Printcious is an online DIY gift printing platform that allows for gift customisation ranging from t-shirts, mugs, puzzles and many more for special occasions such as birthday, corporate event and so forth. Being the first in Malaysia to do so, we are pleased to have an interesting interview with Vincent Tong and Henry Tong, which are the co-founders of Printcious to share on their insights and stories in running their own business.
1. What ignited the spark in you to start a new business venture?
Both of us, Vincent Tong & Henry Tong are graduated from Bsc. Degree in Information Technology from Sheffield Hallam University and we are passionate in web development & E-Commerce. Since graduated, Henry was working 11 years in oversea as a technical architect in a multi-billion company. While Vincent has started his own entrepreneurship journey in gift & photo printing businesses since 2009. We always wanted to build a business empire that provides value and solves problems in the real world. Thus, we have founded another startup in 2015 October – Printcious.
2. How did you get the idea/concept for Printcious?
We would like to solve the real problem to help gift seekers, designers & business owners.
Problem Of Gift Seekers: Most consumers, especially Gen-Y and millennials, sometimes lack gift ideas which are unique, affordable and convenient to buy because they are not easily found in the market.
Solution: We have built an online customised gift store with an online design tool which allows our customers to customise memorable gifts with photos, text or other designs easily with zero or little knowledge in digital editing. With our online customising gift store, we would like to advocate the beautiful culture of gift giving to foster caring relationships for a better and more harmonious society.
Problem Of Designers: Many graphic designers and photographers are looking for additional channels to resell their arts and photos for more income without finding proper gateways.
Solution: We built an online Designer Marketplace with design crowd sourcing, whereby all designers can upload their designs to our Designer Marketplace and in the process receive a royalty fee once their designs have been purchased by customers to print on our gift items. Currently we have 400++ designers. We aim to have at least 5,000 designers in our marketplace and to be one of the leading Designer Marketplace among other ASEAN countries in next 2 years.
Problem Of Business Owners: Many traditional retail shops have problems in sustaining their business especially those which are sunset businesses such as photo studios.
Solution: We build a dealer program for business partners to resell our customised gifts as promotional items or added values to upsell their products/services without investing in any expensive printing machine. We hope to create more business opportunities for business partners to have extra income and expand their existing business at lower costs. Currently we are targeting businesses such as bridal houses, caricaturists, photo studios and phone shops.
3. What’s the most difficult/challenging thing about running your own business?
The most difficult thing will be hiring talent. As a start-up, we are not able to give decent packages to our talent. Most talents prefer to work in MNC or startups which have funding. Thus, our strategy is to hire our talents based on great attitude with positive energy and good learning attitude regardless their capabilities. Then, we provide intensive training to equip them with the knowledge to pick up their jobs.
4. What are some of the biggest mistake you’ve done and what did you learn from that?
Trying to do everything yourself. I was over-confident that I can do everything perfectly by myself. As a result, I was so exhausted and unable to sleep well. From this mistake, I have learnt how to delegate, plain and simple. If you try to do everything yourself, you are only setting yourself up for failure. You need to know how to outsource.
5. What are the most crucial things you have done to grow your business?
The most crucial things we have done to grow our business is to educate the market about customised gifts. There are not much people know that gifts can be customised and also printed for as low as one unit at lower cost. Thus, we have been educating the market via Facebook, Google & Youtube to show how easy and affordable it is to create their own customised gifts with advanced digital printing technology.
6. How has EasyParcel assisted you in your business?
By using EasyParcel, we can single click to create order in courier website, auto detect another courier when the common use courier is not available in the city, schedule when to collect the parcel as well as API to query order status easier. Thus it indeed save a lot of our time in preparing & printing the consignment note.
7. Where do you see yourself and your business in the next 10 years?
In next 10 years, we hope to build an eco-system in the gift printing industry. Also, we hope to hire more talents to be our partners to grow the eco-system even faster & bigger. To myself, I hope to be a mentor to guide Malaysia startup to unlock their potential and make a difference in their business.
8. How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
Entrepreneurs may invest a large amount of time, effort and money to get their businesses rolling, but they often forget about investing time in their families. However, I have learnt how to put trust in others and delegate. Learning to let go is the only way I have been able to balance increased work and life demands.
9. In your opinion, what are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Focus, Resiliency, Learn
10. What would you recommend to the others who are starting their own businesses?
Test and measure everything. If we faithfully test, measure and track the results, we can tell if a strategy is working or not. Being a startup, sometimes we need to fail fast to succeed faster.
We hope this will be an helpful read and guidance especially to those who are likely to start their own online business in the future. EasyParcel sincerely wishes you all the best in your future endeavors and hope you will be the next one to share on your success stories.
Use EasyParcel as your first stepping stone for your online business and don’t forget to entitled yourself for FREE RM25 credits upon registration. Also if you are looking for special gifts to your friends and families in this upcoming Christmas celebration, don’t forget to check out on Printcious!
Feel free to drop us a message at our Facebook page if you wish to be featured in the next interview! See you soon!