Since I did pointer #1 in 2009, quite a lot has happened in the shave ice world. From the explosion of yogurt, mass franchising, snow ice, and now the natural trend. Now, there is one other thing that has also grown in competition, suppliers.
In this day and age where you can buy anything you want online, compare prices, and look at reviews, there is no better time than being a consumer. Back in 1983 when we started our brick and mortor store in Moiliili off of South King, there was no such things as online, price wars, or even this forum. We had to cold call customers or strictly base our business model on service and reputation in order to survive. For a customer to find us, they had to look at phone books or simply find us through word of mouth. If someone visited Hawaii from the mainland and saw a shave ice machine from HTK being used at Aoki or Matsumoto, that is the only way they can find out about us. Door to door sales was quite popular then.
Now we fast forward to 2017 where there are a myriad of shave ice suppliers out there that you can compare and choose from by simply clicking a button. There had been calls and posts here about choosing vendors. Who is better, who taste better, which is cheaper, and what not. The topic of this post will be to help customers choose a vendor that they are comfortable with.
When choosing a shave ice supplier for your business whether online or local there are several things you should look at to maximize your time and to save costs. Here are some pointers:
Rapport: This being very important. Always go with a supplier that you are comfortable with in speaking or e-mailing. The supplier needs to be upfront, honest, and shouldn't try to upsale you in whatever chance they get. I always tell my clients, my goal is for them to make money first before I do. Their success makes me happier than turning a extra profit for the company.
Quality: We all know the age old advice, quality over quantity. Buying products of high quality means you are selling a highly shave ice to your customers. What you buy reflects what you sale.
Pre/after sales service: This can't be stressed enough. With the online business model , the personal touch of live support and service has been washed away unfortunately. We all know about dealing with companies and representatives that simply have no idea what they are talking about or selling. This is extremely frustrating when you want to trouble shoot your machine or seek advice on a product.
Reputation: Most of the suppliers around the States has been around for at least 10 years. I would recommend to purchase from a reputable seller. Many times too often, we have clients come down to our shop with machines bought from sellers who either vanished or doesn't have the knowledge to fix their machines. Unfortunately for these customers, because there is no warranty with us or we require special parts, they end up paying extra to fix their machines. Reputation also involves positive word of mouth from other vendors.
Knowledge: As easy as shave ice seems, there are actually quite a lot of technical knowledge involved in the flavors, machines, and setting up a business. Buy from people who have product knowledge and can answer your questions without beating around the bushes or pushing blame. As most of you can see, our company freely distributes pointers and advice to people whether they are our clients or not. This isn't any secret, but knowledge is built by experience which is to be shared.
Integrity & ethics: I firmly believe in this point. A business should have positive work ethics and integrity when selling a product. A supplier has to believe in their product and sell it with integrity. Like between shave ice vendors, you should not steal other people's ideas, customers, or bad mouth the other party.
Cost: To me this is the least important when choosing a vendor. Yes, cost is everything when running a business since it correlates to profit. However don't let that be your decision maker when choosing a supplier. Referring to the points above, if you are not happy with what you purchased, it doesn't matter what the cost is.
There are many shave ice supply vendors out there, many whom I have gotten to known and are good people. As a supplier ourselves for 30 plus years, I have seen many ups and downs in the industry with sellers and customers that come and go. The ones that have made it through the economical and trend cycles are the ones that have a correct business model and mind set.
For Shaveicesupplies.com, our goal is not to offer a cheaper product than our mainland competitors or a fancier website. We are here to offer genuine Hawaiian shave ice supplies with the spirit of Aloha from Hawaii. As you can see from the reviews from our website, we are doing something right.
Please let me know your comments and thoughts on this.
This section will tell you the basics on how to make a good Hawaiian shave ice! Please feel free to ask questions you may have regarding local shave ice and shave ice in general.
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