Daily—Plushtography, KoJa, AAU

Chance favors the prepared mind. Or in this case, prepared vendor.

Plushtography is the brand I founded with two high school friends, Kevin & Christine.
We all exert our own strengths and we share one thing in common—a love for photography (except for Christine, actually. She’s just passionate about crafts and beautiful/creative products). Our venture started almost two years back when an idea sparked for a lens shaped pillow. It was the very first camera pillow at the time, and before we know it, the internet took over and our pillow was featured on many major publications.

[su_quote]And for those who are familiar with the internet, internet fame is often short lived. [/su_quote]

Orders started flying in. We were still hand making each pillow, so our supply simply couldn’t fulfill the demand. We decided to close our shop temporarily before delaying the shipment and potentially getting harsh reviews from the customers. And for those who are familiar with the internet, internet fame is often short lived. The pillows were just one of a million things on the internet that caught people’s attention. We tried to secure as much of a following as can through various social media platforms and build relationships with any vendors that contacted us. But we couldn’t tie down any large quantity orders because we were hand making the pillows and simply couldn’t ship within a reasonable time frame.

When we finally received enough funding through the sales, we started sourcing the work to create more pillows. In the mean time, Plushtography died down. People stopped talking about it. We pitched and cold called but none were interested. It was a intense winter when the product caught on , but soon followed by a cold summer. There are many things we could’ve done differently to optimize the golden opportunity, but we simply weren’t prepared.

2 years have since passed. We got our pillows in stock, new website up, and ready to relaunch our pillows.
We continue to push for two main reasons: 1. This is the brand we founded from ground up; it’s our baby. And we’re just not going to give up this easily.  2, we now have a couple hundreds of pillows just sitting in our garages, there’s no way we’re quitting until they’re all gone.

[aside]11:23AM[/aside]
Received this in the morning:
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What is that behind all the photography goodies? A large pillow, perhaps?

Photojojo’s one of the largest e-shop for photography-related goods. The products are often quirky and innovative. We are very fortunate to have the op to be one of the items on their holiday list.
121213-2But turn out, we were just added to their list at the VERY LAST MINUTE.

We’ve pitched to Photojojo countless time over the year(Kevin tears*) and have only been receiving little or no response. We were persistent, but that didn’t change the outcome. They just didn’t want our pillows.

Until 2 days ago.

We received an email saying that one of their products have dropped out, and they’re in dire need of another substitute. Seeing the samples we have laying on their office sofa, they decided to reach out to us to be on their holiday list. They said it’s urgent and they need the pillows ASAP. One night shipping type of ASAP.

[su_quote]Photojojo’s a giant shop, but when it comes to products, they’re pretty darn cheap.[/su_quote]

We were thrilled by the news and got to work. Photojojo’s a giant shop, but when it comes to products, they’re pretty darn cheap. They’d want to squeeze out as much as they can on the wholesale price to keep their margins. I don’t blame them, they’re a terrific marketing tool for companies and they are a business. A business optimizes profit.  But, we also need to put food on the table, so we negotiated. With the time ticking, we had gone from initial email, negotiation, shipping price research, more negotiation, packing, and shipping all within 3 hours. It’s the fastest turn around time we’ve achieved. 2 days later, today, we got the email and we’re on the list.

We were prepared, but also very lucky. Without someone dropping out, we wouldn’t have been able to get into their store. Without the stock and easy access to the stoke (garage), the deal would’ve fell through. Without my partners speedy responses and being there when I needed any answers, we would’ve passed the deadline. Without the hook up for shipping by Sean (Thanks, Sean!), the pricing for overnight shipping would’ve been too high, and they would kill the transaction.

[aside]12:12PM[/aside]
Got another email from Photojojo saying that they’re already low on stock and wanted more.
You know we’re down for it. Kevin came over and we got to work!
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We’re a small brand. There’s no truck or cranes. There are just 4 hands here and a SUV.
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There’s always time for a selfie. 121213-7

We roll like a boss.
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More packing. 121213-10 121213-11
And BAM, out they go.

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[aside]12:12PM[/aside]

A celebratory lunch. Kev spotted (and I spotted kev) the KoJa truck from afar. He recommended it, and I always trusted his recommendation on food, so there we went. KoJa stands for Korean & Japanese. They’re a fusion of the two offering beef with rice bun burgers + kamikaze fries (sriracha and mayo sauce). Shit was bomb. 121213-12

You can start drooling:
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I tend to post my blogs way past midnight. For those who are reading while having a late night crave, I’m sincerely sorry.

Sike. 121213-14 121213-15 121213-17

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[aside]1:33PM[/aside]
Barting
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Almost done with this one: 121213-20
It’s mainly a case study of 3 graduates from Harvard Business School. Plenty to learn from. One of the first is execution.

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[aside]2:42PM[/aside]
Academy of Arts University.

Today I’m here to meet with Roro, a current grad school student at AAU. She’s designed a site catering towards designers. I can’t get much into detail, but my task was to part take in a UX (user experience) experiment for the site.
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This is Roro. 121213-29
I’m sorry gentlemen, she’s taken.

And since it’s a project of Roro’s, she won’t be the facilitator. Instead, here’s Kevin. He’s in charge.
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The session took about an hour. From first impression to features that I think can adjust or improve.
It was loads of fun testing the alpha version of a product. It was a very useful site for designers in the job force, but I think that’s about all I can disclose.

[aside]3:50PM[/aside]
I never studied design, I was a business major back in UC Davis. But I was always fascinated with the curriculum held at art schools. Roro was kind enough to take me to their graphic design department. It blew my mind on how professional all the pieces were done by the students.
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Just a cool bike.

Not exactly sure, but I think each floor is color coded. This one’s for graphic design.
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Look at the detail on this, to the very texture of the tag and prints. 121213-35 121213-36

From across the building: 121213-37
Very appropriate. Us designers don’t get paid a lot. And for an Asian family, designer doesn’t usually make it up the list of ideal professions. Most of us simply weren’t raised to be a designer. So, I’d like to assume we following more with our hearts than anything else to become a creative.

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This elevator is very cool. It’s my first time seeing this system.
So, instead of having all the buttons within the elevator, they have a central panel on the outside. One in front of the 3 elevators. People would press the floor they’d like to go to, and the screen would display a letter corresponding to an appropriate elevator that will take you and everyone else who’s going to the same floor.
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This is fucking genius! No more wasting time within each elevator to simultaneously going to the same floor. “Everyone who’d like to go to floor 4, use elevator A. floor 6, elevator B.”

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[aside]5:32PM[/aside]
On my way to mission SF. Swung by Blick Art store just for fun. And some more of Michelle’s props.
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[aside]6:08PM[/aside]
Time to do some work.
But the salt and pepper bottle here at the cafe were a bit distracting: 121213-49
Wait, you’ve never seem a pair of make-out cats?

Work work work. Work hard anywhere.
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[aside]9:52PM[/aside] 121213-51
Today got a bit lazy. McD for D.

I’ve been posting these at 2 in the morning.
Eh.

’til tm,
Benson

Daily—Tech Rehearsal, Super7, Super Burrito
Daily—Ranch99, Home Depot, Props
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