Beauty, fashion and food: 3 female entrepreneurs who are shaking things up in Hong Kong | Style Magazine

Beauty, fashion and food: 3 female entrepreneurs who are shaking things up in Hong Kong | Style Magazine

Being a female entrepreneur is no mean feat; especially in the competitive landscape of Hong Kong.

These three female entrepreneurs are making their mark in their respective fields, and it is our pleasure to have them take five minutes out of their schedules to answer our questions.

The raw feed: Jenny Tan

1. What is The Raw Circus?

The Raw Circus had an unexpectedly great start! We really didn’t expect that there would be that many eaters out there, keen to try raw and vegan food, and interestingly, most of our customers aren’t even vegan or even vegetarian.

We started off with full day meal plans, three day and five day plans – a gourmet plan, a detox/weight control plan (ketogenic) and a stay fit plan. Upon popular request, we started our lunch services at the end of October, and we’re now in the process of rolling that out across the city.

We’re also working on launching a special wedding programme, a four week detox plan that will get brides to fit really nicely into their dresses for their big day, with skin and hair glowing! And we’re obviously preparing for the busy Christmas season now, so we’re rolling out our catering services as well. And some time towards the end of this year, we’ll start hosting raw gourmet nights. We have a really cool concept for that.

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2. What is vegan and raw eating?

Sadly, when food is cooked, about 70 per cent of all vitamins and 100 per cent of all enzymes die. Most nutrients have their state altered when they are cooked, rendering them almost useless for the body to process. Your body needs enzymes to bring nutrients to the cells, and if you have largely cooked food in your diet, then that puts an enormous strain on your pancreas – the key organ in your body that can produce enzymes. And if the enzymes of the pancreas are busy bringing nutrients to cells, they can’t do what they are supposed to do and that’s rejuvenating your cells. That’s where there is a direct linkage between eating raw food and anti-ageing. Needless to say, the more vitamins and minerals your body can absorb, the stronger will be your immune system as well as your productivity levels. Eating raw is really all about eating live enzymes and absorbing as many vitamins and minerals as you can with food.

First of all, raw food is immensely versatile, and most of our customers are blown away by the diversity in recipes and flavours they would have never expected.

Jenny Tan

With respect to what you can eat, there are so many misconceptions about raw vegan food, even more so than vegan food. Veganism has become a lot more socially accepted now, but raw food still gets stigmatised as being all about “carrot and celery sticks”. First of all, raw food is immensely versatile, and most of our customers are blown away by the diversity in recipes and flavours they would have never expected.

3. How often do you rotate the menu, and where do you take inspiration from?

We rotate our dishes every four to six weeks, and we usually add new dishes along the way. We experiment a lot in the kitchen. We have a lot of Mediterranean influences in our dishes, but we mix them up with Asian flavours as well. I personally have a sweet tooth, so our dessert variety is certainly very much influenced by that! Our raw chocolate avocado tart with chocolate ganache beats any baked and/or non-vegan chocolate cake, hands down!

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4. What has been your journey into veganism?

When my mother was diagnosed with cancer back in 2000, she didn’t immediately jump into the traditionally advised chemotherapy. Instead, she spent a few weeks researching alternative treatments. In her research she realised that nutrition played a major role not only in developing cancer but also in preventing cancer. Even the American Cancer Society states that 75 per cent of all cancer can be linked to “bad nutrition”. In her findings, my mother Coco – who is by the way also the nutrition expert at The Raw Circus – concluded that the diet most suitable for beating cancer is the raw and vegan diet.

So she went raw, and the health effects were tremendous. Having previously been given at most two years to live, she was suddenly alive and kicking several weeks after starting her raw food diet. That was the first time I saw the impressive impact of raw food on someone’s health and that made me go vegan, first out of solidarity, then out of conviction. That’s when we started our raw and vegan journey. At first it was tricky, because back in 2000 the online community was tiny and not full of vegan recipes, let alone raw vegan recipes! So we experimented a lot, and made up our own recipes – which by the way, have impressed all our carnivore friends over the past two decades, as well as my mother’s oncologist!

The sleeping beauty: Erica Ching

1. What inspired you to start Caternap?

Asian women are famous for their beautiful dewy skin, but like most great things, they don’t come easy. We spend tonnes of money on essences, serums, emulsions, clay masks, sheet masks, gel masks, 24-carat gold masks … who has time for all that every single night?

Caternap is inspired by a simple concept of making life effortless and easy for busy professionals who want to take care of their skin. Caternap is short for “caterpillar nap” inspired by the metamorphosis phase that caterpillars undergo before transforming into a beautiful butterfly.

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2. Is it true each mask is made in Hong Kong?

I am very fortunate to have a very talented team of women managing the day to day of Caternap. Our nanotech skincare silk layer is engineered in France. Each silk eye mask is then handmade by stay-at-home mothers of Hong Kong with tender loving care. Many professional women want to get back into the game after taking an extended break from the workforce to raise their children, but opportunities tend to be lacking for these women. I am very grateful to be able to create a platform to help many mothers make the transition back to the workforce flexible and easy.

3. How long did it take to develop?

The research and development of the nanotechnology took two years and the patenting of the technology took one year. Caternap took flight at the beginning of this year when we set up a workshop where we hand-make each silk eye mask. And then we started sending samples to celebrities in Hong Kong.

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Erica Ching

4. How important are key opinion leaders (KOLs)?

Absolutely, we are extremely grateful for the love and attention received from all the KOLs. KOLs are exceptional in curating so much beautiful content for our brand and will continue to be an important digital marketing strategy for Caternap.

5. How does the sleeping mask work?

Unlike a jar of cream which oxidise once you open it, the beauty of the nanotechnology is that all the skincare ingredients are sealed away from the external environment until use. Based on lab tests, the skincare formula moisturises and reduces fine lines around the eyes, forehead and frown lines. You will observe positive effects after 6-8 weeks of wearing Caternap to sleep every night. A number of beauty experts testified that Caternap also enhances the absorption of your existing skincare regime and reduces friction-induced-creases and wrinkles.

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6. Why do you think we all should strap on a sleeping mask?

Caternap is your must-have in your beauty arsenal. It is the first of its kind, it’s low maintenance, but a highly effective, elegant skincare solution. We promise the easiest and most stylish bedtime sheet masking experience ever!

The cool chick: Leslie Tsang

1. What is the story behind Movers & Cashmere?

The concept stemmed from the word “movers”. It’s about a modern lifestyle, of constantly moving about.

2. How did you get inspired to start something that is closely related to the Scandinavian lifestyle and design aesthetic?

I am a “mover” myself, and I really like cashmere. I wanted something more modern, but in the market, I felt like I couldn’t find what I wanted – the designs are really simple; ours are simple too but there is always a silhouette or colour to it.

3. Do you have a certain quality control to make sure your cashmere material is all up to standards?

We have a trusty factory that we go to, and we never hurt any animals. The cashmere we use is the longest and the thickest – only possible with cashmere of the AA grade. In a way, the idea of using cashmere as a more sustainable fashion material is great, but you must use the ones that are of good quality. A cashmere jumper is supposed to kept forever, an investment piece.

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4. Do you feel that you’re quite fortunate to be working with cashmere?

As a responsible company, we still have a long way to go in terms of sustainability. There isn’t a particular control centre about what sustainability means, but we’re doing all we can.

5. What’s next for Movers & Cashmere?

We are still a very young brand and we are looking at exploring other countries. This season we have designs that come in many bold colours. We also brought in leather from Sørensen Leather as an additional detail to the designs.

6. How did the collaboration with Sørensen Leather come about?

Our style is pretty Scandinavian. We were in Copenhagen and we met with the owners, and aesthetically, we thought we would be the perfect match. They have a heavy focus on interior designs and furniture, so this collaboration is new for both sides too.

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7. What is it about the Scandinavian style that appeals to you?

I myself love everything simple, a great silhouette and great quality. Anything that you can pull out of the closet and live in it.

I myself love everything simple, a great silhouette and great quality. Anything that you could pull out of the closet and live in it

Leslie Tsang

8. What’s next for you?

We’re steering towards the interior design and architecture side of things, so you will see a lot more designs that are sculptural. You can be a “mover”, but sometimes you can also be cool, calm, collected inside. That’s the philosophy of our brand.

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