Last week I visited the UK Head Quarters of HKTDC (Hong Kong Trade and Development Council). I was interviewed about my business in Hong Kong, which started in 2013 when I went on a trade mission to the country. From humble beginnings, my brand has grown substantially over the last decade, and is now stocked by many gift and book retailers in Hong Kong and neighbouring Macau, helped considerably through the market intelligence and support of HKTDC. Watch the interview here.
My fashion brand in the 1990s was popular in Hong Kong and was sold by prestigious department store: Lane Crawford. I therefore had a hunch that my playful and naive style of hand-drawn illustration would be still popular in Hong Kong and booked myself on a trade mission, ran by the British Jewellery and Gift Federation. Having met the HKDTC at a trade show a few months prior to my visit, I commissioned a simple, business match report, which enabled me to contact a handful of distributors who may be interested in representing my brand in the country. I almost got a match with a distributor but he helpfully provided me the contacts for a number of retailers, who I then called to book a meeting with and voila! ... I created a Hong Kong design, hot footed it from one meeting to another and came away from my business trip with a handful of orders. I had launched my brand in Hong Kong!
I have been back many times, working in collaboration with the British Consul in Hong Kong, through which I did a live art event at the wonderful PMQ retail centre and the resulting art hangs in the British Consul today. I eventually set up my own stand alone business to better supply products to our growing number of retail stockists. This operation was then made redundant by virtue of the fact that a highly motivated and experienced distributor saw the potential to wholesale my brand in Hong Kong and indeed, the business flew under his wing. He was even able to get my brand into the destination HKTDC retail galleries, which represent the best of Hong Kong design.
I showcased my brand at several Hong Kong Gift and Premium Fairs, organised by HKTDC and met my biggest licensing partner at the trade show, as well as several key retailers who thereafter stocked my brand in their stores. I also developed several other Hong Kong based artwork in response to the high demand for my brand.
The political uncertainty combined with successive pandemic lockdowns have proven challenging and my business in Hong Kong runs at a much more quieter pace than two years ago. As we emerge from the impact of Covid, I am hopeful that tourism will return to Hong Kong and with that, my brand will regain its position as a directional design brand, and one which helps to contribute to a dynamic and unique retail offer. It's the Year of the Tiger, and with that, we will find our inner strength and we will move on from the past to a more positive future. Let it ROAR!