Building on gadgets he likes

Alfred Khoo

Gadget lover Alfred Khoo of Maudire, must like the product first before he develops it for sale.

Instead of first assessing the market for the product, he starts from his own liking for it.

“When we like the gadget, we will have the passion to build the product well,’’ said Khoo.

The company plans to bring in more lifestyle products like audio speakers, small home appliances and cool gadgets with good background stories.

“They must also be of good quality and and suit our culture of LIVE, LIFE, PLAY,’’ said Khoo.

Good background stories behind these gadgets refer to their brand histories.

For example, the Marshall brand which has been in the market for more than 50 years.

“Their concept is RockNRoll which matches our interest in lifestyle and chill,’’ said Khoo.

Marshall, which is from Britain, started by manufacturing amplifiers, then family speakers, sun glasses and now, backpacks and wallets.

Another example is the DALI Hi-Fi speaker which  is handmade, using the Danish company’s own technology; DALI has been manufacturing speakers for more than 30 years.

Products from Maudire, which experienced an increase of 30% to 40% in July, in its retail sales business, are sold in Ai Home, Eng Seng Hin, Tan Boon Min, Viewnet, Home Pro and Cosway.

They are listed on Genting rewards and catalogs of some banks.

His gadgets appeal to customers ranging from 20 to 60 years old; prices range from RM29 for a SOUNDTEOH night light to RM4,999 for a pair of DALI Hi-Fi speakers.

The  cost prices of these gadgets have increased by 10% to 15%, partly due to the weak ringgit and also the rising costs of raw materials.

Even though costs have increased, Maudire maintained their selling prices.

Once Khoo and his team get attracted to a product, they will check if anyone has imported it; if there is no one, they will study the product details and manufacturer’s background.

They will then find ways to get in touch with the manufacturer or principal.

“Initially, we will bring in a few pallets, and as we grow, we will import by the containers,’’ said Khoo.

They then go about building up the product through, among other things, image branding in retail stores, advertisements, marketing in social media, getting sponsors for the brand influencers and coming up with campaigns for lucky draws.

“We take care of the products well, build them from the ground and then focus on the sales,’’ said Khoo.

Some products that he and his team have built in this way include the Mosclean mosquito trap, the Marshall travel category backpack and wallets as well as SOUNDTEOH motion sensor night lights, adaptors, extension sockets, table lamps and doorbell.

The ‘Go Green’ concept and technology behind the Mosclean mosquito trap from Korea, had attracted Khoo, who then surveyed the feedback from pest control companies and studied test reports on its claims of being able to lure mosquitoes.

Maudire, which alludes to ‘modern audio,’ now supplies to pest control company Rentokil at their Malaysian headquarters, consumer electronics and IT shops as well as shops selling baby products; the MOSCLEAN mosquito trap is also used by banks as redemption gifts.

The SOUNDTEOH range, a 60-year-old brand from Singapore, now sold at ALL IT hypermarket in Petaling Jaya, was imported in 2018; with full collaboration with the principal, it was backed by demo displays and aggressive marketing.

The company is in the midst of building the Marshall travel category backpack and wallets, made of full grain leather, in the market.

After Khoo, 32, came out to work, he started to get interested in gadgets, with his first gadget in 2014 being a Fifa World Cup trophy shaped like a mini audio speaker.

As he got to know more about gadgets, he purchased stocks from local suppliers and sold them to customers in small scale businesses.

He then started to engage manufacturers and brand principals for the product to be imported into Malaysia; Maudire was set up in March 2017.

While on holiday, Khoo will hunt for gadgets, with the best places being at the electronics or IT malls in Hong Kong, Korea, Japan and China.

Khoo’s story in gadgets does remind one of the tagline ‘feel the passion, hear the story!’

By Yap Leng Kuen, Chief Story Teller, The Artisans Haven