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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Blogshop of the Month of MARCH: Choobs



My story of Choobs is simple.

Choobs, a local cyber-haven for trinket-lovers, has had a special place in my heart ever since I first bought a charm from them. About two months ago (before any notion of a review blog was conceived by its overimaginative writer), I found a RM4.00 charm on Choobs that said "Faith" on it, and being the charm bracelet fanatic that I am was, I had to have it.

Choobs' pointperson, Hwee Yen, was willing to navigate her way to my neighbourhood, locate where I was in a little shopping complex, pay for parking, as well as give me a 50 sen discount.

What did she earn from the sale? Financially, nothing - taking into account the cost price of an Australia-imported charm, parking, petrol, time, and effort.

Why did she do it anyway? Simply because I loved the charm.

Your Shopping Kaki was, needless to say, very moved by the whole thing - and found it to be a display of selflessness and a mark of a true trinketeer. Although there are quite a few others out there, and she's far from being the only one, here is the one I am telling you about right now.

Here is a blogshop owner who cared more about the smile on a customer's face than the money she pocketed from a successful business transaction. Here is a blogshop I recommend for the online consumer. :)

And this is the rest of the Choobs team, a family! :D

[From left: Hwee Mei (sis), Jean (mum), Hwee Yen]

Officially launched over 3 months ago in November 2008, Choobs has been a hit with the online community - especially in the close-knit circle of trinketeers and trinket-lovers alike. :)



This review is based on e-mail interviews with Hwee Yen (one of three founders of Choobs), and all photos are credited to Hwee Yen and/or the archives of Choobs Trinkets.

Having 3 founders & trinketeers hard at work behind the e-shop, it is no wonder they have 3 awesome and very different lines to their products - Sophistica, Mamasita, and Chica.





Choobs also has really cool photographs on the site - always unique, clearly shot, and easy on the eyes! :)




Another thing I love about Choobs - did you know about their free packaging?

Everything and anything you buy from Choobs will be wrapped in a pretty little package! :D





The store also boasts an impressive collection of charms - both local and from abroad (e.g. Australia, Hong Kong). They don't have all their charms catalogued, but you can always ask if they have something you want - or something similar. :)


Don't be shy, I'm sure you know by now that they're super nice!





Besides charms, Choobs also sells an array of accessories - necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings, even bookmark charms! :)
Custom-making is possible as well. Your Shopping Kaki's tip for custom-making? ;)
Provide a budget to the trinketeer, as well as select a few core pieces that you absolute must have in your trinket! :D



Another really remarkable thing about Choobs is its versatility! :) Its styles and designs really keep viewers/customers on their toes - instead of the same thing again and again, they've got festive trinkets, girly trinkets, oriental trinkets, East Meets West themed trinkets, trendy Juice Couture-inspired trinkets, and who knows what more is to come? ;)




And on a more personal note, when asked for their favourite creations on the website, this is Hwee Yen's reply:

"This is a tough one, but since there are three of us, I'm going to pick an item we each made:
[+] Blue Intoxication - my mum made this quite recently and it's just gorgeous, and its got all the elements to make it a fantastic trinket - its blue (my favourite colour!), it dangles and it sparkles!



"Blue Intoxication"
Chandelier earrings by Jean


[+] Blue Lagoon - my sister made this, I just love the glass bead pieces (rectagular and oval) that were used - this was one the first items we made with the beads that came all the way from Australia. My sis had very carefully chose them from a market and brough them home for us.




"Blue Lagoon"
A bracelet by Hwee Mei

[+] Love it Like It Is - My handiwork. It was one of those days when I was reflecting on what love, why people love and how it was to live through the Cloud 9 stage of courtship again. Like the description says, people find it in the most unexpected places & when the do, they have the pleasure of unlocking the many surprises and enjoying them. That's how the bracelet came to have the lock and key too."

"Love it Like it is"
A charm bracelet by Hwee Yen

Psst... Your Shopping Kaki has a favourite too! :D

And just for fun, here's the rest of the Q&A to share with you!
Completely unedited, so you can get to know Choobs a little better too. :D
  • YSK: What started it all?
    Choobs: Let me just say, we LOVE trinkets! Having said that, we sorta stumbled into Choobs. It was a trip to Bangkok that got us all crazy about starting a business selling clothes but once we worked out the logistics, starting a shop and all, we went berserk at the sheer magnitude of things to do. Then we thought....why not make jewelry? Still, we weren't convinced until one day, my sister came home with a proposal to help one of her colleagues make wedding favours for her bridal party. We made some initial pieces and she really loved them. And that was encouragement to forge ahead with Choobs! It started off as a hobby and now it's turned into making our hobby available to others!
  • YSK: Besides Choobs, what do you guys do? :)
  • Choobs: It's interesting because Choobs is a family business - my mum, my sister and me - total girl power! It's how we spend time together bonding as well, so it's a great combo. But apart from Choobs, we all hold day jobs (which makes balancing both really interesting!), my sister is in the finance industry, I'm in PR and my mom is a 24-7-365 grandma :D With that varied background, it's inevitable that we bring different tastes and styles to Choobs. Click here to read more.
  • YSK: What are some of your more eccentric hobbies? (trinket related or not)
    Choobs: Here are our responses:
    [+] Jean (Mum): I'm a dancing kaki! I line dance everyday and we're quite hip - we do songs like Shakira's "Whenever, Wherever", "Mambo No. 5" and more.
    [+] Hwee Mei (Sis): Now that I have kids, I spend all my time trying to think of new ways to entertain them
    [+] Hwee Yen: Hahahaa...I'm not sure if I should say this but I love watching re-runs! When I have free time (which is rare), I pop in a DVD I've already seen and do a re-run to the point where I can recite the words! hahahahaha....
  • YSK: What are your favourite blogshops, besides Choobs? ;)
    Choobs: We keep in touch with what's going on in the circle, so our friends at Charming Pieces, The Mini Diary, Chatterbeads, Stephanie's and etc. Of course, Your Shopping Kaki & Little Accompaniments are a must too!
  • YSK: What inspires you to keep doing this?
    Choobs: What keeps us going is definitely the joy in creating, making and hearing that our friends are expressing their individuality with Choobs' trinkets. At the same time, holding down quite intensive day jobs and running our own business can be quite a challenge, sometimes it's at the expense of sleep - which has now become a luxury! Nonetheless, we keep going at it cos we love it.
  • YSK: How is the work/responsibility divided between the 3 of you? :)
    Choobs: It's quite a cute story. At first, I set-up everything on my own, then as time went by, my sis and mom started coming to buy materials with me, try their hand out at making replications - they were calling themselves my little "elves" :) It's like that story where the shoemaker would awake in the morning to find his shoe orders completed and finally found out it was the elves that helped him. Now, they're also designers in their own right.
  • YSK: Any words to inspire those who aspire to follow in your trinket-making footsteps? :)
    Choobs: Seriously? :) If you love it, go for it and make sure you have the perseverance to see it through. Surround yourself with people who will encourage you, enjoy what you do and take criticism with a pinch of salt! :)

And there you have it, this month's Blogshop of the Month! :)


***

The review above was not a paid review, and was wholly built upon Your Shopping Kaki's decisions and ideas. However, due to overwhelming demand for advertising on this review blog - and a severe lack of advertisement spaces fixed on this site, I've decided to introduce two new things on Your Shopping Kaki! :D


1) Sponsored reviews

Too impatient to wait for Blogshop of the Month reviews or weekly themed reviews? ;) Feel like your blogshop could do with some exposure and insight? Think that a write-up about your online store could be really useful for future purposes as well?
As of today, the blogger behind Your Shopping Kaki has decided to offer...
paid review services! :D
*Not the same as my weekly reviews - which will always remain FOC - with no strings attached*

E-mail pungshalene@gmail.com if you're interested. :)

2) Voting for Blogshop of the Month
Why not make this "award" a little more fun and interactive? :D Maybe you have wonderful little stories of your favourite blogshops too! Opening the decision up to Your Shopping Kaki readers sounds much more interesting! :) There are 2 rounds of voting, to concentrate the votes in the "Finale" polls.
Where to vote: At the poll below the "Blogshop of the Month" banner.

Voting Round 1 begins: Sunday, 8 March
10 nominees have been named by YSK readers for April's Blogshop of the Month Award! Voting will run for TWELVE DAYS from 8/3 (12am) until 19/3 (11.59pm) to select the top FIVE blogshops. Then...

Voting Round 2 begins: Saturday, 20 March *FINALE*
Vote for your favourite blogshop out of the 5 - the blogshop with the highest number of votes will be featured as April's Blogshop of the Month! :D Excited yet? Don't miss the voting period from 20/3 until 28/3!

10 Nominees for
April's Blogshop of the Month award



*The blogshops above were self-nominated or nominated by readers*

Happy Shopping!
Your Shopping Kaki :)

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