Copied! Second Generation to Own the Business of Audio Product, the CEO of OPOWER, Happy Lin

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【GFA TV SHOW】Global From Asia
E-Commerce Entrepreneur Interview Show
Episode 11: Copied! Second Generation to Own the Business of Audio Product, the CEO of OPOWER, Happy Lin

About the guest

Happy is an Electronics Engineer and a second generation to own the business of audio product. Her family still have their almost 20 years loud speaker batteries in their hometown. They have their own pack there and are still making the inside loudest speaker and the phones. From 2011, they start the bluetooth speakers and bluetooth headphones.

People / Companies / Resources Mentioned in this Episode

√ OPOWER

Show Length: 26:24

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Podcast Transcription

Mike : Alright, thank you everybody for tuning in to another Global From Asia Cross Border E-commerce Series. We are here with Happy from O-Power. Thank you for being here Happy.

Happy : Thank you for being here. It is my honor to have the opportunity to have your interview.

Mike : No problem. So can you maybe talk about, how did you get started with this factory, how did it start up.

Happy : Yeah of course. Well it is about family story. I am second generation to own the business of audio product. Our family still now have our almost 20 years to run in the loud speaker batteries in our hometown. We have our own industry pack there and we are still making the inside loudest speaker and the phones, the cable phones. And from 2011 we start the bluetooth one. Bluetooth speakers and bluetooth headphones. And then about 2013 we go to order from Europe. It is very famous international audio brand. Now, we have 4 years together. In 2016 we got the order from Paris like Shopimiche. They are also distributing speakers and headphones to Walmart and Target and Best Buy. So most of our customers are focus on audio, they are professionals. Our team become more professional now.

Mike : So that’s cool, you’re second generation and you’re helping your family business make a, is it making a brand?

Happy : Yes. We are making a brand. It’s not easy to build a brand. And another not easy thing is to create a product, right. You know we make our own design from their product design from the material design and PVC layout and tooling and laboratory testing. All these things is own by ourselves, in house. During these times, just I tell Wendy, some other factory call me a bogus some of our orders take long time, some of them even takes more than 1 year to work out. We are, I mean the leadership during this 3 years for this industry.

Mike : Yeah that is difficult.

Happy : Yes difficult. We start many models by our own creative original design. Then so far maybe there are 5 models were copied in the market. It’s annoying me.

Mike : Yeah, it is very annoying.

Happy : I don’t know how to avoid this problem to happen. So we have to work harder and to make sure to go front, out there.

Mike : True. So do you register patents or trademarks.

Happy : Yeah we register here. But even you register patent in China is not easy to block them to go abroad. They cannot sell abroad and in China, they cannot sell. They cannot sell online. We have the patent to ask them to get out. Like abroad, we don’t have their, it’s ridiculous, it takes long time in US or in Europe to have their, I mean to law issues together to get in.

Mike : I see. Okay. Well the international businesses are very challenging, ‘coz there’s so many different countries and laws. So, did you, how about your skills or your experiences before you join the family business. What were you doing before?

Happy : My major was international business major. I am Electronics Engineer. Even I’m a woman maybe it change that.

Mike : It’s great.

Happy : My ear also very sensitive to recognize with song qualities. My ear is sensitive. And also my electronic background are, the whole thing designs on a note detail designs. I know how to make the song quality. I mean the background strategy.

Mike : That’s nice. So, how do you guys. It’s amazing you make your own design, your own products. How do you decide or think of these ideas.

Happy : You know we work with many international brand, their famous. And they have some information and feedback. And also, we have our team for product manager which work here for more than 3 years, everyone worked more than 3 years about this industry. And they go to abroad for fair, for the market. And we have a team for sales gathering all the information, all our customer information and the end user requirement. So after all this information gathering and we will choose which one will be suitable for our choose and after, shall we have 5 IT designer, right. They draw everyday. And maybe upgrade again, test again. You know we also have the 3D printer there. And you’ll have idea, we will draw out and point by this 3D printer out and look “oh maybe good product”. And also we will show to our customer. So after that if all is good so we will try to make the mechanics and electronics and then we decide to tooling.

Mike : Nice, alright. So are you telling you’re B2B or B2C?

Happy : Most of our business now is B2B. We have the B2B business for 10 years. We have showed all around the world. From the CS in January and to exhibit and we have their Hong Kong shows and in September we have, shows and Barcelona show, all around the world we have maybe 7 shows for 1 year. So we have maybe, many, many information coming to our research department team. To know which is will be the best selling, which would be their leader, will be the change for the next 3 years. For example, we have now our product change now is for the headphones and the noise cancelling AMZ you know? Noise cancelling headphones.

Mike : For the, they’ve reduced the outside noise.

Happy : Yes, which will be very hard. But there are only few big brands like BOSE have that. But we already have 2 models now. But it’s a secret. It’s only for our customer, ODM imported. Maybe I mean next year, we will do more, open to more customers.

Mike : Got it. So you seemed very busy and you’re doing a great job here. How do you have from fun thing. What do you do for fun or for hobbies

Happy : My hobby. You know I am a good singer. I like singing. Also in my family. I have my brother is a professional singer. So I love my career because they are audio, speakers, headphones. It’s all about the music.

Mike : So it’s good you’re working on your hobby.

Happy : When I was abroad, I go around in the market and made in the stores what is their best speakers or headphones. I like that.

Mike : Yeah that is cool. You seems to have a good work in life connection.

Happy : Yes so even if I’m not young already.

Mike : You look young, you’re young.

Happy : Let’s do passion always. Because I love my career, they are just like my child, you know. And all our team, our team members like the product. They love it. So we love our company to work as a good, to work better team.

Mike : Awesome. This is cool. So you work with distributors. What kind of people do you like to work with, like sellers or online or offline sellers, distributors.

Happy : Yeah, business we have distribute, they have their own logo, I mean their own brand. Especially in Europe, most of them at the local, it’s a famous local brand. Just like the Walks group and Shopimiche they are famous in local. So we will choose the customer, we choose have the strong audio professional, we will choose their professional audio brand to corporate users. Another way we will choose their distribute for our brand. So it’s maybe from Asia to Global.

Mike : Sure it’s like our brand, too. Our show it’s all about Asia and Global brands. So how’s that been going, making your own brand?

Happy : Yeah it just started but it’s not easy, you need a team to go and operate. And now we are looking for maybe US or Europe. They have their distributor. They want to distribute our brand, online or offline. We need the team to work together.

Mike : Sounds great. Yeah we will definitely try to help you introduce to this type of people.

Happy : Yeah. Thank you so much.

Mike : Alright, thank you so much Happy.

Mike : Okay, our next follow up segment. We’re talking, mentioning in the beginning about some problems you’re making your own designs and your own brand but you’re noticing copycats, is that Chinese companies or international companies, do you know?

Happy : Yeah I think the, was made by Chinese companies. But maybe the information was provided by our customer. Maybe because of the price, original one. Of course I mean the copy one will be much lower than the original one. Because we have interest many, unli-design, many designer and engineers to work it out. And the copy one, they will using lower cost for the material. It just looks same but not really the same. They changed the speakers, they changed the materials, they changed their batteries, they changed electronics. Many has changed. And then they lower down the cost and then sell it to the customers.

Mike : Okay so let me try to summarize a bit. So you make a new design?

Happy : Yeah.

Mike : And then you show your customer you say that this is a new speaker or new product that we design, would you be interested to sell it?

Happy : Yes.

Mike : And then you give them a quotation, a price and then they feel it’s too expensive?

Happy : Not all of them.

Mike : Not all of them. I mean the ones that do.

Happy : They do lower channel. Because our customer now is professional. So we will choose some of them. But you know some of them is lower cost. They are not doing the professional. They are maybe doing some other lower accessories, phone accessories. They don’t have their budget to buy the higher quality. We are using the higher materials to make sure the sound quality is good. So it is professional. But they like the design. They like the quality. They just think and they know this design will be hot, in US maybe. Maybe they asked some other factory  whether can you make for me. So some other factory maybe do it.

Mike : Got it. Maybe can make lower quality. I’ve had this experience of course factories are always make it cheaper, right. Like you said making cheaper quality materials, or cheaper quality assembly of manufacturing. So I think people watching should pay attention that the price, you shouldn’t just look at the price, you should look at the quality, the components and other things. Yeah and I also like to say, it’s not always the Chinese factories to blame. A lot of times it’s the overseas buyer that’s sending it to the other factory to copy.

Happy : Yes, sometimes it happens. We know some, I mean like misquote, I mean, I don’t want to provide the name out there. We know. Because we saw. Because when we go to the stores, they have the product. It’s okay, we are always in front.

Mike : Yeah, the leader, the innovator.

Happy : I mean store is running after us but they never, they never get that offer.

Mike : It’s true. I think that’s also what we’re trying to say is they can copy what you have now. But they don’t know your future. So, you have to keep innovating and going forward. But I think another way is I think making your own distribution and your own brand is also the way to protect yourselves at all time.

Happy : Like you know because you’re good so they want to copy. Like you know LeBron’s, bitz they will copy it many in China. But on other side, we have a light there.

Mike : You have to be the torch and the leader.

Happy : Yeah we are the leader, so they copy. So we our 5 models, were copied.

Mike : Sorry to hear that. But you seem like you’re on the right track and I think making your own distribution partners, your own brand and hopefully we can help introduce you to some new customer, distributors to help you with your innovation. ‘Coz that’s the more important, innovating, creating, like you know it takes so much time then work on resources.

Happy : Yes, it’s not easy decision. It takes 1 year for 1 project. But sometimes they copy it, 1 year later not at first. When our customer sells a lot, maybe they see at Walmart “Oh, it’s the one they selling Walmart, I better buy”. So they buy one and they copy. That’s the story happens.

Mike : And then what would you say for others, I think we’ve been talking about others like second generation. How does it to work with your family’s support, your new, is it like a new brand, new division?

Happy : Yeah, my parents is older now, and also my Uncle. My Uncle is running the loudspeaker business in our hometown. They tell me and they teach me totally a lot during the years and now I’m independent. So we have their, so the strategy is made by me now.

Mike : Great and so how can people find more about your company, your factory, your brand.

Happy : During these past years, we used, we attend this trade shows, the fair, we have 7 shows all around the world.

Mike : Alright, so look for OPower at the show.

Happy : Yes, many people, many customers know us. It’s very familiar, also my face. When I was in the train station. One guy call me and say “hey happy”. I was in the train station they recognized me, they know me.

Mike : That’s awesome, congratulations, you’re doing a great job. So we’d love to learn more about why you’re doing the brand and the story.

Happy : You know we do all by ourselves. We may add the design, we made the PVC layout, tooling and manufacturing. But some of our customer maybe it’s easy happen when they are selling they just need to replace the packaging and put their logo on and then distribute abroad to start sells a lot. About the price for example, I have headphones they are only USD6 but they will sell, the price is USD60. Ten times or even more. But why we do our own branding, because we do everything, we are the manufacturer, we like the sound song. We are like Sony, we are the manufacturer, we know the seller only. So we want to do our own brand to distributed so we are looking also for distributor to distribute our brand, partner.

Mike : Sure. So how would that, how do you normally would like to corporate with the distributor.

Happy : We will provide the stocks. We are thinking about to create a stocks in the US. We will choose to invest on the East Coast warehouse. And they can just marketing them, sell online, and when they get orders, we will have a system to help them, to ship to the end user directly. And also we will build our team there, the 2 warehouse, after sales people to handle the products return back.

Mike : Got it. I See. Sure after sales support.

Happy : So it will be 2, one is for the warehouse and one is after sales support. And also for the price support and also for the marketing support. Marketing support, we are gathering a team to market in Facebook and Instagram and also some media to advertise our brand, our product to make sure that end user can see more, can know us more and then can buy from our partners in US. Now buy from us directly.

Mike : Yeah, it’s like authorized distributor.

Happy : We will find maybe 1 or 2 for each, not so many. We will have some few of them.

Mike : Yeah it’s better that way to control the distribution. Great I hope we can find some. Thank you.

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