Lots of Buttons is a Hong Kong-based vertical e-commerce site that sells — you guessed it — lots of buttons. Founder Ken Lee initially founded Lots of Buttons (with the URL LotsofButtons.com) as a fashion site in 2011. But his investor Jong Lee advised him to sell buttons instead to maximize the impact of his URL. So Ken did, and Jong invested.
It was relaunched as a buttons-only e-commerce site on June 4, providing a great way to sort and search for the right buttons based on colors, types, size, shape, and design. I’m certainly no button expert but it seems like a really convenient way to find the perfect buttons quickly. To date, Ken says that his startup’s had over 3,000 orders. When asked about competitors, Ken said that none are online and they are more like the brick-and-mortar stores like Michael’s, Joann, and Hobby Lobby. He told me:
We are different because no one can carry the amount of styles we do in one shop. It is impossible, to do so would be a logistical and operations nightmare and money suck. Shipping from Hong Kong is fast and cheap, and it’s same price and speed as shipping with the US.
I did a quick ‘buttons’ search on Google. True enough, Lots of Buttons ranked fourth on the search result page. There isn’t any other button-only e-commerce site listed on the first two search result pages for ‘buttons,’ so Lots of Buttons is definitely in a good place. When asked about future plans, Ken told me:
We would like to expand to other product categories, wholesaling, as well as other features in our website. Two features we would really be keen on after getting an angel round investment is to offer people who buy our buttons and crafts materials the ability to post back on our site to sell it.
This is similar to what Etsy and Ebay does. Another feature we are contemplating is to allow fashion designers and producers to view our buttons on garments in a software based tool on our site. This way, they can see what looks good on a shirt or dress, and simply add those buttons to cart and check out.
Ken also told me that the gross margins for buttons are amazing, and could reach anywhere from 500 to 3,600 percent if he gets them straight from the factories in Qiaotou, in Zhejiang Province which is China’s global button capital and makes over 60 percent of the buttons in the world.