I know it might sound like a cliché but my Dad really is my hero. He built his business from scratch and created a world-class organisation that had customers beating a path to his door from all parts of the globe. More importantly he was a role model for me, setting an example of what it takes to be a good parent, a decent human being and a successful business person.
When I came up with the idea of starting my own business, I was eager for his opinion: “starting a business is harder than you think” was his simple reply; words I think about every day as we close in on the launch of Cary Regimen.
It really has been a tough road, creating something out of nothing and maintaining the belief that we can do it. It is particularly so given our business has its genesis in the three years Hong Kong SAR battled Covid, as well as the global financial challenges of high inflation and depressed demand we’ve seen since early 2022.
In his budget speech earlier this year, Financial Secretary Paul Chan laid out a stark assessment of Hong Kong’s economy over the previous 12 months: exports fell, unemployment rose and GDP fell by around 3.5 percent.
Since the middle of Q1 of this year, though, Hong Kong has roared back to life, inspired by the removal of Covid-era restrictions. While tourism, for example, is not yet back to its pre-pandemic levels, the crowds in Central tell me that it won’t be long before they are. So too are the vast crowds at a whole range of events such as Art Basel, Hong Kong 7s and Creamfields.
There was little doubt in my mind that Hong Kong would bounce back strongly, though. For two hundred years, the city has been the epicentre of trading in Asia and has become one of the world’s foremost financial centres. Business is in our blood, and that is a key reason why the start-up scene here is so vibrant.
Hong Kong is also a bridge to China. Whatever the politicians in North America and Europe say, business leaders know that China is a critical economy and Hong Kong is a great base from which capitalise on the economic opportunity.
Perhaps it’s my upbringing but I’m also a great believer that opportunity always comes from the toughest situations. Setting up a business during Covid was hard mentally and physically, ensuring we were on top of all the details to give our business the best possible chance to flourish from the off. It’s led to a few sleepless nights but it’s also given me a real sense of purpose which is driving me towards our launch next month.