Name of Recipient:
Mr. Shawn Lee
With the emerging trend of online shopping, many Singaporeans are turning their attentions to their computer screens when it comes to buying items they need. Not only is it convenient and easy to buy items online, the prices of such items are also often much cheaper than retail stores as well.
Established by Mr. Shawn Lee in 2008, iPro Distributor long ago have already recognized the potential of online shopping. A wholesale trading company who supplies their goods to retail and online shops, iPro Distributor’s product range consists of household appliances such as air purifiers and ceramic knifes, as well as miscellaneous items such as watches and jewelry with Swarovski Elements.
Previously a retail manager working in fashion and shoes, Shawn got the opportunity to try something else instead. “I guess I’m kinda lucky. Before iPro started, the iPhone had just started taking off as one of the most popular phones in Singapore. But everyone was always complaining about the battery life and their drain, and how they need something to charge it. That was when I discovered the powerbank. It then became our first product.”
“A lot of people may not know this, but iPro was also the first company in Singapore to introduce the powerbank. Other companies then subsequently introduced their own versions, but we were the first to do so.”
However, introducing a brand new product into the market presented Shawn with a great challenge. How do you convince people to buy a product they know nothing about? Shawn said, “We were the pioneers, but it also means that, at that time, people in Singapore did not have knowledge of what a powerbank is. They did not believe that it is able to charge up a phone as advertised.”
“It was quite difficult when iPro first started. I started the company alone, and for the next three months afterwards, I was running a one-man show. I had to go door-to-door, explaining to people what my product, the powerbank is about. I had to go down for retail shops at least three or four times before someone was willing to stock it.”
The turning point happened when the client agreed to stock the powerbank. And before long, they called Shawn to replenish their stocks, signaling the strong demand for the powerbank device. And that was the start of eight subsequent years of success for iPro Distributor.
With the rise in prominence of online shopping, with sites like Qoo10 and Groupon becoming popular online haunts for Singaporeans, Shawn has seen a boom in his business as well. “The recent trend of online shopping has enhanced our business, and not only do we supply to retail and online shops, we have our own outline outlet at iproevo.com as well. Also, we supply many items to Groupon, so a lot of the things you see there are from us as well.”
Looking back at the past eight years, Shawn has attributed much of his success to his innovative spirit. “I like to source for products no one else has. It is what happened for the powerbank, as well as for our later items as well, like the bladeless humidifier fan and our mosquito trap. One new item we are introducing is the Jumpstart Powerbank, which can be used to jumpstart a car or charge a laptop. This is something that the Singaporean market does not have yet.”
When asked about what entrepreneurship means to him, Shawn had this to say, “It’s not to be greedy, and go step by step on your journey. Before iPro, I had another business venture that I proceeded aggressively on, and I opened three outlets in shopping malls. All of them closed down within a year. Since then, I have learnt to plan everything well before proceeding with them.”
“An entrepreneur also needs to have the sincerity, and be responsible for their product quality. Even if we do not really market ourselves, people know where to find us. We sell for a good price at a good quality.”
Planning ahead for the future, Shawn is interested to expand the brand further into the retail industry. “Right now, we are into wholesale supply, and already have presence in other countries such as the US, Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan, and the UK. But what we hope to do is to open a retail store for iPro, hopefully in the next one or two years time. Our eventual plan is to have retail outlets at all corners of Singapore; north, south, east, and west.”
With online shopping looking set to be even more popular, iPro Distributor already occupies an industry advantage not many other companies possess. With the continued demand for quality household products at great prices, iPro Distributor looks poised to reap in more success for the years to come.
47 Jalan Pemimpin #02-07
T| 6258 7992