IROBOT ROOMBA 880

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In science fiction, robots are usually attempting to take over the world and kill us all. In real life, it turns out they can be rather useful for cleaning the lounge carpet. Terminator – of dust!

The iRobot Roomba 880 is the current king of the robotic vacuums, but is it any good and how does it compare to a standard vacuum?

What is that thing against the wall?

The Roomba certainly doesn’t look like vacuum. The puck-shaped disc is approximately the size of a car’s steering wheel in diameter and the height of a mug.

On the top are four buttons and a handle, with a big central “clean” power button and four other buttons with which to set the clock, cleaning schedule, return the robot to its dock, or concentrate on a single, troublesome spot. Hasta la vista, dog hair…

Programming the robot for a schedule is easy. Select the day, input a time and press “OK”. As long as the clock is set correctly, the Roomba will trundle off on a cleaning run and return to base when it has finished, or run out of battery.

In testing, I experienced a couple of issues with the clock going wrong, once caused by a power surge, and once when the Roomba got trapped in a room and ran out of battery. It lost time when it was recharged and I failed to notice, which meant it turned on in the middle of the night and woke everyone up.

The Roomba 880 is capable of cleaning several rooms on one charge, and will spend a maximum of 25 minutes in each room before moving on. Two “Virtual Wall Lighthouses” are included in the box. They simulate a wall in doorways, preventing the robot from passing into the next room until it has finished in the first, and then help it find its way back to the charging base.

Once the robot has finished cleaning, or when the bin is full or the battery runs low, it will automatically return to the charging dock.

Disappointingly, on its first outing the robot doesn’t clean as well as a human with a decent, ordinary vacuum cleaner. But Roomba is designed to clean once a day rather than once a week, which means the first run takes a while because the bin is small and has to be emptied several times.

After a couple of days the bin only needs emptying once or twice a week, depending on the floor type and size of the cleaning area. In a medium-sized two-bedroom flat, I ended up emptying the bin and cleaning the filters once a week.

The spinning bush and central suction band do a solid job of cleaning even the edges of a room. Some spots that Roomba can’t reach will need to be cleaned with a handheld vacuum – including stairs – but overall the cleaning is quite impressive.

The 880 also comes with a remote control, which can be used to steer it towards a particularly dirty patch. It can also be used to steer the robot away if it gets stuck under something, though generally it can get under most furniture without an issue.

If the brush gets tangled up with cables or loose paper, the main suction channel can be removed and cleaned by releasing a few screws or clips – a two minute job.

Maintenance

The drop sensors, the bin, the air filters and the front wheel need regular maintenance: iRobot recommends once a week, but you can probably get away with less than that. The air filters need cleaning by just tapping on the side when the robot’s bin is emptied.

The iRobot Roomba 880 is a much better vacuum cleaner than you’d expect. As a robot it does what it says on the tin – cleans the floor when you set it to and returns to base afterwards. It requires little in the way of maintenance and just gets on with the job.

But it does take on a life of its own. I have become surprisingly attached to it, like a little robotic cleaning pet. When it has caught and screwed up bits of paper or got stuck somewhere, I’ve felt more sorry for it than annoyed. I’ve then made a special effort to keep things off the floor, which is all round a good thing.

Whether the 880 is worth the cost over a traditional vacuum cleaner comes down to how much you dislike vacuuming. Cheaper Roomba models are available which are more in line with the cost of a traditional cleaner, plus it probably works out cheaper than hiring a human cleaner.

For those that are very tidy and constantly clean, the Roomba probably isn’t for you, but for the rest of us, robotic vacuum cleaners are finally worth buying. I’m even thinking about buying another one for upstairs.

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How to chose flashlight

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There are some tools that elicit attachment and necessity. The most obvious of choices remains the flashlight. Every man should essentially carry a torch with him. But why lug an extra piece of gadgetry around when the odds of needing it are pretty slim? Think about it.

Would you chance it stepping outside without an umbrella if the forecast projects thunderstorms? What about heading to an outdoor music festival minus a portable charging solution to juice your iPhone? Answer: Preparation. One can never be too ready for the worst-case scenario, which makes owning a flashlight substantially important for just about all aspects of our lives.

Bad weather. Outdoor navigation. Power outages. Tactical defense. Flashlights can become adaptive to our lifestyle. They serve as guidance instruments for the blind and lost, as well as the ultimate armament or search gadget. The benefits of having one in the DeWalt toolbox or on your keychain seem limitless, which makes it more difficult to choose the perfect torch. Just like shopping for the perfect cord-cutting device or smartphone, it requires some extensive research and mechanical expertise.

No need to pull out the How To For Dummies edition for flashlights. We’ve broken down the technical jargon for simpler interpretation. To get you started, we advise looking over some of these critical elements before thinking about what to stash in your Amazon cart:

Understand that learning what you want in a flashlight in just half the battle. It’s all about choosing the right type from here. Let’s get you familiarized with some of the different models out there.

  • Digital: Otherwise known as smart flashlights, these tend to advertise more advanced features like adaptive focusing technology, digital displays, and other cool add-ons.
  • EDC: Everyday carry flashlights are portable enough to transport for routine use.
  • Rechargeable: Basic in definition, these feature a built-in battery or USB cord for laptop or wall charging.
  • Tactical: Mostly used in conjunction with a firearm to assist with target identification or as a self-defense weapon.
  • Utility: Lights that are serviceable for hands-free operation or provide other special attributes fall under this category.

This should narrow things down. Sorta. Truth is, some flashlights bear favorable traits that can place them across multiple categories. Don’t panic, as we’re leading you through the shadows by assembling this vast collection of the best flashlights money can buy. Better yet, we even broke them down by category to streamline the selection process. Shine the spotlight below.

  • Aesthetics: Never settle for something flimsy or fragile, no matter the unbeatable discount. Desire a flashlight with some heft on the design end, something military spec-certified to meet shockproof and waterproof standards or ruggedly built to withstand tough falls. (for example: SUNJACK CAMPLIGHT )
  • Battery: Disposable, rechargeable, or renewable? Each has its own advantages, with disposables generating a higher voltage output for higher brightness, whereas rechargeables regenerate power through a cable connection or AC/DC outlet to save cost in the long term. Renewables tend to come in built-in battery form and are energized by a hand crank or solar panel.
  • Beam distance: Measured in meters, the beam determines how far light shines.
  • Convenience: Every gadget serves a purpose. Whether to find a tent nail lost in the dirt or using it as a baton, decide what makes for the most accommodating option to keep on hand. Just be sure it supports enough density and light to aid in troubled times.
  • Light output: This is measured by lumen, the total quantity of visible light emitted by a source. The higher the lumen rate, the brighter the light output.
  • Modes: Most models will support two or more modes ranging through low, medium, high, and maximum. Advanced flashlights are known to carry special modes like a strobe or SOS feature. More is always better, though a single setting can be sufficient for basic tasks.
  • Runtime: Know how many hours of light you’re getting from the battery. Most manufacturers are generous enough to share these specs and the actual runtimes for each functioning mode.
  • Size and weight: All a matter of preference here. Bigger flashlights are normally heavier and guarantee extended runtimes, while smaller ones are more mobile with shorter runtimes. Choose wisely.

A buffet of knowledge to consume, we know. Obviously not every flashlight can live up to each and every bullet point. Still, the odds of finding one that can represent more than half of these factors are incredibly high — it just might come at a higher price.

Calculating the required size for your solar power generator

There are various ways to calculate the required size for your solar power system. For this project, I’m using a quick and simple method for working out what we need. This is fine for a simple project such as this. For bigger projects, however, you’ll want to do this in a lot more detail. I cover solar sizing in a lot more detail in my book, Solar Electricity Handbook, but for now, for this project, we’ll keep things simple.

The size of the various components depends on the amount of power you need to generate and the length of time you want to be able to run your generator for.

A typical power cut lasts for less than one hour, and is very unlikely to last more than four hours. During that time, most households would like to be able to power their fridge/freezer and lighting. This is well within the capabilities of even a basic solar powered emergency generator.

Depending on the amount of power you want to generate will depend on the size of the components you are going to require.

Small solar generator batteriesBased over a 24 hour day, the typical household uses an average of between 800w-1kW per hour. For emergency only use, most households require between 75-200w per hour in order to provide lighting and essential power for items like a fridge/freezer.

As a general rule of thumb, for every 100watt-hours of power you require, you require 10 amp/hour of battery power. So if you require 200 watts of electricity for four hours, you will require an 80 amp/hour battery.

When looking for a battery, you are looking for a lead acid leisure battery (sometimes called caravan batteries). These look very similar to car batteries, but have a different chemical and mechanical make-up. Unfortunately, you cannot use a car battery for this job – car batteries are designed never to be fully discharged and will fail if discharged in this way. These batteries are available from battery specialists, caravanning shops and most motoring shops, including Halfords.

Once you have worked out the size of your battery, you need to calculate the size of solar panel you need to charge it up. The size of the panel will depend on how often you plan to use your generator, how large the battery is and how much sunlight the panel will receive.

If a solar panel is left outside in a south facing position at an approximate 45° angle to the sky, it is likely to produce around 2 times it’s quoted hourly rating per day during the winter, and between 4-8 times it’s quoted hourly rating per day during the summer.

If you want to be more accurate, you can use the solar irradiance calculator and the solar angle calculator on this site in order to get a better idea of how much power you can expect to generate and the best angle to place your solar panels at.

You will want your solar power generator to recharge fairly quickly so that it can be fully charged when it is next required. However, if you get too large a solar panel, you’ll be paying far more than you otherwise need and wasting most of the power that you generate.

A fair compromise is normally to allow 10-15 days for the solar power generator to recover from a complete battery discharge. As you are probably only ever going to be using partial charges from the battery, this is a worst case scenario. You can always supplement the solar panel with an external power source to top up the batteries quicker if necessary.

To calculate the size of the solar panel you require, take the amp/hour rating of the battery and multiply this by the number of volts (normally 12). Divide this number by 2 (hours per solar charge per day in winter) and divide this number by the number of days you expect the solar panel to have fully recharged a battery. Then multiply the final figure by 1.1 to take into account losses in the system. The number you have left is the size of the solar panel – in watts – which you need to buy.

Example:

A 12v 80 amp/hour battery stores 960 watt-hours of electricity (12 x 80 = 960).

960 / 2 hours winter charge = 480 watt-hours

480 / 15 days = 32 watt-hours

32 x 1.1 = 35 watt solar panel

Power Inverters

Power inverterPower Inverters take the 12v voltage from your batteries and convert it to a 240v AC power supply. They are available in various different power outputs from 75 watts to 3kW and it is important to make sure you do not overload them.

Power Inverters can get extremely hot in operation, so if you are planning to build them into a case, it is important to make sure they have adequate space around them so they do not over heat.

When buying a power inverter, it is worth buying one that includes a low-voltage cut out. This means that when the batteries run low, the inverter switches off rather than totally draining the batteries. Draining lead acid batteries completely can damage or destroy your batteries, so this is best avoided.

Power inverters are available from camping and caravan shops, car accessory outlets and most electrical wholesalers. They are commonly sold to motorists who want a 240v mains outlet in their car for running laptop computers.

How do I measure how much power my appliances use?

You can measure your power requirements using a plug-in energy monitor. These are plugged into a mains socket and the appliance you wish to measure is then plugged into the energy monitor. Power drain is then monitored and shown as an average on the built-in display.

If you don’t have a plug-in energy monitor, you can find out how many watts many of your appliances use by reading the power information often printed on the back of them, or by checking the output on power adaptors.

Often these figures are shown in volts and amps. A transformer for a laptop PC, for instance, may have a power output of 19.5v and a current of 4.5 amps. Multiplying these two figures together (volts x amps) will tell you how many watts are used per hour – in this case, my laptop consumes a maximum of 88 watts/hour of power.

It is difficult to produce a table listing all the likely electrical items you will have in a home and provide an exact list of their power requirements: power requirements vary dramatically depending on make and model. Highly efficient products can consume as little as one tenth of the power of a less energy efficient model. However, as a rough rule of thumb, here is a basic list:

Low energy light bulb
‘A’ rated Fridge
‘A’ rated Freezer
‘F’ rated Fridge/Freezer
Tumble Dryer
‘A’ rated Dishwasher
‘E’ rated Dishwasher
Laptop computer
Desktop PC with screen
24″ CRT television
15″ flat panel TV
32″ flat panel TV
Small microwave oven
Large microwave oven
Energy efficient vacuum cleaner
Vacuum cleaner
Fan heater
Hair dryer
Energy efficient kettle
Kettle
8-11 watts/hour
15-20 watts/hour
20-25 watts/hour
150-180 watts/hour
1200-1400 watts/hour
30-40 watts/hour
150-200 watts/hour
70-100 watts/hour
350-450 watts/hour
80-90 watts/hour
50-80 watts/hour
240-300 watts/hour
600 watts/hour
800 watts/hour
800 watts/hour
2000 watts/hour
2000 watts/hour
1400 watts/hour
750 watts/hour
2000 watts/hour

As can be seen, there are a lot of electrical appliances that we all have around the home that use large amounts of electricity. Where possible, these need to be avoided when planning for emergency power. Heating and cooking, for instance, are best done with gas rather than building a bigger and more expensive solar power generator to cope with peak demands. So you can use little power pack like GOAL ZERO GUIDE 10 PLUS or big gerenator, it depends on you.

Lighting

One of the main benefits of a generator is providing lighting. Rather than running 240v lights from a solar power generator, however, it is more efficient to run 12v low-energy lights as the power does not have to run through a 240v power inverter. 8w low energy light bulbs running from a 12v power source are as bright as their 240v counterparts.

Choosing a Solar PV Panel

There are two different types of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels – amorphous and crystalline.

Amorphous panels are the larger of the two panels, as they are the least efficient in direct sunlight. They do generate the most power in poor lighting conditions, however, and can even generate power from bright moonlight or streetlamps.

Crystalline panels are about 1/3rd of the size of amorphous panels, making them more portable and easier to integrate. Prices tend to be higher than amorphous panels, although it does pay to shop around as it is often possible to get them for a similar price.

Working to a budget – where to find cheap parts

With careful buying, a small solar power generator capable of providing 1/2kW of power can be built for under £100. Shopping around, sourcing components from Amazon or eBay and using second hand (but good quality) batteries can all help to keep costs to a minimum.

A good source for second hand batteries are used ex-UPS batteries that are sold on eBay regularly and tend to only go for a few pounds. Beware though – they can be very heavy, so watch for postage costs! Alternatively, you can buy very high capacity used lead acid batteries from fork lift truck maintenance companies. These batteries will be old and will have reached the end of their useful lives as fork lift truck batteries, but will still give years of useful life for providing emergency power for household use.

Another alternative is to buy a cheap, low cost UPS. This will provide you with a battery (usually not big enough to be of any real benefit, but it’s a start), a 240v power inverter and a means for recharging the battery from mains power if you need to recharge the batteries quickly.

These UPS cost less than £50 brand new (and are often available from around £20) and are usually capable of powering up to 10 amps (2400 watts) of mains electrical equipment – batteries permitting. If you can find a second hand one with a worn out battery, even better – these are often thrown away, or sell for a pittance on eBay.

The only other components you will need to buy are a bigger battery, a solar panel and a solar charge controller.

Maplin Electronics sell a solar lighting kit, comprising of a 5 watt solar panel, a solar charge controller and a 12v 9watt low-energy light bulbs and light fittings. List price is £79.99 but this is often discounted to around £60. Whilst the system does not include a battery, the equipment represents good value for money (at the discounted price) if you want to include lighting with your emergency generator.

Maplin also produce a 12v solar generator, including a case which is exceptionally good value for money. Unfortunately, this is not water resistant and has a low powered battery, which restricts its use. However, if you upgrade the battery and add a small 240v inverter, it could be useful for smaller applications and the cost of buying this generator and modifying it can be cheaper than buying the individual parts separately.

Assembling your Solar Powered Emergency Generator

In this article, I am assembling an entirely portable solar power generator using a second hand UPS I obtained free along with a few old lead-acid gel batteries that were being thrown out. Depending on the materials you use, you’re generator may look very different to mine, but ultimately will do the same thing.

Finding Pet Friendly Rentals in Cape San Blas, Florida

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The web is a key development on the planet of it. It’s created existence relatively simple, specifically for owners who’re looking for top quality Cape San Blas rentals pet friendly houses. However the looking component is just the initial step to locating the greatest pet friendly leases that will match your dog’s requirements. Trying to find a great quality rental is just a lengthy procedure which any pet owner must consider to be able to truly look for a rental that fits your dog’s requirements.

Searching for pet-friendly leases for example houses may become easy today using the development of the best info creation the globe has actually created – the web.

Owners who intend to move-out of the prior houses and intend to hire a location that may be regarded as pet-friendly are now able to see the web and look for such rental houses in the place of awaiting entries and ads in papers along with other printing advertisements or by requesting others concerning the area of such pet-friendly accommodations.

Getting the places of great pet-friendly rental houses is just the initial step of the entire research procedure. That’s since whenever you speak no more than getting a rental that fits your requirements, you then could be ready to obtain a long-list of handles from only one website that promotes pet-friendly accommodations. Envision just how many handles you’d have the ability to get soon after a couple of hours of checking in Cape San Blas Florida .

What we’re focusing. is finding TOP QUALITY leases that will match not only yours your dog’s requirements aswell. A passionate pet owner wouldn’t just depend on the handles he/she got from the web, nevertheless having these handles depend as only one move of the lengthy procedure for discovering top quality rental houses for you personally as well as your dog at Cape San Blas Beach.

Additional actions ought to be taken up to make sure that the area you’re likely to select suits precisely what you as well as your dog needs. You have to usually go into consideration to separate the handles you will be likely to visit or examine. In a nutshell you have to weed-out the locations that not match your flavor before you obtain a short-list of locations that just about focus on yours as well as your dog’s requirements. This task is extremely essential within the entire research procedure as this could decide the locations you will be visiting next in the long-list of handles that you simply have acquired.

Visiting everywhere inside your checklist might just tire you out and precisely occupy an excessive amount of your own time and work simply by visiting each one of these locations. Ads on the internet can in fact incorporate a brief explanation of the locations they promote, their costs as well as several images.

More often than not in addition they incorporate a telephone number for you really to contact in the event you have any extra concerns. You should use these like a foundation for the short-listing. You might contact the homeowners to get a brief meeting and have them concerning the details of the area. For example; when they possess a broad garden where you as well as your dog might perform on dog friendly beaches Florida, Panhandle, etc. After performing such, at this point you get yourself a short-list of one’s specific locations that you would need to visit next.

Your short-list may include 5-10 places based on just how much effort and time you’re prepared to invest in visiting these locations. In the minimum you ought to have 5 options in order to possess a broader variety of great options instead of simply by having two or three. Counting on images, explanations and about the telephone meeting with homeowners aren’t enough to ensure the location you’d be hiring could be ideal for the requirements of the animals.

You have to observe them firsthand to be able to make certain. Should you intend on visiting them all in only one-day, it is best to begin with the farthest away so you might save on fuel. This provides you with quite a great thought how long the journey might try get from your own prior house to another that will be an important dimension during shifting period.

Nevertheless ensure that before you go to the homeowners, provide a band or notice beforehand. Don’t depend just about the attendants and assistants. It’s better to talk to the homeowners or directors themselves because it could be them who learn about the locations best and also you may be ready to secure savings or extra advantages of them in Cape San Blas FL.

After visiting, then your period involves create an ultimate selection.

Ensure that you take-all the info you collected exists and accounted for, before buying a particular option.

By pursuing these basic steps, I really hope it will help you in having the ability to select a great, or even the highest quality pet friendly beaches FL for you personally as well as your dog.

Content Shifting!

Appreciate your house.

Local SEO Is a Perfect Match for These 4 Industries

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The landscape for search engine rankings is brutally competitive where geographically relevant searches are concerned. And, increasingly, the landscape is becoming pricier and less penetrable.

As a result, local SEO has become much more important to businesses across the board.

Around 80 percent of consumers look to search engines to find local information. By leveraging customer reviews and producing keyword-rich content pertaining to geographic location, relevance and the targeted audience, businesses can achieve more visibility without breaking the bank.

Businesses stand to benefit a lot from local SEO while adding value to their community. Let’s talk about four industries that should be making search engine optimization an integral part of their marketing operations.

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4 Keys to Creating the Video Ad Your Business Needs

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Video marketing pays. Just ask software giant Adobe. After a recent $540 million acquisition, the company now has two major video production products: Spark and TubeMogul.

Adobe is one of a number of big new players in the video production game, and the company isn’t just swinging for the fences with this acquisition but investing in advertising tools that target individual users and the SMB market. Its competitors are, too. According to the market research firm eMarketer, U.S. spending on mobile and desktop video advertising is skyrocketing and was on track to hit $10 billion by the end of 2016. Technology conglomerate Cisco predicted that streaming video would account for approximately 80 percent of internet traffic by  2019.

Entrepreneurs and small business owners can’t afford to ignore stats like these. The reason: Branded video is just as critical an asset as a company website, and perhaps even more important when it comes to reaching and engaging customers.

Why don’t you just tell the whole world?

Unlike your website, which can remain hidden in the depths of the internet for years with only some bot traffic and the occasional visit from a random Slovenian IP address, people will see your video if you want them to. Distributing a message is much easier via video than through other types of media, including your website.

According to a survey conducted by research firm Demand Metric, nearly three-quarters of B2B participating marketers reported that video gave them better conversion rates than any other type of content. On Facebook, the site Socialbakers has written, posting a video will give you, on average, 135 percent more organic reach than a photo.

Moreover, your website can’t target specific customers and conveniently appear as they browse their favorite websites. But, given all the online video distribution platforms available today, your video can.

Here’s the catch, though: If you’re going to create a company video and start posting it all over the web, it had better be good. With that in mind, here are four tips for creating that terrific branded video you want the right way.

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Forget Your Product: Start Selling ‘Solutions’ Instead

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Transforming your team’s approach to sales requires a shift from just pushing products to creating genuine connections with people. And those genuine connections don’t include fraud and mistrust.

Along those lines, consider how 2016 had its share of the shady sales practices that dog the business world. From the Wells Fargo case of opening fraudulent accounts, to the allegations surrounding Trump University throughout the recent election, multiple examples of unfair sales tactics made front-page headlines on a regular basis last year. And 2017 probably won’t be much different.

The latest dust-up? It’s hitting the pharmaceutical industry, where Alexion Pharmaceuticals has been accused of falsely inflating the success of its drug, Soliris, which now costs $455,000 for a year’s worth of treatment. This is the second class-action lawsuit to hit the company since November, and its stock market share has taken a serious hit.

While these examples may seem like extreme aberrations, the culture that incentivized them is not. Many companies have archaic systems and compensation strategies in place that drive sales teams to act in ways that aren’t in their customers’ best interest.

But sales don’t happen in a silo. All departments — from marketing to research and development to customer service — have to work with sales to create true value for customers.

And that’s a message that has to be spread, because the way the world does business today is changing at a rapid pace, and buyers’ expectations are changing right along with it. In turn, ill-equipped companies tend to respond to these increased pressures by doubling down on old practices and hoping for the best.

But that old way of operating is not sustainable. To achieve the aggressive sales growth that many companies require, sales departments need to stop trying to sell products and start selling solutions.

The difference a solution can make

At first, the difference between selling a product and selling a solution may not be apparent — after all, aren’t most products created to solve problems?

But most products are designed as one-size-fits-all solutions. Rather than working to fit each individual customer’s needs, products are usually made to be “good enough” for the widest audience. Solutions, however, combine products and services. They’re designed to help the customer every step of the way, ensuring that each customer’s unique problems are solved by the journey’s end.

Selling a solution requires that companies fundamentally change how they do business: Instead of pushing products, they must create genuine connections with other people. The solution-selling methodology requires lasting relationships with clients in which the goal is always to find new ways to help.

Solution selling in action

I’ve seen the benefits of this system firsthand, watching my sales representatives help customers unearth and comprehend their most compelling problems. Switching to this methodology has forced our company to take steps to recognize and end the cross-functional dysfunction that previously went unnoticed.

 

Making the transition isn’t easy, but the alternative can be disastrous. Here are four steps that will help smooth out that transition, turning a company stuck in the past into one ready for the future.

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Maxi-Cash puts its money on second-hand designer bags

Pawnbroking chain Maxi-Cash has added pre-owned designer handbags to its growing collection, as the firm diversifies its offerings to woo young working adults.

The bags dovetail nicely with its existing collection of pre-owned Longines and jewellery, and they now come under one umbrella known as LuxeStyle. Chief executive Ng Leok Cheng told The Straits Times yesterday: “We grouped these items together for a greater focus, and reorganised our people to have a group dedicated to handling LuxeStyle products.

“Existing players today only focus on one product, so we’re trying to put them together and create a family shopping experience.”

Pawnbroking chain MoneyMax is another player in the market for second-hand designer handbags, and it started dealing in them, along with accessories like wallets, last April.

LuxeStyle offers fashionistas more than 2,000 pre-owned items worth $6 million. They are carried in 13 Maxi-Cash stores now, with another six stores to do so by May.

Luxury watches from brands such as Panerai and Audemars Piguet start from $1,000, while bags start from $400, from brands like Coach and Chanel, for instance.

Maxi-Cash noted the average cost savings a shopper gets is at least 30 per cent. There is no doubt that demand for second-hand luxury goods is strong, said Mr Ng, which is why the Catalist-listed firm has invested in this area.

Maxi-Cash started selling such bags last December, and a few hundred were sold within a month.

Sales in the firm’s retail and trading business in pre-owned items rose 40.7 per centfor the year to Dec 31, compared with the same period a year earlier.

Said Mr Ng: “In terms of revenue, the retailing of pre-owned items is already a lot bigger than the pawning side. In terms of earnings, we’re hoping to see a half-half split from the two segments.

“If LuxeStyle takes off, we expect it to maybe even contribute more to the business.”

Maxi-Cash is constantly dreaming up ways to attract new shoppers, just like how its jewellery line LeGold started bringing in products late last year to cater to different ethnic groups here.

With LuxeStyle, Mr Ng said: “We’re trying to get a new customer base. If we can attract younger people and professionals, it’s easier for us to convince their parents to buy such items as gifts.

“People like to buy pre-owned items for themselves but shun them as gifts. There’s nothing wrong with giving these items – we offer quality products which are value for money.”