Welcome to Kim Lien Mini Market!
Starting up Superpeach really has not been all glitz and glam.
Having used my savings to start up, the reality is, I have had to find ways to keep money coming in whilst Superpeach kicks off. Lucky for me, I have my mum - businesswoman extraordinaire and entrepreneur in her own right!
There are lots of things my mum and I don't agree on. Being a first generation immigrant, she's a lot more old school in her views and we have very different opinions on and often argue over business strategy. Don't get me wrong, she's supported me in more ways than I could ever hope for, but I feel like she doesn't really understand the full scope and power of e-commerce and marketing, much preferring to deal with tangible, physical assets like a supermarket.
One thing we do agree on is working hard! So when I asked to work a few shifts at her shop to earn some extra money as well as to gain first hand experience in running a small business, I knew she would be more than happy to let me in on her business secrets!
My mum owns Kim Lien Mini Market, an Asian supermarket in up-and-coming Peckham (47, Peckham High Street - come visit us and follow her on Instagram!). She's very much built the business up on her own and I admire her drive in following through with her dream. Having no previous experience in running a supermarket, she's had to learn everything on the spot.
My mum is incredibly hard working, she works 70 hour weeks not including the days when she has to wake up at 4am to go to the markets to buy fresh fruit and vegetables, and she never closes her shop - only on Christmas day. My mum couldn't be a better role model and in this sense, I felt lucky to be able to learn directly from her.
It may be a small "mini market" as she likes to call it but she stocks hundreds of goods! My main tasks involve restocking the shelves, tending to customers and working the till and this really isn't as easy as you may think...
Just to name a few of my daily stresses working at the supermarket... many of the products look the same but are slightly different, expiry dates on goods cause me a lot of extra stress, there are so many products to get my head around I find it hard to know exactly what the customer is looking for, and the till can really play up!
On top of all this, although I can speak Cantonese fluently, I've lost my ability to speak Vietnamese which has limited my scope in helping some of our customers. Whilst I can still understand the language when it is spoken to me, I can't speak it back (aside from just about managing my numbers from 1-10 which means I can at least tell customers the prices in Vietnamese!).
I've worked at Kim Lien Mini Market for around 6 months now and it's really been an eye opening experience from which I've learnt a lot. Whether you're selling Asian groceries or knickers - there are definitely similarities to be drawn about running a small business!
Stock keeping, presentation, marketing your brand and customer service are all key to success. Having seen first-hand how important these are for my mum's shop, I'm a keen bean to start applying what I've learnt to Superpeach (apologies if this blog post is starting to sound like a job application!).
I am grateful that I can look up to my mum who continues to inspire me everyday (even when she shouts at me for eating all her stock!). I hope to use what I've learnt working with her to make Superpeach a huge success and make her proud... because after all, it is seeing her relentless hard work and motivation in making Kim Lien Mini Market a success that made me believe I could start up Superpeach in the first place.