Jay Kim – Founder and CEO of JemJem

Most of my peers outsource everything, but I think that the best way to satisfy our customers is to get things done by our own.

Jay Kim is the founder and CEO of JemJem, an online platform that offers refurbished and used devices to the Apple lovers. He founded JemJem in 2014, following his strong inclination towards breaking things and restoring them to the more efficient ones, and then offering them at prices that are sure to please customers’ budget. At JemJem, he put robust consideration on recovering all the values in used Apple products and offers refurbished Apple products to the consumers within their budget.

They are the sole internet seller, covering all the three categories of refurbished Apple devices viz. iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks. Their accessible stock is mostly available at half the retail price of the same brand new product as compared to other sites.

In addition to this, his vision behind directing ePelican.com, Inc., Kristenkim.com, Digitz.com and Chocolate.org shows his outstanding perspective toward his business. He leads each of his business units from launch of refurbished Apple products to its selling at JemJem to the introduction of new hot-chocolate recipe at Chocolate.org.

Outside of business, he loves spending time with his family, traveling and exploring new places. He is an ardent reader and enjoys reading biographies and journals related to business strategies. His all-time favorites are: Sellin the Invisible by Harry Beckwith, Winning by Jack Welch, Suzy Welch and is strongly influenced by Robert Cialdini and Execution by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan.

Where did the idea for JemJem come from?

This all initiated in 2010, when I started out as manufacturing Android Tablet PC. When Apple iPads were new in the marketplace, it was too costly. While iPad was a great product, but when I calculated figures to get 3 iPads for my 3 children, it was around $2000. Considering this, we thought of creating an economical choice, so we focused on launching our own Android based Tablet PC. After a few years, the tablet market shrunk and Amazon started selling Kindle fire at cheaper prices to get future content sales, which eventually decreased our sales and margin. By that time, we already had sound online sales channels setup, so we just looked to find some profitable products to offer. For this, we bought some iPads from eBay, craigslist and many more and offered them on our channel. The sale went surprisingly well at the reasonable margin. Seeing this, we began purchasing them from wherever we can. This year, our turnover was really good with all Apple devices combined, retailing to Walmart, Best Buy, and many other trustworthy partners.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

A typical day for me begins with the latest news stories and some exercise plans. I spend my afternoons in one-to-one meetings with my product management teams and in the quality control labs to ensure the delivery of best quality products to our customers. I do research on different things daily to make my day productive. During evenings, I sit around the long dining table in the kitchen at my home and have dinner with my wife and kids. I love reading books or something that I want to finish up before going to bed.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I believe that no matter what the situation is, don’t give up and make it happen! This thing empowers me to turn my ideas into reality.

What’s one trend that excites you?

The changing marketing trend excites me. Actually, it has been democratized. Overall, this is one of my favorite trends right now, as this helps in making seamless communication between consumers and business persons. The ability to use marketing tools without having to pay for attention is unparalleled. Now is the time, where one can build his own crowd and sell without paying anything to the mass media gate keepers.

Today, social media platforms are at your disposal. By using right software and tactics, you can create your brand’s awareness and influence audiences and decision makers all across the world.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I believe in self-education. No matter what the situation is, there is always one thing or another to learn from. It is a habit that I foster in myself, because it drives my productivity by pushing me to new heights and ignite a spark in me to carve my own path. This commitment to never ending learning leads me to everything else.

What advice would you give your younger self?

If I could go back in my younger time and have a heart-to-heart with my own self, I would advise myself to choose an unconventional sector from scratch, as I always wish I would have made the leap a little earlier.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on?

There are many things, but one that is quite persistent in my life is that I don’t like to put things on others and believe in working hard. Most of my peers outsource everything, but I think that the best way to satisfy our customers is to get things done by our own.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

According to me, the important path to success is to think through what can go wrong. Things often go wrong, no matter how hardworking and smart you are. So, while planning the business plan, I always look at its other side.

Where do we want to go, and how to get there? What to do if all our plans go wrong? These questions are always in my list to avoid any potential obstacle.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Focusing on our strengths, rather than only involving ourselves in improving our weaknesses is the core strategy. This helps us establish our growth policies, reorient our playing field and help us grow our business further.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

It was when Amazon, one of our best-selling channels, suspended our account because of the bad customer reviews. Actually, we purchased lots of Apple devices from eBay to meet the demands of our customers. But, because the quality of the product we bought from eBay was not consistent; countless issues were reported by our customers at Amazon.

Moreover, eBay also suspended our account owing to numerous claims filed by us. It was the time when we thought that we are out of our business. But, fortunately, we ramp up on our other sales channels and purchasing side with real wholesalers and suppliers, so we were able to withstand that period, but it was such a big incident that could have put us out of our business. So, this is how we overcame. At present, we have 10 big channels and several other channels for buying the products.

This event also helped us develop JemJem.com. Now, we have our own direct channel to make it easy for consumers to find refurbished apple products and we have decided to have expertise in this.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

According to Deloitte’s research on the secondhand smartphone and smart devices market, it is evident that this market will get triple in the following five years. So, startups can enjoy marvelous growth in this industry.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Since I’m in apple devices business, I recently spent on updating the tools that I need for this business. I think that it is worth spending money if it ensures quality.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

It’s Google Business Apps suite to enhance my work. It has everything that you require to bring a project to life.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

I would recommend ‘Winning’ by Jack Welch, Suzy Welch, as it teaches how to win in the business world. It offers deep insights and solutions to nuts-and-bolts complications that can transform the thinking pattern of people about their work.

What is your favorite quote?

It is “Winners are not people who never fail, but people who never quit.”


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