A Bargain Hunter’s Best Friend
Everyone loves a bargain.
Jon Sugihara and his sisters Kristin Sugihara and Kara Soeryadjaya say they’re doing great with their new Internet business, Savvy Circle, which notifies customers when clothing, books, furniture or electronic items they are looking for are on sale.
“We find women do a lot more online shopping for clothes,” notes Jon. “On the men’s side, we do have men’s items too. However, electronics tend not to drop in price too much, and electronic companies tend to hide their prices sometimes. We’ve saved people lots of money.”
They track about 100 online stores such as Best Buy, Circuit City, Borders, Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com, Bebe, Coach and Ann Taylor, among others.
Here’s how it works. Bargain hunters log onto the website and start an account. From there, it can be accessed in one of three ways: Download a plug-in to your toolbar, add it as a bookmark link or just log onto the website. Then customers look for products they want to buy when they go on sale and add them to their shopping list. Then Savvy Circle sends an e-mail when the products go on sale. Customers can buy online or purchase it at their local store. Sugihara does note that not all items available online are stocked in stores.
This idea all started when Jon and Kara had lunch one day and she said, “I wish there was something that could tell me when things I want were on sale.”
With his technology background, Jon built the website in a couple of weekends.
“We also gave it to some of our friends to tool around with,” he says.
They launched Savvy Circle in November 2007 and caught the holiday traffic, which helped them spread the word about their site.
All Punahou graduates, the siblings have their own responsibilities in the company. Jon takes care of the technology and provides business advice. Kristin, the middle sibling, handles the advertising and marketing and comes up with concepts. The youngest sibling, Kara, monitors the stores, since she has a fashion background and is good with numbers.
“I use it for my wish list,” Jon admits. “When I have the money and I want something, I will look at the list and remember what it is I want.”
There are two things that he’s learned from business dealings that have really helped a lot. The first is to give due diligence when it comes to deciding whom you will start your business with. He advises people to be sure to know that you’ll be agreeing and butting heads with this person, and that you’ll need to trust them. The second is to execute well and fast.
“Don’t be afraid to try something on the Internet, because if you try something and it doesn’t work, in two minutes you can adjust it or apologize on the web. You don’t have to start all over again.”
For more information, log onto www.savvycircle.com
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