Interview with Punch Detox
Punch Detox is Hong Kong’s first juice detox business, providing organic, vegan, cold-pressed juices for Hong Kong people. Our goal is to fill your body with nutrients, give your body a rest, and as a result, help your liver, kidneys, lungs, skin and intestines naturally eliminate toxins.
We officially opened to the public in the beginning of 2012, but if you ask our friends and family, they have been enjoying Punch Detox since 2010.
What was your inspiration to start the business?
To share what was life-changing for us with our community. Like a lot of Hong Kong professionals, we used to work over 100 hours a week and abuse our bodies by eating, drinking and sleeping poorly. After we both had kids, we decided we needed to make a big health change, so we took the plunge into a two-week detox: on the other side came out two women we hardly recognized – healthy, vivacious, and young in ways we hadn’t felt for years. And we had to share.
Now, in Hong Kong, not everyone can do a two-week detox, but surely everyone can do a three-day detox. So we drew upon our business acumen from Harvard and Columbia Business School, both enrolled in and graduated with Nutrition diplomas, and employed Ann’s culinary skills, refined from her days cooking in Manhattan’s 3-Michelin-starred restaurant, Jean-Georges, to create our own Punch Detox for Hong Kong.
How long did it take you to setup your business?
From the beginning – when we were holding our own 10-day cleanse program, which included yoga with Leah Kim and Pilates with Tracy So- to running a fully-licensed food factory, three-day juice detox programs, and an interactive website with online shopping functionality – about three years.
Research and development was the most important component. Relying on the knowledge from our nutrition classes in Hong Kong, and Ann’s culinary prowess from her days as a fine-dining chef in Manhattan, we invested heavily in our R&D. We created different types of delicious juices and effective detox programs. We got the feedback of over 200 people to tweak and perfect the recipes, offerings, and experience, before fully launching for all of Hong Kong.
Where do you source ingredients from?
Everywhere. Quality is one of our core values, and for ingredients, this means providing different types of ingredients to provide a rainbow of nutrients. They can’t always be found in one place, so we buy from organic farms such as Earthbound Farms in California and small family organic farms in Australia. We also source from farms in northern Thailand as well as local organic farms. Since produce can be affected by seasonality, we are always looking for new suppliers to improve our list of farms that we buy from.
How are you funded?
To date, we have been self-funded, despite the multiple requests to invest in our business!
We have a clear vision of the kind of company we want to be. Being self-funded allows us the luxury to set standards high and make decisions independently without compromising on anything we value – whether it’s the quality of the product, compensation of the employees, or with which charities and social enterprises we want to collaborate. For example, we proudly hire local women who might not have otherwise had the opportunity to join the workforce, by providing flexible hours. We also collaborate with local and regional charities and social enterprises, such as Table for Two, Adventist Hospital Foundation, and HK Recycles, to help people and causes that we are passionate about.
What are your biggest challenges?
Our biggest challenge was in educating the public about our products. We were the first to bring not just the product, but the concept of juice detox and its health benefits to Hong Kong. So we took those three years to educate our customers, emphasizing health education as part of the service and the experience.
As in many dynamic market environments, competitors quickly flooded the market, but we stay true to our brand – to quality, taste, education and experience – to stay connected with our customers. That’s why, we think, we have a lot of happy, loyal customers; many of them come back to us again and again.
Who are your go to business mentors in HK?
We are both lucky to have a lot of incredibly smart friends from our alma maters, Columbia and Harvard Business Schools, which share their advice and mentorship. Some are in Hong Kong, Mainland China, the U.S., Europe, and Australia. It’s important for us to keep a global perspective, even though Punch Detox is a locally-grown brand.
Who does your marketing?
GoPublic helps us with the development of our brand, product design, and our interactive storefront: the Punch Detox website, www.punchdetox.com. We work with Hamilton Advisors and goPublic to drive our PR and marketing strategy, helping us grow our business.
How do you promote your business?
Offline, we promote (and are promoted!) using word-of-mouth. Most of our customers are loyal and repeat customers. We also work with, and sponsor, charities and social enterprises that are important to us.
Online, we utilize Facebook and Facebook advertising, E-mail, Twitter, SEO, Mobile and Couponing. We also work with food bloggers in Hong Kong to have them try out our products and detail their experience to their online followers.
Lastly, we are actively leveraging print and digital media to spread the word about our brand and speak to old and new customers alike.
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