Jay Kim is entrepreneur that loves to build businesses. He is currently the CEO and President of a company he found known as JemJem. Jay is a hands on CEO overseeing all operations of business. He loves to break things and build them in a more efficient way. His current mission is to recover values on used Apple products and offer them to consumers who want to get Apple products at budget price. Aside from his business, Jay Kim also helps environments with less electronic waste/landfill. JemJem offers the widest selection on used/refurbished Apple products.
How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?
Actually started out as manufacturing Android Tablet PC back in 2010 when Apple iPads came out. While iPad was great device, it was too expensive. I have 3 kids and it was around $2000 to get all 3 of them with ipads. I wanted to create cheaper solution so created our own Android based Tablet PC. After few years, tablet market was already saturated and Amazon selling Kindle fire at a loss to get future content sales, our sales and margin was shrinking. We already had good online sales channels setup and just needed to find profitable products to offer. We bought few ipads from craigslist, ebay and so on and offer them. They were surprising sell really well at reasonable margin. So we started buying from everywhere we can. We are projected to sell over $30 million this year with all Apple products combined, selling to Best Buy, Walmart and many other reputable partners.
How do you make money?
We don’t’ compete with the cheapest price online. We offer great selections and great condition of products. This works really well with many small businesses that need few units of Apple devices. We have many repeat customers who buy more devices as they grow their businesses.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
We were profitable in our first year. I personally did all the tasks so we don’t’ lose money. Customer service, shipping, buying, working with channels to get things going. As we sell more and made some profit, started hire people little by little and now we have more than 20 people here.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
One of our best channel for selling was Amazon and we bought a lot of products from eBay to source many products. Because of the product quality that we bought from ebay sellers were not consistent, we had issues reported by Amazon customers. Amazon had suspended our account for bad customer experiences and eBay had suspended our account due to too many claims filed. That was basically our business gone over night. But luckily we were ramping up on our other sales channels and purchasing side with real wholesalers and suppliers, we were able to survive through that phase but it was real big event that could have put us out of business. Now we have over 10 big channels and has diverse channels for purchasing so this doesn’t happen. This is how JemJem.com was created, we wanted to have our own direct channel to consumers that looking for apple products and decided to specialize on this.
How did you get your first customer?
When we launched jemjem.com, we were already doing quite a bit of business as JemJem on many online channels. Many would just go search jemjem as a curiosity when they see name jemjem on marketplace channels, they see that we have jemjem.com that selling Apple products and they will just buy from us directly.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
Social media marketing. We’re exerting the power of digital marketing to promote ourselves and generate new business.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
The decisions relating to expansion! Screening the potential partners, their businesses and statistics have proven to be really tedious. But hard work obviously never goes waste and today, we’re standing strong with various acquisitions with our name.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
No matter what the situation is, we don’t’ give up and we make it happen!
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
When we pay Christmas bonus to everyone in the company. We were able to pay Christmas bonus for everyone since we started. We pay 1-month salary for employees who’s been with the company for more than a year. I love how much my employees love this. This happens only when the company is profitable for the year and we believe we can achieve this every year!
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
Growth, growth, and growth! I want to assure that JemJem positions as the market leader, while the on-demand space is growing exponentially. There are more and more people, rather competitors, who are willing to go above and beyond to accomplish their goals; I believe this business will always stay healthy as long as individuals love technology and know that there are retailers like JemJem that are willing to back their love with reasonably priced tech products.
-According to research done by Deloitte on used smartphone market (https://www2.deloitte.com/eg/en/pages/technology-media-and-telecommunications/articles/tmt-pred16-telecomm-used-smartphones-17-billion-market.html) Used smartphone and smart devices market will triple in next 5 years. There will be tremendous growth ahead of the whole industry. As leader in the industry, we do see big growth ahead of us.
What business books have inspired you?
I am an ardent reader and love reading biographies and journals related to business strategies. My all-time favorites are: Winning by Jack Welch, Selling the Invisible by Harry Beckwith, and Influence by Robert Cialdini and Execution by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan.
What is a recent purchase you have made that has helped with your business?
I have all the tools that I need for business since I’m in apple devices business.