Enterbay - The Story Behind The Passion Part 1 An Interview with Bill Tjhang President/CEO of Enterbay
Enterbay – The Story behind the Passion Part I
It was 2006 when a company called Enterbay released their first product in the 1/6th figure collecting world with the Legendary Martial Artist and Movie Star Bruce Lee in his avatar as the protagonist of his unfinished film 'The Game of Death'. The seminal release was greatly anticipated by fans and lapped up by enthusiasts everywhere. For collectors and industry heads the quality of the sculpt, paint application, clothing, materials used and diorama was just at a new level. It forced already established brands to pick up the pace but more importantly announced the arrival of a new giant in the 1/6th Industry, Enterbay.
In this series of short interviews with the man who made his dream a reality Bill Tchang the President/CEO will tell us about the trials and tribunals he had to go through along with the members of his team to establish Enterbay and will as share with us exclusive news regarding present work in progresses and some of the future plans that he has for the company.
Q. Hello Bill, its great to talk to you, first of all let me congratulate you on the great run of success you have been having from the 1/6th Leon, 1/4th Arnold, and currently the 1/6th Scarface figures! You guys are on a roll and I hope you can keep the momentum going!
Thank you for the honour. The year before last year was a really tough one for ENTERBAY where we had several unpleasant experiences, which affected our plans and the development schedule. Fortunately with some of the new adjustments, the persistent efforts of the ENTERBAY team, and the support of our fans, we managed to become active again and began to find the rhythm to move forward with more clear focus towards our future.
Since then Real Masterpiece: Leon, Scarface and HD Masterpiece: Terminator 2 to the recent released Che Guevara, we see ourselves as having improved greatly in terms of quality. This means we expect our future products to be more and more exciting.
Q. Lets start with a little bit of Enterbay's history. What made you get inspired to start your own 1/6th figure company and how did you go about it initially?
The founding of ENTERBAY was not because I loved the figurine hobby, but simply because of Bruce Lee. I had been buying toys and some figurines, but I was not addicted to them. The reason why I started ENTERBAY was because I couldn’t buy my ideal 1:6 Scale Bruce Lee figure. When I was 19 years old, I knew that I was not good at studying and I hated the dull school life that I had; textbook knowledge was simply useless to me. I did not want to waste time and be a burden to my family, so I decided to quit university and looked for opportunities and work experience.
I have had lots of different jobs before, and then there was this chance when I went to Japan and started to develop my own trading business. Because I was so young and with the lack of experiences, I lost all my hard-earned savings. Life was very tough back then, and I also had to take care of the whole family. I had to find a breakthrough idea to salvage the situation as soon as possible.
I have always admired Bruce Lee, not only for his martial art talents but also for his thinking, philosophy and attitude toward life. It was then that I saw this as an opportunity to create the best and the most popular 1:6 Bruce Lee figurine. That was the beginning of ENTERBAY.
Q. One of the biggest assets an entrepreneur can have is his risk taking mentality and in your case you have a lot of it. But Id say most of your risks have paid off havent they? And honestly if you dont take risks you do not progress into new territory and evolve. What do you have to say about it regarding the decisions and the struggles you faced in your journey to establish Enterbay.
At the early stage when I first established ENTERBAY, the cost of production and becoming the an official licensee of Bruce Lee was my first and biggest challenge. I did not have any capital, and I had to look everywhere to raise the funds. I did not miss any opportunities to explain my business plan to my relatives and friends everywhere, but a lot of people thought that I was a fool to do such a thing and most of them refused my proposal. However I did manage to raise some funds, which were still not enough. The struggle between giving up and continuing to go ahead this business idea was a painful process. I did not hesitate too much, but decided to gamble with the future. I tried to continue the business project while trying to raise more funds on the side.
Apart from the money issue, I also had no knowledge and experiences in figurine production. I bought a lot of figures to study and contacted a lot of factories to gain knowledge and understand the process better. My brother and I were working tirelessly day and night, trying to learn and doing research. I borrowed a lot of money from everywhere and people criticized us and said it was not likely that we would be successful, and some even said that I was crazy; However I was confident that I would succeed, because I was able to see the opportunity that other people couldn’t. This belief was in my mind till the day our first product became available in the market, and finally it all paid off.
Hard work, intuition, experiences, failures, improvements and creation; all these elements have led ENTERBAY to reach where we are today. I believe that I am a creator and an opportunist; I have my very own unique way of thinking and logic. I believe that if you create the opportunity, you will also create your own success; and that you are already half way towards a successful end. When you encounter difficulties that cannot be solved, it is necessary to carve your own "opportune way" rather than waiting for the solution to come to you.
If you are afraid to try and be innovative, it just means you have lost your chance. This is just a personal view about my life and I believe that ENTERBAY will have a better future.
Q. A little bit about the past, Arnie Kim was a former member of Enterbay and you guys really hit the ball out of the park with your collaborations on the Bruce Lee line, which was and is probably Enterbay's most well known and popular line. Also a lot of people might not know this but J.C. Hong too was initially with you guys, How was it working with them?
When ENTERBAY was first established, we invited Mr. Arnie Kim to join our creative team and he was responsible on the head sculpture for the Bruce Lee series. JC.Hong was also working with us as well and he helped us with the paint application and color coating techniques. I was very happy to work with them both, and I wish them the best for the continued success of their careers.
Q. In recent announcements and also after the great success of the 1:4 HD articulated T800 from Terminator 2 figure you guys announced more licenses in that scale like The Dark Knight, Rambo etc. Is 1:4 the future of Enterbay? What will this mean for 1:6th fans and collectors? Figures from these licenses in 1:6th too would be greatly anticipated, any plans for that happening?
We feel that the 1:6 scale market is already very mature and has a wide range of products and licenses available, whereas collectibles in 1:4 scale is quite limited. We do not intend to replace 1:6 scale products with 1:4 ones. We believe that 1:4 scale is a great area to explore and unleash our existing technologies and concepts to achieve the detailing and functionalities that cannot be done on the 1:6 scale. We also realised that the only 1:4 scaled high quality collectibles in the market are statues, not action figurines. Therefore we decided to lead the market and be the first to launch the HD Masterpiece line and intend this collection to be our priority series. However this doesn’t mean that we will only focus on the HD series in the future. We will continue to have new allocations and developments in the 1:6 scale Real Masterpiece Series. Characters that we choose for the HD series would only be the classic ones or innovative popular themes. The birth of the HD Masterpiece brand is to make an unprecedented impact in the figurine market and to give collectors more interesting choices on their purchases.
Q. What are the current products being worked on?
At the moment we are working on 1/6 Men In Black, Bruce Lee, and 1/4 Bruce Lee, Batman, Joker, Rambo… etc. Fans should be able to find all the news and teasers from our Facebook page.
Q. Can you tell us more about Master YJ and would you be able to tell us some names of these extremely talented artists working along with master YJ? Also is Rovo Jin still a member of Enterbay?
YJ is responsible for the majority of our products in terms of head sculpting prototype guidance and supervising the quality of production painting and techniques.
YJ is actually the most talented and hard working artist I have ever met since I became involved in this industry. I admire his talent and we have gone through lots of trials and tribulations together. He is my teammate, and also a very good friend. We've been through a lot together, and even when the company was facing its lowest period, YJ still believed in me and did not get lured by any outsider. He has supported me all the way and I am glad that we could move forward together as a team. We have spent a lot of time to study and master a set of paint application techniques that we could fully apply onto our final products. Our latest releases all use this new technique and we believe that our work is just going to get better and better in the future.
Apart from YJ, we also have "Scuderia” who is our lead head sculptor. He was responsible for most of the 1/6 and 1/4 scale prototype head sculpting. Some of his best works include Arnold from Terminator 2 and Al Pacino as Scarface. "Gallardo" is another sculptor that we have, who has just recently joined the company. He is responsible for a wider range of sculpting works; he is doing head sculpts, body sculpts and the sculpting of accessories if necessary. The Tommy Lee Jones head sculpt from MIB is “Gallardo” ’s first project, I guarantee you all that it will just blow everyone’s mind.
The famous Mr. Rovo Jin is also a member of ENTERBAY, and he will be responsible for the upcoming 1/4 scale Bruce Lee, can you believe that! Please stay tuned for more exciting work from us.
Q. What are the next Enterbay releases we should be looking forward to in the next few months?
Everyone should have already known that we came up with the 1/4 scale high quality articulated figurine concept and that it was a huge success for us when we launched the first one, Terminator 2 T-800. We will continue with these 1/4 scale projects, and to drop a few names, there will be Batman, Joker, and Robocop. I hope all news and teasers about these upcoming projects will be follow up by the collectors and hope the will look forward to them.
Thats it for this time folks, I would really like to thank Bill and his team members at Enterbay for giving a little bit of their valuable time to reply to these questions and giving us a better idea bout Enterbay!
The interview is a part of a series will be taken over a period of time, so if you want any of your specific questions /details on something you would like to know about Enterbay and the team behind them all. Do comment and post the questions below. The Most popular and relevant questions will be asked in the next installment of the ongoing series of interviews and will be answered by Mr. Bill himself! Exclusive to One Sixth Republic!
by Ankit Mitra