Interview with Phoenix Sweets
PMQ brings creative space to Hong Kong on a scale never previously experienced. Over 100 creative designers, businesses and entrepreneurs occupy the light and spacious Aberdeen Street location. Some of the first to experience the challenges and successes of this new, untested venue talk to us about their experiences as part of this exciting and innovative venture.
Specializing in intricate and delicate tailor-made cakes, as well as offering high quality cupcakes and cookies, Phoenix Sweets moves its hand crafted sweet treats from online business to its first physical shop.
Tell us about your company
We were an online business for around two years, known for tailor-made baked sweets including cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and others. We used to focus our business development online such as promotions via Facebook and Instagram. PMQ is our first physical store.
What has your experience been like having a shop at PMQ?
This is a significant business development. Running a store in PMQ is fun. There are lots of interesting customers coming in, and some of them cannot be reached by our online platforms including tourists, art and design lovers who appreciate higher-quality products and delicate details. On top of our existing online business, we are selling cupcakes which we freshly bake every morning at the PMQ store. We cook using real ingredients such as fair trade earl grey tea leaves, vanilla seed and Valrhona chocolate products, which are, of course, best experienced at our physical store than online. Our brand benefits from word-of-mouth recommendations spread by visitors to PMQ. Our cake displays and decorations make our store one of the most visited in PMQ, and, with a growing number of the returning customers buying our cupcakes, we believe that we’ll be profitable by the fourth quarter of 2014.
What are some challenges of running a shop at PMQ? Are there any special challenges for a food company?
PMQ is located near SOHO, an area where food advocates with high expectations gather, especially those enjoying sweets and desserts. They have great taste and they know the essence of quality food. Besides, there are a few very competitive cupcake/sweets shop nearby (both inside and outside PMQ). We target to be a leading brand of artistic confections. We have to focus on making the very best of products such as cupcakes, in terms of both how it looks and the flavour, to build up our reputation. So far, our strategy is to make our cupcakes freshly every morning, with a less sweet flavor, using the best ingredients.
PMQ offers a great opportunity for local brands with the ambition to grow and explore further development. However, for fresh startup businesses, owners may need to be sure that they have the uniqueness and competitiveness to compete with the over 100 neighbors in the premise. It is not a charity project which sponsors every potential business to chase their dream. Instead, it offers great opportunity for businesses that clearly know what they are doing and where they wish to go.