Campfire has done it again! After opening the first (uber successful) co-working space Campfire Collaborative in Kennedy town earlier this year a new venture named Campfire Creative has now opened its doors in Wong Chuk Hang. Historically a textile hub, the founders of Campfire Creative believed the Wong Chuk Hang location to be the perfect place to bring together Hong Kong’s creative and fashion startups. Located in the still unpolished neighborhood just on the edge of Aberdeen Harbour, the new space offers gritty authenticity with all modern amenities on the doorstep. Plenty of trendy new coffee shops, art galleries and boutique shops are hidden in the outwardly dilapidated looking warehouses. It’s a buzzing area, which will likely start booming rapidly once the MTR opens here before the end of the year.
Arriving on the fifth floor of the Remex Centre the doors of the lift open to a spacious, airy loft style space. ‘It all starts here’ is written on the wall at the top of the catwalk. When I turn to my left I see ‘but coffee first’ above the bar. I sit down and wait for the three founders of this co-working space to join me for a short interview when I look up and see ‘Get Shit Done’ on the ceiling. These phrases sum up the spirit behind Campfire creative. Founders Albert Fung, Wang Tse and Brian Fung wanted to provide more than a physical space for entrepreneurs in Hong Kong, they wanted a community where entrepreneurs can thrive, work alongside likeminded people and share knowledge to literally ‘get things done’.
I can sense you thinking, but there already are so many co-working spaces in Hong Kong? A simple Google search spits out at least forty options. They seem to grow like mushrooms in this city. So why another one? And how is this one different?
Depending on the industry, a grassroots startup will have different needs and requirements. A growing designer needs more than just a desk and basic office equipment. They make and create which often requires square meters and equipment. Think of sewing machines, dress stands, large craft tables etc. ‘We saw an opportunity to cater for creative start ups’ Brian says. ‘Real estate is expensive and often doesn’t cater for specific business needs, especially not in the creative market’. So in addition to plenty of desk space, private offices and meeting rooms, Campfire Creative offers a workshop in which activities such as sewing and spray painting can take place as well as a photography studio, a catwalk and ample event space (which can be hired by non-members). There are only a handful of co-working spaces that cater for individuals in the creative sector and they are located in different parts of the city. ‘We cater for a Hong Kong Island audience and don’t see other co-working spaces as competition, we would actually like to work together wherever possible’, Brian says.
Its physical attributes set Campfire Creative apart but the real added value comes from its network believes Brian. Albert, Wang and Brian all have spent time (and still do) in the corporate world but are entrepreneurs at heart. All three have grown up in entrepreneurial families and have experienced personally how difficult it can be to thrive as an entrepreneur in Hong Kong. ‘It’s lonely being by your self and not having anyone to bounce ideas off or get advice from. We want to make life easier for entrepreneurs’ says Wang, ‘this is a real passion project’. Through their own ventures (between them they run businesses in agriculture, education fashion, sports, investments to name a few) they have built a significant network in various industries. ‘We can help entrepreneurs through our knowledge and connections’ Brian says. ‘We can give them advice and point them in the right direction if needed. We are probably not the nicest or cheapest option but we really do offer a community’. A planned intranet system connecting people in any of the existing and future Campfire locations will support this further. It will enable members to be in touch and share knowledge despite being in different locations.
Brian is selling Campfire Creative short by saying it is probably not the nicest. To me, few office spaces in Hong Kong offer what Campfire Creative offers. High ceilings and tall windows that flood the warehouse with natural light and make this enormous space spectacularly bright. The décor is minimalist and very comfortable, cool but functional which in my view does indeed make it one of the nicest co-working spaces in Hong Kong.
My interview with Albert, Wang and Brian has to come to an end. It is opening night at Campfire Creative. There is a lot to do and oversee. As the sun sets the energy rises inside the loft space. A host of pop up stores is setting up. Models are rehearsing for a fashion show on the runway and catering stations are being stocked with celebratory Champagne. As you can expect from a creative hub, attention is being paid to detail and style. Slowly guests start to arrive, some 700 have been invited the organizers tell me. Brian: ‘we couldn’t have done all this without our fantastic team. Organizing this opening but more importantly, all that had to be done to get here. Credit to the team, I know they will take care of you when you come here’.
There won’t be much time to sit back for the team after opening night as on 19 and 20 November they will be co-hosting secret Island Party in Cheung Chau. Another great opportunity to bring people together, true to the Campfire spirit.
For those interested to find out more about Campfire Creative or Campfire Collaborative: www.campfire.work
By Evelien Brinkerink / Sponsored Post