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Meet Ken Chiang of Star Box and Shipping in Huntington Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ken Chiang.

Ken, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
After working at corporate for 17 years, and became “older and expensive” I was laid off 3 times in 5 years, then I’ve decided to venture out taking more chances. Started out by selling higher Swiss watches at South Coast Plaza, I did pretty well there even was selected to go to Switzerland for sales training. Later I joined a small OC firm became a territory sales manager for wrist watches. Once I was tired of traveling I finally decided it’s time to open my own shop in Huntington Beach. Star Box and Shipping was started during summer of 2014 at the heart of HB. A place with good population density and diversity. A place I was familiar with and fairly close to home in South County. I started this business because the growing number of moms and pops who needed to ship and buy supplies for their secondary online business. My shop offers services such as copying, notary, passport photo, packing, and shipping, in addition to FedEx and DHL shipping. In terms of supplies we are one of the largest in the area offering shipping and moving boxes, we stock everything from tapes to moving blankets, we have over 200+ boxes sizes in stock every day.

We had a simple idea in mind, offering the best one on one services with reasonable prices and large selection of supplies. Unlike a typical shipping store, our store is conveniently located across from Walmart, offering a small warehouse feel and quick pick up and go services. We are also expert at packing everything from computers to furniture to fine China, and we are reliable and have great Yelp based reputation.

In terms of business, it has not been easy, like all entrepreneurs we experience growing pains. As a typical neighborhood business, I feel the biggest challenge is staying consistent and bring in new client’s day in and day out. Overall, we are moving forward and constantly adjusting and making our store a better place to shop and offer our customer a source for information and help them get things done.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I can only say if one survived then one can’t complain. There has been struggles along the way and there are many. I would say the 1st year, the main struggle was losing money each day each week and each month. Simple cost of doing business exceeded profit to pay expenses. I think that was my biggest worry along the way just to make enough profit to pay rent, insurance, inventory, common area maintenance, taxes, misc expenses, utilities, payroll taxes, etc. At the same time, growing the business was probably my biggest focus and it has been a real challenge because building a successful business is a process, a long painful process. I look at it as if it is an athlete competing, there are many ups and downs and inconsistencies along the way. I speak to every business owners who shops at my store, only one common theme has emerged, I often hear them say “we have been doing this a long time like 20 years…” Some even say 40 years in business. So to stay in the process of executing each day with our service objectives and to stay afloat is a struggle every business owner experiences.

Star Box and Shipping – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Our store is a specialty store that offers large selections of boxes, shipping and moving supplies. We also offer shipping services and packing as well. I am most proud because we fill a need for folks how run an online business full time or on the side, they need a place like ours to shop and simplify their lives.

As a small independent non-franchised business, we do not get the advantage of name recognition or franchise support in term of marketing material and training so everything is created on our own. What we do offer is flexibility and quicker decision when comes to sales. Also, customers who shop at independent run businesses most value the owner/operator efficiency, helpfulness and friendly environment. All comes down to know your customers and fill their needs. We try to do our very best each day.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success is a process not a guarantee. I think any new owner needs to be aware of that. There is no guarantee the business will take off or stop losing money. So to me, success is being prepared for anything, stick to the process, tweak the process, don’t be afraid to make mistake, learn from mistakes, try not to make the same mistake, take reasonable chances, and keep at it and never give up.

As far as criteria or markers go, your sales KPIs always matter, I look at foot traffic, average sale per customer, profitability, and always be on the lookout for good suppliers.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
These are original photos by Star Box and Shipping

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