Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
Greetings, I am Frank Ouyang, the sales director of Panda Paper Roll Company. I run Panda Paper Roll, a company that aims to provide paper roll products and solutions to businesses worldwide.
We aim to sell quality paper roll products and provide solutions for retail, hospital, gaming, transport, and other industries that require receipts and tickets. We have been in the business for more than 20 years. Today, we are China’s top #3 paper roll manufacturing company.
The flagship product of our company is the thermal paper roll product, but our label rolls have become increasingly popular as well. Our annual sales range between $10M/year. We are extremely proud of how far we have come.
What’s your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
The company was founded in 2000, with the idea of providing paper roll solutions to a modernizing China as the technological revolution took over. The main motive was to provide the finest quality thermal paper rolls with excellent customer service and quick shipment. The idea and aim make us work through thick and thin to achieve the desired goal.
We understood the need for paper roll products as businesses grew and decided that there was a demand that had to be met. Now we supply many renowned international businesses alongside Chinese ones.
Timing is equally as important so when you feel that now is the best time to do something, go with that feeling. This is the formula for a great start.
For achieving our goal we drove our initial sales from the local market through online platforms. The platforms such as Alibaba and Baidu online advertising helped us to the firm stand our business in domestic markets.
After two successful years in the domestic market, we thrived to expand our international market. The first-ever method that we used for this purpose was exhibitions. We attended the Canton Fair, which is one of the biggest import-export fairs in the world. Apart from this we also flew to many countries to attend exhibitions such as Dubai, Hong Kong, Riyadh, etc, just to make our company recognizable in foreign states as well.
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
We initially started with simple paper roll products that would be used in ATMs, kiosks, and shops for receipts and brand stickers. As technology brought new kinds of paper roll types we began to manufacture them to provide a variety of options to our customers
As of now, the company has expanded domestically as well as internationally, the quality of our products is never compromised. The pricing of our products is very reasonable concerning the quality and services we are providing. However, for pricing details of our different products you can visit our website.
It will be tough to recall the starting costs of our first product. However, the starting cost of the business was around $300,000. It includes the factory renting which was almost around 3000-5000 square meters, installation of slitting and rewinding machines, acquiring thermal paper material, etc. and for the expansion of business it was mandatory to buy a new or second-hand printing machine, which costs us around almost $200,000. If you want to learn more information about starting up a thermal paper roll factory, you can read this article from our blog.
As mentioned above we started with simple rolls to be used in ATMs, stores, stickers, etc. but with the evolution, thermal paper rolls have become necessary in almost every field such as hospitals, shopping malls, restaurants, bank ATMs, educational institutions, and where not. Therefore, we do not have any target customers as thermal paper rolls have now become the necessity of every massive market.
Describe the process of launching the business.
Launching the business was a daunting task that required a lot of hard work. We had a small beginning with loyal workers and partners, together we made the success that we have today possible.
Marketing was our main area of consideration. Because only a good marketing strategy would have helped us to gain customers' attention and convert them into long-term clients. Therefore, we worked on several marketing strategies and found the online marketing method the most effective. By sharing the values and knowledge of our products through our blog we noticed valuable progress in our customers.
In the early days, it was not very easy to attract customers so we made sure to give our best at supplying quality products. Soon people would vouch for the quality we provided and our business grew. Our blog helped us a lot in gaining the attention of valuable customers and that's how we stepped on the journey of success which is still going on.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
Our best marketing is the testimonials of our loyal customers. Our loyalty and commitment towards never compromising on quality have become something that attracts new customers. And our loyalty and quality services have made our customers write testimonials for us upon our requests. It was an effortless process because we never compromised on the quality of our products and our customers' services.
We work our hardest to live up to the faith our customers have in us and that is the best marketing strategy in itself. Moreover, apart from testimonials our blog also helped us to reach customers. We are always in the process of providing the best possible knowledge regarding the products and their value in the market and the market evolution. The customers gain enough knowledge by reading our blogs which persuade them to become our clients.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Today we have become China’s leading paper roll manufacturing company. We provide paper roll products and printing solutions for different businesses and have international clients as well. The future for us is constantly changing and we change along with it.
Now we have a factory that is as big as 20,000 square meters with plenty of workers, around 20 advanced slitting machines, and 5 printing presses. Although this may seem small as compared to most businesses we have reached much further than most.
We are keen to be aware of any new advancements in the paper and printing industry and be the first to offer them to our clients. Sustainability has also become a key area of interest to the company. We hope to make ourselves more environmentally sustainable as a business. We are in a continuous process of reducing the number of our by-products and utilizing the advantages of recycling as much as possible.
As far as the sustainability of our company is concerned we keep on exploring campaigns all over the Globe about different products. Therefore, we not only stuck to thermal paper rolls but have expanded our product line by introducing multiple new products. Now our company is producing thermal label rolls, custom printing forms, medical paper products, business forms, and much more. Main aim is to cover the market as much as possible by digging more valuable product lines.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
The most important lesson we have learned is that the entire foundation of a business and its chances of success rely on the relationship between the business and the customer.
Even within the business, employees treat each other like a second family and we extend those familial bonds towards our customers as well. Therefore, we pay very close attention to our customer support service as it is the most beneficial strategy for long-term business growth.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
We have become very active on social media to engage with our loyal and potential customers. Our company has a separate department to deal with our social media campaigns and marketing strategies. We mostly use Facebook and Twitter as they both have a vast reach to the customers. Understanding that the world is becoming more online than ever before, we feel that social media platforms are excellent tools for marketing and customer engagement.
Another tool we use is online blogs for our website which educates our customers about our products, businesses, and other important things.
We try to take full advantage of technology and use different tools to make our online appearance better. For now, we mainly use Google Business Suit such as Gmail, Google Docs for our inner cooperation methods. For digital marketing, we use WordPress and Siteground. Both of them have helped us a lot in increasing our online reach to the desired audience.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
Books help guide a person and give them motivation. The book that inspired me most to grow out the business and strive towards success is The Lean Startup by Eric Lies.
Personally when I see interviews of owners of successful companies like Apple, Alibaba, Amazon, Microsoft, etc. I feel I can learn a lot from what they have to say.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
My main advice would be to constantly put time and effort into your company or dream. The more you invest in it, and I don’t mean money, I mean hard work. Research into market demands, see where you can make a difference.
The important part is to see a trend that could flourish a business and maximize that opportunity. Timing is equally as important so when you feel that now is the best time to do something, go with that feeling. This is the formula for a great start.
If you want to start a thermal paper roll business then you need to read our website blog, particularly this one.
Where can we go to learn more?
To learn more you can remain connected with us on our social media platforms. We suggest you take up reading on our website as well, it is very informational. Strengthening our bond with you is our top priority.
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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