Creativity — Hong Kong must continue what it can do best
The story of a young New York couple starting a thriving business making nofrills but stylish and function leather handbags should serve to inspire the many Hong Kong entrepreneurs looking for ideas for their startups.
There’s really nothing innovative in what 28-yearold Jennifer Chong and her boyfriend Roman Khan are doing to make their business a success with sales hitting $1 million in the first 14 months. In fact, they’re bucking the fashion trend by bringing back to the market the basic style that the major players have long abandoned for something more fancy and eye-catching.
Not too long ago, budding professionals used to crave for the classic Coach leather briefcases and handbags that were durable, functional and utterly professional looking. They were also expensive and weren’t widely available in Hong Kong.
Chong, an economics graduate at Dartmouth, needed a stylish, functional leather briefcase for her work at a business consultant firm, according to a CNN story. Failing to find one that met her needs, she designed one for herself. Pleased with her own design, Chong and Khan quit their jobs to start the business through crowdfunding to make and sell bags to like-minded consumers online.
In Hong Kong, it appears that too much emphasis is placed on technological innovation in the government’s efforts to reinvigorate entrepreneurship among young graduates. This can have the effect of discouraging them from launching their businesses.
Hong Kong is not lacking in innovation and creativity, as many critics have said. Rather, it lacks the supporting industries with the technological knowhow to actually produce the products that are cost effective for marketing.
For that reason, it may make more sense to focus our efforts on what Hong Kong can do best rather than trying to play catch up with South Korea or Singapore. Hong Kong was once the region’s fashion design capital before the wholesale exodus of industries to the Pearl River Delta region in the 1980s. There’s still a large pool of fashion design talents in Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong Trade Development Council used to play a key role in promoting the city as a fashion design center. Hong Kong expects it to step out of the shadow of its former self.