Last year, I worked on a few side projects:
- Teki: Employee sheduling app built on Angular 2 and Rails 5
- ng2-foundation: Angular 2 Foundation
- Staffjoy in Rails: A rails version of original Staffjoy, which manage employee schedule
- Yoseka Box (now Yoseka Stationery): A monthly subscription-based stationery gift box
These projects ranged from open source, SaaS to consumer product.
It was fun to spend countless weekends researching best approaches and experiment new frameworks. Unfortunately, all of these projects discontinued due to lack of momentum and real users. Not only was I spending a lot of time rebuilding non-competitive existing features, but I was also losing focus on priorities.
Towards the end of last year, I made the decision to continue with Yoseka Box, which eventually became Yoseka Stationery, and dropped the rest of the projects. As I worked on Yoseka Stationery, I realized that building everything from the ground up was not a viable solution. Even with just one project, the total time spent on building a subscription product site, writing blogs, building social profiles added up. There were so many aspects to one project: coding, testing, marketing, sales, etc.
As a result, at the beginning of this year, I decided to put my focus on marketing and sales. For example: creating and growing social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter), regularly sending out a Yoseka newsletter and organizing a pop-up shop at a local market. Through these actions, I learned a lot about how to build up a public profile for Yoseka Stationery that accurately reflects its mission and values, and reaches a wider audience.
Here's some more on the Yoseka Stationery story:
Yoseka Stationery was founded in 1981 in Taoyuan, Taiwan, where I grew up. My wife (Daisy) and I started Yoseka Stationery this year as a way of introducing Asian stationery to the US.
Growing up in Taiwan, my parents' stationery store was my playground and it was always easy for me to access any notebooks, pens and pencils available in the store whenever I needed them.
About 10 years ago, I moved to America, and it didn't take me long to realize how lucky I was to have grown up surrounded by all the supplies I needed to encourage my daily creativity. During school breaks, I'd always stock up on stationery supplies whenever I went back to Taiwan and start the semester fresh. It was a ritual of mine.
Stationery has always been special for me and I think the same is true for anyone who grew up in Asia. Everyone has their own unique pencil case packed with a never-ending rotation of colorful and cute pens, highlighters, pencils, erasers and stickies. I believe that for me, and all of my friends growing up in Taiwan, our stationery was an extension of ourselves and who we were as students, creators and thinkers. I continue to take my stationery very seriously and will always have respect for the power of simple tools and a notebook to organize my thoughts throughout the day.
The access I had to good, reliable and fun stationery has shaped the way I work and create to this day. Daisy and I would love to share this with you as well.
Thanks for reading!