Every day I wake up praying that I will stay healthy and Allah forbid me from getting cancer. I am doing my very best to live a healthy lifestyle.

- this remind me that I am due for my pap smear and mammogram check up!

Monday, 27 October 2014

Being A 'Survivor' Among 'Survivors'

Let’s say.. I just opened a shop selling Abaya. I chose to open the shop at the business commercial area. The chances of people getting to know and come to my shop are high because it is at the business commercial centre and everybody who goes or passes by there can see my shop (of course, with a big attractive signboard!)

Now the reality is I am running a ‘virtual shop’, an online business. How do I get people to know the existence of my business? It is not that easy as I thought. To create a platform of the business was a piece of cake to me! Now it is up excellently on Facebook and Instagram except now, how to tell the world to come and visit my shop. HOW?

I am so envious looking at some of the sellers who have followers more than 5k and some 10k-30k! I just wonder how they did it. Could it be the products that they sell? Or the price that they put? I’ve done some surveys on this, mostly they are selling the same things.. almost the same price.. but how they got to get thousands followers or likers, I am yet to discovered!

For the first month of my two online business (abayaoman & iwatchyourbag), we started to have 100-200 followers which mostly are our friends. Then we invited people to follow us by we first started requesting to follow them. Well.. when you follow them, doesn’t mean that they will follow you back! It depends.. if they like what you sell, they will definitely follow you. This means we have to choose the people who are into our product in order to get the ‘follow’ back.

How do we know those people? This is quite a dirty trick but I guess every seller is doing it. We are sort of ‘stealing’ other sellers customers/followers. We have to zoom in to our competitors (who sells almost like what we sell), look at their followers and click ‘follow’.

It works you know! Though the increment of the followers not that fast but at least the number of our followers changed. This was quite time consuming as you have to spend hours, days and months to do this. Another way that I noticed is you have to get a 'famous' people to tell their followers/fans about our business.

The trend in Malaysia now, if you are a celebrity, what ever they wear, eat or even sell - the big fanatic fans of them will definitely want to have the same too. There are some Malaysian celebrities are doing IG review for online sellers like me in their IG. And mind you, it is not FREE.

At first I thought they are doing a favour to new sellers like us but I was wrong. Every review or mention in their FB, IG or Tweeter has to be paid. Hmm... artis Malaysia semua sendu dah, tak laku... maybe cara ni je ah nak buat extra pocket money. Ooppss.. ampun ye... 

I've so far paid to four different celebrities to do a review on both businesses. The amount that I have paid to each of them was as low from RM300 and as high as RM1500. Damn expensive right! At first I was very reluctant to pay them as I feel that they were sort of taking advantage on us but I guess that's the privilege and benefits for being famous.

Does this work? Well.. It did worked actually. We got immediate 200-500 followers but after a few days the number of followers remain static. This is why we had invested to four different celebrities to add more followers. 

If you ask me again, 'does this really work' - I will tell you that it didn't really work as I expect it to be!! The one that we paid RM1500 is a famous celebrity that has 1.3M followers and what we got was less than 500 followers. Can you imagine how frustrated I and my partners? We were so surprised and upset as we have to fork out that quite big amount and yet we didn't achieve our target.

This is my opinion to these celebrities - they are not sincere, well why they have to right? Hahaahaha. They are more on making money instead of helping us. When they do the review in their IG, they didn't do any homework on our product. They just copy and paste of whatever we tell them line by line. They didn't make any initiative to make the review as attractive as it can be. The review looked boring and uninviting. Some were so greedy that make a condition that the review will be removed from their IG after one month. Then after 5 minutes they did the review on our IG, they already started posted rows of their pictures that will put our review post far away behind it.

Huh... I guess this is how the game is. Probably I myself, too being impatient. I put the expectations towards all of these very high. After went thru all of these, I learned that nothing comes easy. Nothing is free. There are many sellers out there that sell the same thing like I do, very stiff competition but that should not a be reason for me to quit.

From the beginning I have already tell myself that this is only my leisure business. If it strikes means I hit the jackpot. If not... it is not the end of everything. Hmm.. do I sound like I am already giving up? Hahahaha. Sound so mellow je kan...

I am not yet quitting or giving up on what I'm doing right now. It just started... not even warm yet.. It is only 3rd month for AbayaOman and 7th month for iwatchyourbag. We are still newbies here.

With the followers of 1k++ now, I would say that was quite impressive. Day by day, we have new followers for our business and that matters. I think we have to go back to the first method of adding more followers rather than to burn our pocket paying those celebrities! (ayat tak puas hati kat deorang.. hahahha)

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Behind The Scenes

Behind of every succesful businesswoman is her man and family. Well.. I am not eligble yet to claim the title of “succesful” but I believe I am going to that way. Soon… yeah… (*dream high*). In my previous post, I’ve mentioned how difficult for an online seller to promote our online business. Unless you have a thick budget, then this would not be an issue.

As for me, who is so determined to make use of all the skills, experiences and knowledges that I have still found, it is quite a very challenging and competitive.

Besides on how to make known the existing of your online business (promise will write it in my next post), you also have to make a very impressive FB or Instagram to attract people.

This again, if you have a thick budget.. everything is possible. Just hire a proffesional company, go all out for an advertisment and within a day you’ll get a thousands followers and likers.

As for me… the bajet ciput company… I have to do all it by myself from scratch. Well.. imagine me sitting at the couch, clicking the ‘follow’ or ‘add friend’ button until the FB and IG suspended me from doing it! Hahahahhaa…

Here.. I would like to ‘reveal’ the secret of my yet to be successful “abayaoman”. Since I am selling abaya, the pictures of abayas has to be looked beautiful and inspiring. My source of abaya is mostly from the Matrah Souq. For those who doesn’t know, Matrah Souq is an area with many shops selling household items, shoes, gold and readymade garments.

I had sort off signing an MOU business deal with one tailor shop there. So if there is any of new abaya stock ready, he will inform me. I also have the ‘privillege’ ordering the abaya from him thru whatsapp. Owh.. this is so convenient as to go there is quite a hassle with the limited parking space.

Now.. capturing the abaya photo to be put in the FB and Instagram! I am not a professional photographer though I have the camera that looks like one of them. Always got confused with lots of functions on the camera, so thanks to my Iphone. Yes.. all my pictures are taken using only with my handphone.

The outcome sometimes were not that perfect due to the lighting that sometimes customers got confused asking “is the abaya color black or green?”. Also while taking pictures, it happened sometimes a Bangla tailor man popped out from the middle of nowhere passing by or suddenly behind the abaya! Huh… rasa macam nak cubit je pasal kita dah cantik dapat angle gambar tu.

Apart from that the best part is that I can edit the picture to make it more realistic. Though not that perfect but Alhamdulliah, all the abaya pictures were well captured and put in the FB and IG.

Recently, AbayaOman has launched its own design. Wah… dah maju setapak gayanya.. hehehe. Ni.. kena lah ada model untuk gayakan abaya tu kan.. Tapi bajet ciput company ni mana ah ada ongkos nak hire model. So sape lagi yg jadi mangsa?? Hahahaha… Then.. to get a good photo, must have a good studio with a perfect lighting and a professional photographer. Hmm…. 

Luckily I have those… Taraaaaa….

This our own little studio.

My "lighting boy". Asyik senget je tala lamp tu.. muka boring kena marah!

My photographer! Kena keje tangkap gambar malam, so tak sempat nak sarong suit & tie. 
See.. we managed to do it! Owh yes.. my daughter Nabila, is the assistant of the photographer. When the photographer has no mood to do his work, Nabila will take over the job. I have an awesome team! 

I always believe that to be success in whatever we want to do, you just have to be creative and love what you do. As said by Oprah Winfrey - "Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you."

Owh yes.. every day I wake up excitedly waiting for the customers to make an order. I enjoy doing what I am doing now and that is the most important.