From backpack to store front: Karim Grant’s Applekings ‘crowned’ market leaders
Apple Watch Series 4. Photo: Apple

What started off as a college student selling Apple products out of a backpack has emerged into a market leader for Apple-related products and services locally, with branches in two parishes and plans to expand islandwide.

When it became a challenge to fund his college education, Karim Grant decided against taking school loans and instead chose the iPhone.

“At the time, in 2013, everyone was selling Android phones, and I wanted to do something different,” says the Applekings CEO. “I was selling Apple products out of my backpack, because it was a brand I believed in.”

Grant eventually dropped out of UWI and started selling Apple products out of a tech store owned by his friend. His customer base grew exponentially and he soon learnt the trade of repairing Apple products. In 2015, he decided to fully venture into his own business and store front.

“It wasn't an easy process,” he explained, noting that he had a few “missteps” along the way.

Grant told of an occasion when he gave someone J$700,000 worth of Apple phones to sell on his behalf, and the items were purchased using a check that bounced. He spoke of another occasion, where the business was robbed of an entire stock by armed robbers.

Still, he pushed on.

Grant partnered on different occasions with several persons in the tech and telecommunications industry to learn the intricacies of the business, but some things, Grant says, he had to learn the hard way.

“Regardless of the challenges, though, I knew the vision I had for my business and I was committed to it.”

Grant’s ventures now has a name, LLC status, a repair subsidiary, branches in two locations, and close to two dozen employees.

“Just start and done,” Grant advises aspiring entrepreneurs. “Don't wait for the perfect time. The key is to start now even with the fear of failure or of not being ready.

“It’s best to do it and fail than to never (have) tried at all. With hard work and dedication, maybe you can turn your textbook into a cheque book,” Grant added.

Over the years, Grant’s brand, Applekings, has gained loyal customers, and established partnerships with the likes of JMMB, VXI and the Jamaica Pubic Services Company (JPS).

The company recently began offering patrons access to Apple products on payment plans, with special discounts for public servants. The brand is known for the sale of authentic Apple products, and for Apple product repair in Kingston and Ocho Rios. Grant says the aim within the next few years is to continue to expand within the island and eventually into other Caribbean countries.

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