My time at CXi Software

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I left my job at Myer in June this year. Took some time off work and went overseas to visit family. Once I got back, immediately jumped back into job hunting and landed on the Senior Web Developer role with CXi Software within 2 weeks.

During my time at CXi, I rebuilt the company’s website using their web building tool, WIX.

WIX is a WYSIWYG online platform that allows users to build websites without the need for coding. However, you are limited to using their templates.

Pros is that all elements you use have already been tested, therefore, there is no need for worry with display issues and whether things will work or not.

Cons is that I find the WIX system is quite laggy, maybe due to the way their code is being processed and served. Especially when you try to use video background, the site will freeze. It is also known that saving in different browser will result in misplace of items in various position.

Once I had finished rebuilding the website within a week, I was immediately placed into a project that the team has been working on for the past year. My role in the team was then shifted from being a technical lead to a management lead.

I oversaw the project, gave UX advice, find blockage and managed the team to ensure everyone had work to do and made sure blockage are addressed. During the time I also worked alongside the managers to identify issues with the project and in the team. Many companies will have similar issues such as communication, blockage not being addressed, ongoing changes back and forth, and projects dragging on for too long. To resolve problems like these, I introduced daily scrum meetings so team transparency can be at its peak and that previous day’s blockage will be addressed and I can delegate tasks accordingly to team members. A Task list was also introduced to keep track of hours and workload to avoid team members from working overtime and coming in during weekends.

Feedback received are all positive. There is a significant change in the atmosphere and team members find its much easier to keep track of where things are at with written records so data don’t get lost over conversation and we were able to finish part of the project within 2-3 periods of time instead of spending 6 months like before.

Overall, the experience at CXi has been very rewarding. It allowed me to utilize my skills as a developer, pick up new knowledge in application development, try new application such as Microsoft Visual Studio and tap into the management realm where I would like to see myself spend more time in the future. The team is extremely talented and management are very welcoming to suggestion and changes ๐Ÿ™‚

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CXi Software is an Australia-based financial services software company, founded in 2013 as a custom software development company. Based on our initial success in developing robust, modern applications, in 2015 we expanded to produce and deliver a unique suite of distributed applications that are specifically designed for the broader Australian wealth management industry.

6 months into running my own toystore

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Hi All,

Just wanted to make a post about my experience on running a toy store and having to work full-time during the day. 6 months ago I started an online toy store called JToys. JToys specialises in selling Japanese anime products, featuring animes such as Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Gundam, Digimon, One Piece, Naruto and more. We sell a range of items varying from trading cards, plush toys, figurines, stationary and construction models.

Why did I start JToys?
It was out of a few reasons. One was I felt my previous job was getting too repetitive and it lacked the challenge and freshness of working on new things. Another reason was for making my childhood dream come true – I’ve always wanted to open my own toy store! Finally, just wanted to find alternative method to generate more income (who doesn’t want this?).

I could have started other things instead of JToys, but I thought to myself, “right, I love anime, and i’m a web developer and i’ve been in retail for 5 years, what can I do with my skills and experience? How about starting an online business?”.

“right, I love anime, and i’m a web developer and i’ve been in retail for 5 years, what can I do with my skills and experience? How about starting an online business?”.

So there it was, by using my existing skills and experience, I was able to startup the website with ease and in a short time get it up and running. I’ve also saved a lot of cost cause I didn’t need to go through companies for this (generally, a website can range from low thousands to high thousands).

Then the final issue came…. where are my products?

Luckily, during the time a friend introduced me to attend a toy fair that had a huge range of Australia’s toy distributors around, so I was able to go make some contacts and placed my first order as a business. On the other hand, i’ve also reached out to overseas distributors and shops for items that are not available in Australia.

Once the site was up and running with loads of products, the next question is… what about marketing?

I reached out to Google at first, for Google Adwords, but after spending $2000 with them with little to few returns, i’ve decided to stop using them and focused mainly on Facebook Ad. Facebook Ad seems to provide a better control on how my budget can be spent and because my targeted audience are highly active on social media platforms, Facebook was a better method for me to promote my business. A little recommendation, know your audience, figure out where they’re most active so you can effectively spend your marketing cost, especially when you’ve got a budget like me.

“Know your audience, figure out where they’re most active so you can effectively spend your marketing cost, especially when you’ve got a budget like me”

So aside from running a website, I ended up running also a Facebook page and Instagram. Recently i’ve also started running a Pinterest page.

It’s easy to get people to click into your website, but how can you get them to make a purchase? One thing Myer taught me is the importance of customer service and feedback, which is why i’ve focused a lot on giving the best customer experience to my customers and encouraged them to leave feedbacks on our Facebook page. This in return gave confidence to potential customers who just happened to land on our website via Google search.

So then my Facebook fan base grew, went from 10s to 100s and now i’ve got nearly 1000 fans on our Facebook page. I feel like this is an achievement, but not enough. One teaching I believe is that people who are satisfied ceased to grow and improve.

“people who are satisfied ceased to grow and improve”

So then I started my first “shopping experience” via our JToys Whatsapp group where I bring a group of our fans to Osaka Japan with me and they shopped with me live. It was an amazing experience and people had fun, would love to try it again sometime in the future ๐Ÿ™‚

After that, it was time to start looking into new ways to keep my fans interested. So I started looking into exhibitions.

Reasons why exhibitions is good:

  • It can help bring exposure to the brand
  • A good idea to put a face to the company for those who might be wondering who JToys is
  • It was also a good way to get rid of some stocks to make room for new ones
  • A good learning experience in dealing with customers face to face.

During research, I found Melbourne itself has more than 4 anime festivals a year. But due to being a small startup with a limiting budget, I ended up joining just 1 of them.

JToys had its first exhibition at the end of August at Animaga. It was a 2 days stall that costed a couple hundred dollars, and it turned into a success with $7000 worth of sales! Promotion that was done leading up to it involved flyer/coupon printing that were distributed to those who made purchases on our website during the month of August and we used our social media platforms to promote the event. It was nice to see some of our fans actually came to say HI and it was a form of encouragement to me.

It was nice to see some of our fans actually came to say HI and it was a form of encouragement to me.

Now that trips to Japan and local exhibitions are over, whats next? Follow us on our Facebook and you’ll find out ๐Ÿ˜‰

Website: http://www.jtoys.com.au
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jtoysaus
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/jtoysaus

How I started JToys

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It has always been a childhood dream to have my own toystore. One day, I asked myself, how can I achieve my dream whilst working fulltime? After pondering for an afternoon, it hit me that I can actually utilize the skills i’ve obtained through my web development years.

So this is how I started my own ecommerce websiteโ€ฆ

With this project, I used WordPress as the CMS platform, since it was easy to manage and quite user-friendly when it comes to implementing extra features. Woocommerce was installed to handle my products and payment. I made my site responsive as most people view websites on their mobile devices rather than on desktop. Although the WordPress already had most of the functions available, but I had to customize their javascript template to better suit my need (specifically, product detailed page product tab displays, etc).

Design wise, I designed my own homepage banners and front page assets. Also used online tools to help compress files to keep page load time minimum.

To track sales and records, I installed Google Analytics, Adwords and Shopping. My SEO/Adwords training from my previous job superbly aided me with the setup and knowledge from this area.

Social media was another factor I considered since my main audiences are teens and young adults. I had Instagram and Facebook setup and used Facebook Ads to drive traffic to my page and website. The experience working with retail significantly helped in coming up with ideas for my marketing strategy and campaigns.

By the time the site was setup for 3 months with significant number of fans on the Facebook page, I decided it was time to build my database. So using my EDM development skills, I installed Mailchimp to my website and started growing my database and planned to start sending EDMs to my subscribers in August.

In summary, what was involved:

Programs:
Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator for homepage banner & artwork design.
Adobe Dreamweaver for coding

Coding Language:
HTML/CSS, PHP, Javascript

CMS:
WordPress

Web Tools:
JPEGmini & TinyPNG for lossless artwork compression

EDM:
Mailchimp

File Transfer:
Transmit

Social Media:
Instagram, Facebook

Tracking:
Google Analytics, Adwords, and Shopping

JToys website URL: http://www.jtoys.com.au

CCC – website rebranding

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Early June, I received a freelance job to re-brand the Chinatown Cinema Corporation website. I have always been involved with the company in their monthly responsive EDM build & deployments and the building and maintenance of their website. Recently they’ve approached me with a redesign of their website.

Some of the noticeable change are as follow:
Header & Footer colour and layout change
Homepage redesign
Product detailed page tab adjustment
Implementation of subscription button and linking back to the Mailchimp database
Responsive front page elements
Changing variable products to include “section” selection for ticket pricings
Full-width homepage banner

MYER Bourke Street Mall

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Aside from being a web developer, I am also a LEGO enthusiast

This is a moc i’ve built to replicate the Myer Bourke Street building. The lettering was inspired by the Modular buildings like the Petshop, Detectives office, and Palace cinema. I’ve also added a custom LED light to give it an extra kick. I tried to build it with a LEGO Architecture style so the base is black with mid grey plate.

The most challenging part of the build would be the MYER text ontop of the building.

View more photos here.