Despite Stanley Cheung‘s (張景淳) relative success playing Gong Yip in the TVB sitcom Come Home Love: Lo and Behold <愛 · 回家之開心速遞>, he had struggled to get by during the lowest point of his 17 years in the entertainment industry. Thankfully, the 39-year-old was able to fall back on his toy collection following his suffered singing career. From selling his figurines to offset his lack of income during trying times, Stanley turned his hobby of collecting toys into an investment.
“As long as you understand something’s value and operation process, you can make a profit off it,” Stanley expressed.
His Failed Singing Career
In 2003, he returned to Hong Kong from Canada to fulfill his dreams of becoming a singer and debuted as a member of the boy band, Cheer. However, his career as a singer was shortlived because his record company was dealing with a legal case at the time. With no income, Stanley decided to sell the many figurines that he had collected.
“Aside from singing, toys are my passion. When I was 18, I went to a toy store and learned that Chogokin toys are very valuable. The ones from the ‘80s can rise in value more than 10 times [the original price]. Toys that were once $100 Hong Kong dollars are now valued at HK$1,000. Some can even be sold at HK$5,000 to HK$10,000. I was interested in how valuable toys are. They also bring about a lot of childhood memories. Once you start buying, you can’t stop,” Stanley said.
With this knowledge, he made about HK$4,000 to HK$5,000 every month for one and a half years selling American and European figurines online. “Back then there weren’t Marvel movies yet, but there were already a lot of superhero figurines like Spiderman, X-Men, Ironman, and so forth. I had quite a complete collection.”
Stanley Dealt with Difficult Customers
Stanley shared that the toy business is not considered too difficult. He said, “When I was in Canada, I bought some toys from eBay back to Hong Kong, but the prices were very high from bidding, so I drove to Walmart to buy them at market price. When I went back to Hong Kong, I sold it for quadruple or quintuple the price I paid for because they didn’t have those toys yet.”
However, with every business, there are complications associated with difficult customers. He said, “I once had a very difficult customer. They kept bargaining but the product was only HK$200. After one month of discussion, they didn’t even show up for the exchange, so in the end, I gave up.”
Despite his earlier venture into the toy business, Stanley is not looking to turn it into his career. He explained, “I know a lot of toy store owners, who were once collectors, begin to hate toys. You’ll lose your passion for it once you turn it into your living.”
Stanley Eats Instant Noodles to Save Money
Carrying his affinity for figurines well into adulthood, Stanley disagrees with those who think collecting toys is a huge waste of time. He compares his hobby to the gaming industry. “I know a lot of Taiwanese game makers who make a lot of money in this day and age. It depends on how you choose to see it,” he said.
In terms of his finances, he is very economical. He shared, “I always eat instant noodles and fast food to save money. I don’t turn on the air conditioning to save money when I drive. I don’t try to dress fancy when I go out because I know I am not a celebrity, but an actor, so I don’t mind being casual.”
He said he has been like this since young. “I started living on my own at the age of 17. My family gave me an allowance until I graduated, but I learned to only use it when necessary and for the right things,” Stanley shared.
This article is written by Hailey for JayneStars.com.