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Saturday October 13, 2012

Worthy Book has come a long way with its bargain-centric reach

Brother s-inarms:
Han Jia
and Ken
proud that
their coupon
book is a
success after
a tough start. Brother s-inarms: Han Jia and Ken proud that their coupon book is a success after a tough start.

How do you break from the norm after you’ve decided to break into business? Just ask the founders of Worthy Book. They have done something quite effective to make their business one of the most sought-after food guides among young readers.

Worth Book co-founder Kho Han Jia, who worked in Kuala Lumpur, found the idea for his business plan when he went back to his hometown in Sarawak. He stumbled upon a coupon booklet, which was something he had never seen in Kuala Lumpur.

The 26-year-old saw good potential here. It prompted him to part with his stable salary from the bank and sought the support from his brother Ken, 30, who was also working in Kuala Lumpur. The duo launched themselves into the printing and publishing business – with little knowledge of this field.

It was a rough start because they thought it was easy to produce a coupon booklet. They were inundated by a host of teething issues – networking, printing and design knowledge to publishing and advertising expertise. To make matters worse, the Sarawakians were not familiar with the roads and areas in Kuala Lumpur. Luckily, these challenges did not dampen their spirit. Six months later, Han Jia finally secured the first contract.

“I think the clients bought advertising space and offered coupons because they were touched by our sincerity,” he said.

“We tell our clients that our advertising strategy is different from other print media, whose readers may only care to browse through the advertisements once. Our readers will see our clients’ advertisements throughout the year in order to redeem the deals. Furthermore, our coupons are categorised according to malls for customers’ convenience,” he added.

In addition to that, they held roadshows aggressively at major malls, tertiary institutions, and office districts to interact with readers. They have held more than 50 roadshows in one year. The response was overwhelming.

Worthy Book also boosts its promotion through Facebook and social media. The first Worthy Book was printed in 2010. A total of 15,000 copies of the coupon book were printed offering various deals in dining, entertainment, beauty, spa and shopping.

The market did not greet the book enthusiastically when it was launched, but a string of roadshows and Facebook promotions stirred waves through the Klang Valley. Readers loved it that they could enjoy discounts and freebies worth of over RM18,000 in total through the book that cost them only RM29.90.

Ken also quit his high-paying job in information technology in 2011 to concentrate fully on expanding the business.

He pointed out that there would be different editions of Worthy Book to group up the deals according to their categories. There will be editions on dining, beauty and slimming, entertainment and shopping. Only the dining edition has been released to date.

“We printed 15,000 copies of the Worthy Book F&B Special Edition. It offered 285 coupons. With experience from the first book, we also saved RM3,000 in costs,” Ken said.

“The first book featured 104 merchants, 31 of them were in the F&B business. The second book – only dining – featured 57 restaurants. We were encouraged by the result, we hope the F&B edition can become an annual affair while we publish other editions,” he added.

In addition to that, Worthy Book allows for long-term marketing to garner supporters while online coupons bank on short-term marketing to gain a rise in sales. The coupons in Worthy Book are valid for one year while online coupons will normally expire in three months.

> Get your copy of Red Tomato, the country’s first free Chinese weekly, every Friday at most RapidKL LRT and Monorail stations, as well as selected convenience stores and shopping centres nationwide.

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