BLU products, an American mobile phone brand, has opened a store in Trinidad and Tobago.
BLU, which stands for Bold Like Us, is a Miami-based company that rebrands cheap cell phones made by other manufacturers and sells them at lower prices than some of the more popular brands.
The man behind this business is Mikhail Singh, 34, who is a full service bmobile dealer.
In an interview with Express Business on Friday, Singh said he sold a wide range of phones to MovieTowne’s bmobile store, Invaders Bay, for three years. But in the first quarter of 2021, he decided to take a quantity of BLU phones to test the demand for the product.
“It was a great idea that I don’t regret as the volume of sales on the phones was exponential and I realize that we will be able to serve more customers once an exclusive store is established in Trinidad and Tobago.
“When we did the count for the month, 48 and 58 BLU phones were sold, while Samsung and Apple phones were between 25 and 30, so I decided to contact the manufacturer of the phone and that’s it. that the discussions have started. In March, we signed the agreement to become the only English speaking Caribbean country to have a fully accessorized BLU store.
The owner of the company explained that what drove the initiative was the shortage of phones around the world due to the pandemic and how difficult it was to get in touch with other brands because they are based in Asia, unlike BLU which is based in Miami.
“It made it easier to do business with them and put their phones and tablets in the store much more easily. I then decided that the Port of Spain area would be a good place to start a store, due to the foot traffic, so I spoke with the manager of the Aboutique mall and got a space. When the store was about to open in April, the second lockdown took place in an attempt to curb the spread of Covid-19, ”he said.
Singh noted that his fiancee Katrina Fisken, who is the director of his company, was instrumental in making the store colorful and welcoming to customers.
“BLU is a fun brand so that’s what we wanted to represent in the store and have that modern feel as well. I think some people underestimate the power of the brand as well, but the specs are just as good as Samsung and other brands. Customers can get a phone from $ 225 up to $ 1,850.
The BLU store opened on August 16, the same day the retail industry was given the green light to reopen. Singh said the first week of sales was surprising.
“It exceeded our expectations, as we expected to sell 50 phones from Monday to Saturday when we are doing our business. However, it has doubled. This is good for the head office to see the great potential of the set-up. of an exclusive store in Trinidad.
An important factor determining the market response, Singh says, is that purchasing power in T&T has been reduced due to job losses and other factors.
“It makes having a budget phone to meet a large market very necessary during the pandemic. Customers also buy tablets and phones so that their children can enroll in school online, ”Singh said.
What he also noted is that some local businesses have purchased BLU phones and tablets to distribute to children in need, so they can participate in online education.
When asked if he was planning on opening more branches, Singh quickly answered “yes”. This branch will be located at the Long Circular Mall and is expected to open the first week of October.
He also plans to open a kiosk in the other half of Aboutique Shopping Center, across Frederick Street, where repairs to devices and tablets will be done.
“It will also increase employment, which is essential right now for many. With the stores of the Boutique Mall, then of Long Circular and the warehouse of El Socorro, it would be ten people who would have found a job.
It’s not a bed of roses that starts the store during a global pandemic, Singh said. To open the store, he had to take out a loan but was refused by a commercial bank, due to the current climate.
“The bank did not want to risk this chance when the brand was already known in T&T. They didn’t know how a full store would fare in these tough economic times. I then went to a private financial institution, which facilitated the loan. I guess when the bank sees the store’s financial performance, it won’t hesitate next time.
“With the cost of all commodities in the world doubling, we also need to be very careful about how already currency-strapped currencies are spent. “
The business owner who has worked in retail for 12 years began his journey at the Fan Club, located at Trincity Mall.
He thanked his father, retired journalist Valentino Singh, for pushing him to venture into different retail brands.
He indicated that the brand also offers a working phone, which is a phone with buttons suitable for older people, who don’t like touchscreen phones.
“These phones are doing well in the market as many older heads still feel comfortable with button phones and most have indicated that they only want a device to make and receive calls. The brand meets everyone’s needs.