Monthly Archives: March 2011

High End Audio – Jungson

In this nepchin blog post we thought we would find out a little more about high end stereos with Jungsun Audio Sydney, Ron. Most of us have a portable music player but for those interested in taking the next step, what is it about and what is involved?

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nepchin – “Ron can you tell us a little bit about the differences between high end stereos or audio gear. Our knowledge is only really limited to having an iPod and maybe a surround sound system for my TV”

Ron – “Hi End Stereos essentially are equipment made for the reproduction of sound with high fidelity, audiophiles refers the them as Hi Fi. Audio gear comes in many forms, for example a radio, CD players, car audio, surround sound systems and iPod are all classified as audio gear.

Everyone loves music and how the music is played back to its original sound is what Hi Fi is about. Audiophiles demand high quality of musical reproduction that come close to the original recording.

Many years ago, Hi End Stereo system is a very expensive hobby. These days, it is much more affordable to play with Hi Fi.”

nepchin – “so when we you see a setup, what kind of things should one look out for? is there minimum equipment involved in a setup. or what is even in a minimum setup.”

Ron – “A simple 2 channel Hi End Stereo system will have a source unit such as CD player, a good quality power amplifier and a pair of quality loud speakers connected with quality inter-connect cables. When I look at a Hi Fi setup, I first equipment look at is the power amplifier, which I believe is the heart of the system. The loud speakers are second on my list before checking the source unit and cables. Many of my friends who are new to Hi Fi think that a pair of loud speakers is the key to a good system, this is not entirely true as the matching process in selecting the system is very important. There are many products out in the market with different outputs, each them also have they own character. It is important that you know what type of sound you like? If you are Jazz fan, you might like a sweet lay back sound. If you lover of Rock music, you might lean to a dynamic sounding system with plenty of power. My advise is to listen to a few and get a taste of what you like. JungSon Audio is a great way to start and set the benchmark for comparison. Our range of amplifier have transistor and valve type amplifiers, hearing both which will give you a good feel of what Hi Fi is about.”

nepchin – “so what do I need to look out for when I’m thinking of purchasing one? Are there specifications, standards or things like that? is there any maintenance involved or on-going costs if after I purchase one”

Ron – “I think the most important rule is setting yourself a budget, a good system need not to be expensive. Make sure the products you purchase have a approved C-Tick label and number, this means that the product complies with the applicable standard in Australia. In terms of maintenance, generally a good transistor Hi Fi system is very low maintenance. Valve systems may requires a little more maintenance due to changes of valves over time. If your new system runs well for the first 100 hours, you usually will get many many years of enjoyment out of the system.”

nepchin – “how does Jungson Audio fit in all of this and how do they compare with like brands I see at JB Hi Fi, David Jones and Sony Central shops and the like? or are they in same area”

Ron – “JungSon Audio is different to other brands you see in JB Hi Fi or David Jones. Our products are unique and are hand built with famous parts around the world. For example, our CD/SACD players uses famous CD transport from Philips and Sony and other key components from Toshiba, Motorola and Burr Brown. JungSon Audio’s unique design are patented. Just take a look at our Impression II CD player for example, you will immediately notice its distinctive styling. When you see and hear our product, you will notice the difference. Our most popular power amplifier the JA-88D weights just under 30kgs, and the best of all, it sounds superb. The only similarity you will notice is the price.”

Jungson Impression CD player

Jungson Impression II CD Player

Jungson JA88d Integrated Hi-Fi Power Amplifier

nepchin – “so going from my humble iPod to a high end gear setup, is there much involved then and how much could I expect to pay to get started?”

Ron – ” Setting up a Hi End system is not difficult but can take a bit of time. Unlike your humble iPod, you will need some space for your Hi End gear. Whilst the power amplifier might fit on a audio rack, your speakers can be large and you might need to move them around to find a position that will sound the best from your sitting position. A good Hi End system can be set up for around $2,000 to 3,000, and it sounds like you have already started as your iPod is an excellent source unit. JungSon Audio consultant can assist you design the rest of your system to fit your room. We have set the benchmark for both quality and price, even Australian Hi Fi magazine quoted our amplifier is “the front-runner in the stakes for being bargain buy of the 21st the century”

nepchin – “Well Ron, thanks for your time today to talk a little bit about high-end audio with us at nepchin”

Ron – ” Thank you for having me, JungSon Audio Australia offers a range of very affordable High End system to meet all budgets and we provide full service warranty for all our Hi End equipments. The most on-going cost you would need to consider is the cost of increasing your CD collection!”

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so a little bit about high end audio. If you are interested in getting some
audio equipment, you can go to their website at Jungson Audio or Post a need for High-End Stereo on nepchin to reach them.

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Sales Lead notifier Widget – nepchin

Lately, we’ve been working on a simple widget (a little software application) that will easily allow people to follow Posts of what people need to buy. You might not have Facebook, you might not have Twitter, you have email but don’t really want to keep checking it all the time. So you can have this little widget open in the background in your browser or you can embed it onto your webpage etc.

Here is the link to our widget which will open in a browser.

nepchin Sales Lead notifier Widget in browser

For those who like to get into the code and want to embed it into their websites, just go here to get your widget and cut’n paste the code. You can change the theme colours to match your website. so now, you can see sales leads as they come through and just click to make an offer.

nepchin Sales Lead Notifier Widget Page

Now you can be alerted to sales leads from our first widget.


Mary & Martha of Mongolia – nepchin

In this blog post, nepchin is going all the way to Mongolia to talk to “Mary & Martha of Mongolia“. Mongolia I hear you say? If you look on the map, it’s a democratic country land-locked between Russia and China. Mary & Martha bring to the world hand crafts and gifts made by Mongolians and Mongolian Ethnic Kazakhs. so let’s have a chat to Bill, owner of Mary & Martha.

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nepchin: “Bill, great to have you with us today. Mongolia is quite an unusual destination, tell us how it all began for you and how you founded Mary & Martha?”

Bill: “Life in Mongolia started with an email over 10 years ago. We were requested to come and lead an International NGO – following interview we accepted. 4 years on, 2006 we realised that many Mongolians and Ethnic Kazakhs were receiving training to develop skills for making Hand Crafts but they were unable to develop their businesses either in country or through exports – lack of business knowledge, lack of English language, inability to borrow finance and not knowing what the world in general liked in gifts – we decided people needed a “good bridge or middleman” in country who could offer them business training, loans, design possibilities and most critical a gateway to foreign markets. Mary & Martha was registered in 2007 and those with us who have chosen to use the bridge have seen their businesses grow 10 fold in the last 3 years – we’ve seen the lives of so many people changed for the better.- dignity, work, food on the table, funds to educate their kids …”

Mary & Martha Mongolia - World Fair Trade Organisation

nepchin: “Wow, you’ve been there quite a while. Mongolia is a developing country and can have some quite harsh winters. I guess your business has to be quite nimble and adaptable to changing environments. How does Mary & Martha operate? How do you work with local industry to bring the products to market? Do you have travel vast distances?”

Bill: “First and foremost, we order from our Artisans all year round to ensure they have cash flow every month. Then we give loans / advances to our Artisans (usually interest free) often to cover raw materials for 6-9 months ahead allowing better prices by buying in bulk. We give our artisans the value of the minimum we will order from them in the year so they can plan ahead and budget. Our business cycle is very varied – January through March, sales are almost non-existent but it is the time of greatest spending for us as we build our stocks for the high season of May through September. And round about June the export season also kicks in. No one else buys up front or gives advances. By working this way our artisans have supplied our needs for most of the season and they can then concentrate on the short term buyers and the consignment shops, whilst still receiving small orders from Mary & Martha.

We and our Artisans travel huge distances; at the worst times of the year our far west Artisans can travel 3 days and 3 night non-stop to bring in products; most average 1-2 days away. We need to visit to check out their work conditions; to meet their workers; to check on salary levels and potential of child labour. We also want to meet the families; to get to know them and to understand their life difficulties – so that at times from company profits we can support them in dire times. We also want to do on location training and improvement in production techniques, finance and other business issues.”

Uyungaa Painting Silk

nepchin: “How does Mongolian crafts differ to other crafts that you have seen? Is it the design, the fabric, the material? and where does the influence you see in the designs come from? We see that there are Mongolian ethnic Kazahks too.”

Bill: “Mongolians and Kazakhs have traditional patterns they use – on clothing; on buildings … and because of their nomadic background hand-made has been a necessity of life. We combine the traditional designs / skills and some new learnt skills with colours, shapes and new products that folk around the world appreciate and we look for ways of adding value to the raw materials available in the country – sheep fleece, leather, camel yarn and yak down – there are over 30,000,000 animals herded in Mongolia and often the value is added in other countries rather than to the Mongolian economy. We believe by using traditional skills and patterns with new designs and local materials wherever possible we expand markets and reduce poverty through sustainable business.”

Embroidered Felt

Ina Kazakh at work

nepchin: “What do you have that is unique, different or very authentic, or something that is very Mongolian that perhaps get someone’s attention. Something that people will say, ‘oh that’s interesting, wow, I’ve never seen anything like that before'”

Bill: “A favourite product is our Kazakh wall hanging – embroidered materials about 2 meters by 1.5 metres that the nomads use like perenial wall paper in their felted tents – the practice of women making these hangings for their weddings is dying out so the hangings are becoming rare. We have the largest selection available in Mongolia. And then we have traditional and the new combined together – Kazakh Embroidery on fine, hand-made felt in the form of hangings and table runners – we bring together the embroidery traditions of the Kazakhs and the felt-making traditions of Mongolians together into one unique product. But there are so many more – hand-made knitware from camel and yak – luxurious and relatively unknown. We also run several high quality felt slipper designs – more up market then those found in other countries and definitely better than the other local producers. And then the quirky – hand painted silk scarves using Chinese Silk and German silk paint brought together by a wonderful Mongolian artist.”

Kazakh Wall Hanging

nepchin: “Apart from suppling from Mongolia, are there any plans to expand your offerings to other countries? and where can one see the Mongolian handcrafts you sell?”

Bill: “Over the past 3 years we have gently tested out our products in several countries on a small scale to see how well our products “travel” – the answer is good so long as we know that markets differ across different countries – we are now trying to open up our export markets by seeking champions / buyers for our products in the USA, Europe, Australasia and Asia. We’ve had angels in Novis Scotia, recycled Embroidery in L.A., Camel throws in Finland, slippers in southern Australia and felt stars in Hong Kong. So if you an interested Boutique or maybe a Fair Trade shop or just interested in giving an chance to those less fortunate, please contact us – info.mmmongolia@gmail.com .”

nepchin: “It’s certainly been fascinating to hear about Mary & Martha from Mongolia and thanks for joining us today. ”

Bill: “Thank you for putting Mongolia, Mary & Martha and our Artisans in the spot light … it is through deals like this that people can hear about Business fighting poverty, giving people dignity and improved lives – all done without donations in a long-term, fair trade, sustainable way – maybe as pioneering as our interviewer nepchin is.”

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If you are looking for something different, something Mongolian or interested in handcrafts! you can contact “Mary & Martha of Mongolia” (info.mmmongolia@gmail.com) or Post a need on nepchin to reach them.


Smateria bags and accessories from Cambodia hand made from common and recycled materials – nepchin

Hi everyone, nepchin is really excited to bring you this post. nepchin is going to talk to Sarah of HQW Distributors who distribute the new and exciting brand, “Smateria” from Cambodia. Yeah Cambodia! We were surprised at first to be talking about something from Cambodia but Smateria is a cool brand making sustainable handmade bags and accessories from common and recycled materials. So think plastic bags and motorcycle seats transformed into fashionable handbags, it’s almost like works of art!

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nepchin: “Hi Sarah and thanks for your time. Now the bags and accessories from Smateria, the designs are really cool and funky. We read that it was started by two Italian friends, Elisa and Jennifer a few years ago in 2006, how did it start and how did you get involved?”

Sarah: “Yes, you’re right. I have been working in Cambodia for the past 3 years and saw the Smateria shop in Phnom Penh and loved the products. I use them myself and came up with the idea of distributing them in Australia. My partner’s family business is HQW so I suggested bringing Smateria under its fold once we returned to Australia at the start of this year. I have a huge amount of respect for Jennifer and Elisa who started the business from scratch with very limited experience in this industry – through great determination, an eye for design and strong business savvy they have grown this business from 5 to 50 employees in just 5 years!”

nepchin: “That’s pretty amazing to be able to start something like that. It’s quite inspiring to see new businesses have a go and really rewarding that this kind of business also helps local families in Cambodia too. For local families, what does the opportunities of Smateria mean to them?”

Smateria local Cambodian staff

Sarah: “Absolutely, Smateria represents an opportunity for Cambodian employees to learn new skills (to an international standard) which improves their employability and standard of living. Smateria employs all of its workers using fair trade principles and contracts them under international standard labour laws. They even run a program where they outsource work to the families of the employees at their warehouse and buy them a sewing machine to get started which they pay off gradually with their wages and soon own it – a great initiative which really makes a huge difference to these people’s lives!”

nepchin: “Looking through the range you have, the materials are quite varied. How is Smateria able to fuse the unique design, the use of recycled material and the practicality of the bags. We were expecting really low end design work but they really do look fantastic and the colours are quite striking and the materials seem quite durable.”

Sarah: “Yes it is definitely a worldwide concept that developing countries will develop products that are below par in the developed world, but it’s just not true, there are a growing amount of innovatively-designed products coming out of this region, particularly in Cambodia. It is true that the Smateria bags are Italian-designed but the materials used are all common to Cambodia and are put together by Khmer staff. The staff learn a new way of using these materials that was probably not familiar to them before and they can now assist Elisa in her designs. It is also true that given the lack of resources in Cambodia, you can see that people know how to recycle – I’ve seen all sorts of tools fashioned from recycled materials for everyday use. Yes, the colours are striking – very bright – you’ll never lose your overnight bag on the baggage carousel at the airport! And you’re right durable too – the ‘smoto’ range that has been made from recycled motorbike seats and has probably been used for the past 10 years or so – you can imagine how many bottoms it’s seen in that time – and it’s still going strong, now in the form of a messenger bag!”

Crocheting Recycled Black Garbage bags

G-bag Cantata

nepchin: “so HQW have brought them to Australia, if one is interested, what options are there to get involved with Smateria’s line of products in Australia”

Sarah: “That’s right, once I discovered these amazing products I worked with Jennifer and Elisa and with HQW to realise the possibility of bringing these products to Australia. We are beginning to get the word out there and now have 3 stockists all in my hometown of Adelaide surprisingly enough and many more stockists on the horizon. If you have a shop and would like to stock these products, please get in touch with us. Or you can buy a limited collection direct from us online at www.smateria.com.au.”

nepchin: “ok great, if anyone is interested, you’d better get on to it quick!, Sarah, thanks for joining us at nepchin.com and for your hard work to bring Smateria to Australia, we would otherwise never have got to know about this secret brand. The Techno bag has caught my eye, so I’m going to have a closer look.”

Smoto bag - Grunge Jass - Techno

Sarah: “That’s great – The Techno bag is a really durable laptop bag that comes in three sizes and a fantastic colour range – great for travelling. There’s also the Ye-Ye which can perfectly fit an ipad or kindle in it.”

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Now you don’t have to go all the way to Cambodia to get some cool hand-made pieces from common and recycled materials. To get your items or to look for a bag or accessory from Smateria, you can contact Sarah at Smateria or Post a need on nepchin.com to reach her.


Prototyping with Manufacturers in China – nepchin

In this blog post, nepchin is delighted to talk to Anthony, China Trade Consultant, who talks about prototyping in China with Chinese manufacturers. It covers some of the things to look out for when mass-producing, different ways foreign companies have engaged their Chinese counter parts and also the quality one can expect. Read on.

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nepchin: “Hi Anthony! Yeah, so tell us, you’ve got a lot of experience around prototyping in China, can you tell us if I was to get something done in China, what kind of challenges would we face?”

Anthony: “Well it depends on what kind of prototyping. Some industries have greater technical aspects to their product and require more thought out Quality control systems and Quality assurance mechanisms in the design and prototyping stage to ensure they meet certain programs they need to abide to. Smaller to medium companies from industries with less technical products may need to utilise the same structure in a less stringent perspective.”

nepchin: “so it can be quite complex to get a prototype done? Can you give us an example of something you’ve done in your experience and what kind of issues you have had to overcome?”

Anthony: “Prototyping isn’t complex. Prototyping a product for procurement that can be mass-produced within the required specifications is the issue. This is where the difference between designing a product and creating it for mass production creates issues that need to be overcome during the prototype stage. For example, we had to create a solid stainless steel structure which required a lot of welding in particular joints which were to be unseen. This was impossible as we could not hand polish those welded joints into the specified grading. This is where revisions on specifications are made and it becomes a time consuming activity meeting legal requirements in regards to authenticating documentation / maintaining agreed project lead times / customer satisfaction when projects are controlled in one country and procured in another.”

nepchin: “Based on you experience then, how have you found foreign companies in the way they have worked with Chinese manufacturers?”

Anthony: “They tend to have a local representative or a mobile representative. Depending on the project, visitations to uphold QC and QA requirements are planned out for pre-production, the first week of production and the Final stage production. Some may liaise with a China agent, but this generally depends on the foreign companies’ relationship with their local representative and how strong their working relationship is. China is pretty accessible via business visa’s so it’s not much of a drama organising flights in.”

nepchin: “So, how have you found the level of manufacturing quality?”

Anthony: “You get what you pay for?! I found that the issue is usually something that has been “lost in translation”. Often, the QA officers involved, local or foreign, are under considerable pressure and deadlines and this has affected their views on what meets specification and what doesn’t? These are hard decisions to make on-site as the balance between rectification on-site / overseas and costs are juggled around to see which has the least burden.”

nepchin: “Anthony thanks for your time today, it’s been great to get a perspective on someone on the ground in China who’s done it before.”

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If you looking to get manufacturing done in China, Post a need on nepchin to reach Anthony.


Sourcing from China – nepchin

Sourcing from China can be an incredibly complex challenge especially trying to obtain commercial quantities that are critical to your inventory or supply chain. Who do you work with? How do you know you will get what you asked for? How do you come to a deal? Importing from China can be tricky. We thought it might be useful to share some of the on the ground experiences that ChinaFind have put together in a series of articles to help you source in China.

They have seven articles at the moment that covers:
ChinaFind’s Guide to Sourcing from China Part 1
Sourcing Guide Part 2: How to Find a Manufacturer in China
Sourcing Guide Part 3: How to Screen and Verify Chinese Manufacturers
Sourcing Guide Part 4: How to Negotiate with a Chinese Manufacturer
Sourcing Guide Part 5: How to Oversee and Control Production in China
Sourcing Guide Part 6: How to Arrange Quality Inspections in China
Sourcing Guide Part 7: How to Arrange Shipping and Customs Brokerage from China

There’s also a handy glossary as well.
Glossary of Shipping Terms for Importing from China

It’s an interesting to read which gives you a feel for the different dimensions involved in sourcing and importing from China. Feel free to get in touch with the guys at ChinaFind or Post a need on nepchin for them to source for you.


Embroided Patches and Badges from China – nepchin

Just recently, nepchin got some embroided patches made by Wuhan Shifa Embroidery in China. Very exciting, nepchin’s first proper piece of designed marketing material to help promote nepchin.com . It’s pretty hard and time consuming to find someone both cost competitive, trustable and reliable especially from overseas, so we are quite delighted with how it has turned out.

Our experience with Shifa has been pretty good from the outset. We got their contact details from a friend who also had something similar made, I sent them an email with the nepchin.com logo and our tag line “what do you need?” in a pdf format and said I wanted the same kind of patch made with questions on delivery, quantities, timeframes and costs.

nepchin logo

I found them pretty prompt with their email replies. The quote was 500 pieces for USD$270 delivered to Sydney Australia. After we made payment on paypal, they made a test one and sent us a picture of it which had the option of 5 x 10cm or 3 x 10cm. We chose the 5 x 10cm one.

nepchin patch test

After we confirmed which one, we received an email to confirm they were sent by registered mail. After we received them, we’ve taken pictures of them on whatever they could be stuck to. Might have gone a little overboard but quite exciting and little bit of fun. We like the patches because they have a sticky back and can be stuck to anything and are simple to use. Much like the ones used by poker sites and allows the person to wear whatever they want which you can’t if you have company t-shirts caps and t-shirts.

If you need to get patches done and at an affordable price, we are happy to suggest the people at Wuhan Shifa Embroidery or you can post a need at nepchin to reach them. Thanks to Queenie from Shifa Embroidery for helping us with our patches, we love them!

nepchin logo on laptop

nepchin logo on laptop

nepchin logo on back of phone

nepchin logo on back of phone

nepchin logo on a mug

nepchin logo on a mug

nepchin logo on a laptop bag

nepchin logo on a laptop bag