Monday, August 29, 2011

Questions For King

A few months ago we posted an interview with the founder and CEO of KEH Camera, King Grant Jr. (see it here) and we presented the opportunity for our readers to ask King their own questions. Today, King is answering a few of those submitted questions for you.


1. What is the most rare or interesting item that you have bought or sold in all your years at KEH?

Each month, and sometimes each week, I see something I've never seen before. From a money stand point, it would be a Nikon I. I traveled each week buying cameras for over 7 years. Several years ago while in a large city, I had visited all of the regular places and had three hours to spare. I got the yellow pages out and called a small store I had not yet visited. I asked if they had any used cameras for sale. They said they had a rare Nikon I with the instruction book. I called a source that confirmed a selling price of $35,000. To negotiate my deal, they said that the instruction book might be worth $3,000! By the time I got to the store, they raised their price by $1,000, as there were actually two instruction books. We sold the camera and the extra book.


2. Do “sell it yourself” sites such as eBay and Craigslist pose challenges to KEH? How do you differentiate yourself from sites such as these?

These "sell it yourself" sites have helped the market and KEH. They are not for everyone. To sell one item may not be difficult, but to sell an outfit can be more trouble. Not every buyer wants the same lenses. There is no consistent grading scale, and warranty is also another issue. Sometimes sellers or buyers do not want people coming to their house or meeting in a parking lot. We see more people opting to sell and buy from us than ever before. Also, we have a much wider selection to offer that's not available anywhere else, all on one site.


3. What was the biggest challenge in the initial start-up phase of the company? Did your family and friends support you?

The biggest challenge was finding and keeping good people. People told me that it was great that I was "doing my hobby". They also said "where will you find enough cameras to grow or even maintain a business?". I found that it was only profitable to listen to wise counsel. When I needed a name for the business, my children were embarrassed that the name I choose was their first initials. But they have supported me ever since the doors opened and I am thankful for that and them too.