A Story About Marketing on the Net
By Hazel Kutkue
Changing times have brought changes in the way conventional trading of goods and services is done. A growing number of people are using the internet as a tool to sell products and services. Social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook have aided a lot of people who have decided to venture into selling their “stuff” using digital marketing.
Sipikriva Girl had the chance to throw a bunch of questions to a person who has gone down the pathway of digital marketing, and how he’s doing so far.
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself.
A. My name is Kevin Igawa Wanowi and I am twenty six years old. My father is from Eastern Highlands and my mother is from East Sepik. I was born and raised in Kimbe.
Q. Where are you based currently?
A. I currently live in Kokopo
Q. What do you do as a full time job?
A. I am a licensed medical imaging technologist-radiographer, but I’m currently not formally employed. I left a permanent job in Port Moresby last year to pursue a dream that is still in the making.
Q. I know you run an online business called MB40. What is MB40 all about?
A. MB40 is my dream ride to being financially independent. I see growing a beard as a masculine trend in our society and a hat to go with it is not a bad idea! A 3D customized embroidery on genuine fabric is badass!
Hats in a Box on arrival
Q.When did you establish MB40? A.The idea was born when I was at university. It became a reality in December of 2018.
Q. How did you come up with the name?
A.The name MB40 is an acronym. It reminds me of my past and the one goal I wish to achieve with MB40. I am still not at a level yet to define it. *sigh*
Q. Apart from Facebook, where else do you advertise and sell your products from?
A.I mainly advertise through Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. I have some good friends who went out of their ways to print and put out posters in their place of work.
Q. I know MB40 is concerned mainly with selling caps with customized design of a bearded man’s silhouette, do you sell other items with the same customized design as well?
A. I have in the past sold shirts, decals and stickers. Currently I’m doing just caps.
Q. What kind of caps do you sell?
A. I sell 3D customized bearded themed hats.
I get the caps from an online shop No Shave Life (you can click on this link http://www.noshavelife.com to check them out). I also get the T-Shirts and stickers here.
The shop doesn’t ship out of US. I was fortunate to be able to get them in PNG.
I used to get the decals from http://www.livebearded.com.
Livebearded has since stopped selling decals.
Q. What are your usual prices for caps?
A. There are two different online shops that I resell from and promote their stuff: No Shave Life and Live Bearded. The caps I’m selling are from NSL.
I couldn’t get a deal to resell #livebearded hats but was lucky enough to get a discount code (MB40) for a 10% discount on everything purchased from their website (click here to find out more http://www.livebearded.com ).
I sell three different styles of caps: mesh curve truckers, snapbacks and flexfits. Previously I sold them at K120, K130 and K150 respectively. Currently I’m selling then at K140, K150 and K170 due to an hike in their prices.
They cost USD44 to USD50 for one. I get them at a discount and resell.
Q.What is your target customer base?
A. Bearded men offcourse! However, I have had some female customers too. Some women buy the caps for their male friends while others say they buy them because they are genuine.
Kevin with a very happy customer who is all smiles for the camera
Q.Can you tell me how starting out was for you?
A. I actually started it as a trial. The first cap that I got from No Shave Life was the first thing I bought online. I remember it was during the UPNG graduation week in 2017. I had been following No Shave Life on Instagram since 2014. I bought it to check it out.
The hat arrived and I was impressed about its quality. I wore the hat for about a year and then I realized the opportunity for making extra cash from being a reseller.
In November 2018, I ordered five caps. The caps arrived in December and was sold out in 14 days. I sold them through the local Facebook market pages.
The second batch of caps I got sold out in ten days. The fastest I sold was twenty in five days!
Q.How has Facebook helped in you getting your products out to your customer base?
A.I created the page MB40 somewhere around December 2018 and January 2019. I have some regular customers that do collections of the merchandise. There’s also people that buy just the one time.
I rely heavily on Facebook ads to reach my customers. Those who have my phone number are updated through my WhatsApp statuses.
Q. Would you say it is difficult to run an online business? Or not?
A. I’d say it’s not. It’s flexible most of the time. The only thing hectic about it is replying to messages and comments. Most of the time the demand exceeds the supply.
Q. Do you think of yourself as an entrepreneur?
A. I don’t. I think of myself as another millennial finding his foot in this hard times
Q.What plans do you have for MB40 in the future? Would you want to go bigger and expand?
A. I definitely want MB40 to go bigger. I have realized that I am the only one selling genuine bearded merchandise in the country.
I get requests from AROB right through to Vanimo! I want to reach everyone. I currently have a friend who is helping me doing my sales in Port Moresby . I take the hats with me wherever I travel.
Recently I started using DHL and EMS to post caps to my customers out of Kokopo. The airfreight fee is paid for by the customers. I have plans to sponsor competitive students in need and support the awareness against cancer once I go big.
The hats on display for digital advertising
Q. Are there any tips or words pf wisdom you would like to give to others like you selling things online using Facebook?
A. If you are selling, always be courteous and diplomatic in replying to comments and messages. Join local market groups and share your products. If you can, register your card and use the Facebook paid ads Its a great way of find new customers.
If you have a friend who is doing it like me, don’t ask for free things. If you can’t buy, help expose them to potential buyers instead. I’m sure they’ll be people in your circle who would be willing to buy.
Sipikriva Girl wishes Kevin the best in his venture in digital marketing!