KAN CHEE WEE started his own cell phone shop in 2002 at the age of 24.
With a penchant for phone accessories such as straps and leather covers, Kan kept a close eye on growing trends and innovation involving phone accessories.
When he saw the opportunity to launch his own brand of cell phone covers, he grabbed the opportunity.
Having faced many forms of failure before, Kan learnt from his mistakes and picked himself up to set up the business.
By 2009, he established Fav/ve, a high-end, premium brand of cell phone accessories that set his business on track to achieve recognition on a global level.
“When I first got into the business, someone introduced me to a fine cell phone cover that was priced at RM50. At the time, when covers cost around RM20 to RM30, I believed it would be hard for expensive ones to survive in the local market,” said Kan.
He was shocked when the 100 pieces he ordered were sold out in two weeks.
This experience threw his understanding of the market off balance. He learnt that consumers do not reject the idea of pricey items, only that they seek higher quality products with trendy designs.
As a result of this, he decided to start his own brand of premium products.
In 2007, an enthusiastic Kan went to China in search of manufacturers.
Due to his small order of only 5,000 units, potential manufacturers turned down his business.
He kept being turned away until he found a small-scale manufacturer through a middleman.
The entire process took more than a year.
Kan recounts one of his experiences of being mocked by a manufacturer due to his order amount, which was deemed very small.
“He told me he’d rather give me another two yuan (RM1.07) for each unit and asked me to source from someone else, saying he couldn’t ‘manage’ my order,” shared Kan.
Although many manufacturers scorned him, Kan held on to his dream and chose to persevere, hoping that one day he could change the minds of manufacturers with his sincerity.
Having found a manufacturer, Kan’s excitement led him to another mistake; he forgot to specify the production details.
When his 5,000 units of cell phone covers arrived two months later, he discovered that all of them did not meet his requirements.
All of it had to be scrapped.
Kan had no choice, but to place a another order and after careful communication, managed to obtain quality covers from the second production run.
The only downside was packaging — the glue coating used in the packaging lost its adhesiveness due to the tropical weather conditions in Malaysia.
“I paid the price for my lack of attentiveness when I first started this business. However, because of all my mistakes, I’ve learnt even more. That’s how I eventually earned my first substantial return,” said Kan.
However, Kan said that his biggest downfall since starting the business was because he had first tasted success.
When he saw the overwhelming demand for phone covers in the market, his eagerness to strike while the iron was still hot prompted him to impulsively invest RM600,000 into the manufacturing process.
He misjudged the market condition and all his goods were left unmarketable.
Facing this great loss, a disheartened Kan almost gave up.
However, his wife encouraged him to start over, saying that all businesses face difficulties at some point and it was up to him to not let his previous efforts go to waste.
The next day, Kan returned to his office and held a meeting, announcing that he would lead the company to a new beginning.
He proposed to position the products as premium offerings at affordable prices, and to increase the variety in order to set his vision of a large-scale enterprise back in motion.
Kan was able to revive his business, and currently, he enjoys successful collaborations with many other larger organisations.
“The main reason why the company was left in such a huge predicament in the first place was because I let myself get carried away with my first success.
“I let my lack of market sensitivity, my insistence on offering only what I liked and what I thought could sell overshadow the preferences of the market and consumers,” Kan said.
Today, Fav/ve has been in the market for five years and the brand has had the opportunity to collaborate with several telecommunication companies and big brands.
He said this was all the result of proper management in terms of product quality, packaging, pricing and brand identity, which gave the company a competitive edge over other companies offering the same products.
“When it comes to the supply-chain management, Fav/ve is able to control the production run, its duration and quality. Having achieved this, we continue to focus and progress towards the goal of becoming a large enterprise,” Kan said.
Fav/ve has expanded its business into the East Malaysian market.
Kan has stated his three-year objective to take the brand to Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and other neighbouring countries.
He said the company’s ultimate goal was to become a provider of accessories for companies like Samsung and Apple devices, taking the Fav/ve brand to the whole world.
Kan also pointed out that Fav/ve’s range of products included cell phone covers and decorative accessories.
“The brand believes that science and technology are extensions of humanity.
“As such, the products that are developed are people-oriented, taking into account the aesthetic qualities, convenience, health and protection, affordability, and value,” said Kan.
Fav/ve’s latest product is the Anti-Blue-Ray screen protector, created with Japanese technology.
It is said to reduce the glare of reflected light, reducing the strain on eyes.
“The reason for establishing such a sophisticated product is protection. Prolonged exposure to the lights from such gadgets could cause harm in the long term for frequent users of mobile and digital devices.
“With this screen protector, consumers can achieve better comfort for their eyes while reducing the risk of astigmatism,” added Kan.
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