This week on FEW Members' Corner, we would like to introduce you to Ameesha Kapadia, Founder of The Pink Lotus, a local Hong Kong brand with a range of beautiful home decor handcrafted in India with products that are unique and tailor-made for the Hong Kong market.
Hello Ameesha, could you tell us what brought you to Hong Kong and what you do?
I've been in Hong Kong for almost 7 years. Like many expat women here, I moved to Hong Kong as a trailing spouse. We live in the Mid-levels and are originally from Mumbai, where our family still resides. My company The Pink Lotus is a home accessories brand. The Pink Lotus aims to provide quality driven yet price conscious items to the Hong Kong market. I completed a masters in Public Relations from London but eventually worked as a stylist for a fashion magazine in Mumbai. It’s when I had my own home in Hong Kong, that I realised my love for clothes and textiles extended to home decor as well.
What inspired you to start your company?
Originally I started The Pink Lotus with a friend to bring curated products, be it clothes, stationery or home decor to Hong Kong. We realised over a period of time, there was a need in the home decor market for quality driven, yet price-conscious items and so we moved over completely, from curating to now manufacturing our own home decor products. I manage the business by myself since my partner has now moved back home.
So far, what's the most challenging part of your journey?
We've been lucky so far, in terms of word of mouth publicity but building a brand and getting the name out there on a budget has been a challenge.
I work with various manufacturers as well as artisans from all over India, and we now design our own prints and patterns which are exclusive only to Pink Lotus. We tailor make products to suit the needs of the Hong Kong market whilst being consistent with our quality standards. The challenge is dealing with manufacturers, to get things done on a strict deadline and the general logistics of transporting products to Hong Kong. It’s a constant struggle to get things done on time. I now plan 4-6 months in advance to try and give them ample time to meet their deadlines which means when a new collection comes out, I’m already planning the next one.
A FEW WORDS OF ADVICE
On running a business
Innovate. You have to keep innovating and changing. I try and use different materials and techniques every season. I worked with mango wood and eventually moved over to Indian rosewood, and now I’m trying to work with metals. I use enamel, wood, natural stones and try and change up what we offer every season. This season we’ve offered copper bottles for the first time.
I always believe in the old adage - the customer is always right. If a customer has a complaint or ever wants to return or exchange something, I never say no. I always feel that with good customer service, people keep coming back to you. In the matter of business partners etc, initially, something as simple as being on time with payments led me to have great relations with them.
In your opinion, what are the top three things someone should consider before starting their own business?How much time can you give, where do you want it to go and how passionate are you about your business.
My personal success is my family and my daughter. My company success is when people come up to me and tell me they've heard great things about The Pink Lotus; that vote of confidence for me is the ultimate success.