Hong Kong - The Making of a Manufacturing Queen

By Mini Latif 14 Nov 2014 9:20:21 AM

There is this perception that made in China means 2 things - cheap and nasty.

I say this because l too held this perception, until now. 

Mini Latif of Ottoman3 in Hong Kong

Mini Latif | Streets of Hong Kong

Cosmoprof  is the internationally renowned Beauty Expo tailored for manufacturers in the industry. Three years ago, l was at the final stages of cementing my very first product line and one that l wanted to stay true to 2 things. Either made in Australia, because l am made in Australia and/or Made in Turkey, as this is where the Ottoman3 brand was inspired from. 

After months of dead ends to finding Australian companies that did full end to end manufacturing in this beautiful country l call home, l was left defeated in knowing that at least a portion of my product line would have to be made in Asia, as l simply could not find companies that offered the full end to end service. Have you heard of the manufacturing term OEM? It stands for Original Equipment Manufacturing and it essentially refers to companies that provide a product that forms 'part' of another companies total offering. Let me break this down for for you. Think of that French hand cream that you see at David Jones on your lunch break. The likely hood is that the cream is from France, but the tube in which it lives, is most likely from Asia. This Asian company would be referred to as the OEM. 

Now any good business player will tell you not to give all your secrets away and though l am committed to sharing my trials and tribulations of running my own businesses through this blog, please forgive me when l do keep company names out of the process, as l will lead you to the water, but you must learn to drink for yourself. Still friends? 

I am sure you have had the pleasure of using the Ottoman3 Brow Pencils and these darlings do come all the way from Germany! I was fortunate enough to find the land of pencil greatness and this my friends is Germany. France is for Fragrance, Italy for leather, India for Tea, Brazil for Coffee, Portugal for cork, Belgium for Chocolate, Cyprus for Pomegranate and God damn it, ALL of Asia is for everything else. This place is on time, on budget and on the go. 

My latest products are filled in Australia and they are the new Ottoman3 Brow Gel and Brow Powder. The Australian company/chemist l have partnered with has been in the industry since ALMOST l was born and they are in my humble opinion the best in the biz. I have personally been testing these 2 products with them for over 2 years! So when l say, l have tried and tested everything l mean l really really truly have. It was early in discussions with them when they advised me that the containers that the product was housed in had to be sourced elsewhere and this is when my futile search for an Australian packaging company led me inevitably to Asia. I came kicking and screaming. 

l walked the 5 levels (yes l did every floor, with my poor fiancé in tow), think Jeff's Shed , double the floor space and then multiply it by 5 stories) and this is COSMOPROF ASIA 2014! 

Though this one is in Asia, Cosmoprof does not only exhibits Asian companies. The reality is, it is only the hub and the world of cosmetics come here to showcase their treasures. Hanging from the roof are flags of the world and quickly under one roof l was able to compare and do product quality check in one space. Now if you know me well, you know l love me a cliche and here l go - You get what you pay for! This my friends is truly what sets a product apart, because super cheap means something needs to go a miss to justify the price cut. At manufacturing level it does come down to this simple truth. Oh and just when you think your Parisian lipgloss was fully from Paris, l hate to break it to you, but they too are using the same fantastic Taiwanese company l am using to hold the lipgloss in - l know because they had them there for me to play with! That American dream of a moisturising brand that you love so much, well we do use the same Chinese packaging manufacturer too. I will not name them here, because well it is not about them. 

Today as l look out my hotel window in Hong Kong, holding a sample of my custom made cases that will soon land in Australia to be filled with the products that l have been delicately manoeuvring around the globe for the last few years, l think to myself of how sorry l am. Sorry for the stereo typing, sorry for the narrow mindedness and sorry that l was gullible enough not to think for myself. 

Now l am happy to say Made With Love and expertise is the formula you need to bring your products to life.

Happy Manufacturing!

Mini Latif xoBLxo

xo Beauty Lover xo

Mini Latif at Cosmoprof Asia 2014 representing Ottoman3

Mini Latif and Roman Sarkissian at Cosmoprof Asia 2014 representing Ottoman3

Turkey Farmasi exhibiting at Cosmoprof 2014 seen by Ottoman3

Shangri La Hotel Hong Kong Ottoman3 Mini Latif

Moodboard for Cosmoprof Asia 2014 for Mini Latif of Ottoman3

Rachel Zoe & her weekends - GIVE ME MY DAY!!!

By Mini Latif 24 Oct 2014 9:21:39 AM

Time... When you are running your own business do you have any? After an inspring lunch with Rachel Zoe hosted by Business Chicks today, I sat down to address the burning question that is faced by all business owners.... time?

Although there are many occasions when you do have to work weekends, overtime, early mornings, late nights etc. It is important for you, both as a person and a business owner to slow down, take a step back and join the "real world" for a second. In order to stay grounded and most importantly happy, you need that time with your family, your friends, your boyfriend. It's all about balance people.

I would love to hear your throughts, feelings and questions on this, so fire away. I have all the time in the world for you. 

Mini Latif xoBLxo

xo Beauty Lover xo

Rachel Zoe Business Chicks

Rachel Zoe | Business Chicks Lunch at The Peninsuala

Mini Latif | Business Chicks Lunch

Mini and Tania | Team Ottoman3 

War on Imitation

By Mini Latif 3 Oct 2014 12:44:00 PM

Ottoman3 Brow Bar Watergardens

Ottoman3 | Watergardens

Small Business Lesson 362: Imitation is not the highest form of flattery, it's called stealing'.

A few years ago, l thought the 'feeling' of flattery would conjure up positive emotions, filled with endorphins that would elevate me to new heights. With the intent of not being a kill joy and having gratitude for the life l lead, there has been a significant amount of 'imitation' that in the world of business we once called ' healthy competition'. 

However, when did good ol' fashion competition in the market place become reminiscent of gangster imitation? 

When starting in your small business, it is wise of you to list down on your business plan who your competition is in the market place. It is imperative to know not only who is out there, but understanding what your point of difference is in a simple standard response. Trust me, this standard response will melt out of your mouth like honey over a hundred times in the first few weeks of opening your business, because people like nothing more than to 'compare' you with A,B & C, even if you think your incomparable. And if you truly believe you are incomparable, then this exercise should be very easy for you. 

Arrogance in small business is fine to an extent, but if you are busy doing your thang, then you will quickly see that arrogance is a time waste and a humbled approach to how you view yourself in your 'market' is necessary. The advocacy MUST be left to your customer. Just think of the last person who told you how fabulous they were and how much you wanted to punch them in the face! (Sorry, slightly sleep deprived and nearing the full extent of the flu - boo hooo me). Yet, when unexpectedly you are told by your Barista about that cool furniture store down Church Street in Richmond and you are in the market for a cool new buffet in your apartment, well l shall coin the Google term of 'relevancy' here. It simply means, you believe it more because the Barista gets nothing out of this statement, other than being the cool chick in the know! 

So in a time where l have found that my healthy competitors have turned Gangstar on me by either simply copying my brands look and feel, calling in local councils to find a flaw in my store set up, having my products smells, taste and colours copied & my latest greatest one of having a trade mark infridgement law suit delivered by what looked like a google searched letter head pretending to be a firm and serious matter.... l say to this my fellow Small Business FRIENDS - this will most likely happen to you at some point of your career, especially when you pass the 5 year mark. This anniversary date seems to give a statement that you are in it for the long haul and invested beyond that 'I have a dream' moment. In essence, at 5 years you win the award for TOP THREAT DUDETTE - so with your new title l knight you with strips to fight the war on copy cats from Ballarat and wish you happiness on this War on Imitation. After all, we have just been complemented right?

Has this happened to you?

Ottoman3 Brow Bar Mini

Ottoman3 | Mini Latif

Ottoman3 Brow Bar

Ottoman3 Brow Bar Melbourne Central

Ottoman3 Turkish Coffee

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