In honour of International Women’s Day in March, we’re celebrating the incredible achievements of women around the world, including in Hong Kong. We chatted with half a dozen talented and dynamic female entrepreneurs of different ages and backgrounds about the unique businesses, initiatives and projects they’re involved in here – across fashion, books, homeware, wine, composting and plant -based food! In this instalment, we shine the spotlight on JESS CHUNG, founder of Conceptu Home, an eco-conscious homeware brand.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born and spent my early years in Hong Kong. From the age of 15, I lived in England, studying, earning my qualifications and beginning my journey in the fashion industry. I returned to Hong Kong eight years ago; this is now home.
What’s the business that you recently launched?
I founded Conceptu Home in August 2021, partly due to my observations of the fashion industry’s disregard for eco-consciousness and sustainability. I believe there is a different way, so I created an eco-conscious way of doing business.
At Conceptu, we are nature lovers and passionate about protecting our habitats. We take inspiration from a relaxed, island-living way of life and this is expressed in our products and ideas.
Our ultimate goal is to supply high-quality, natural products that are responsibly and sustainably sourced, reducing our impact on the environment and giving back to those that need it most.
How did you get involved in this line of work, and what does it involve?
After being in the fashion industry for more than 15 years, I’ve seen first-hand the waste of natural resources and exploitation of workers in developing nations; unfortunately, it’s treated as “a part of doing business”.
I manage all operations at Conceptu, handmaking all of our candles, for example, and create all the scents. My typical working day varies, from answering emails and having meetings to making products and creating social media content. But I always start my day with a cup of coffee and my morning breakfast tunes at home!
What are you excited about from a work perspective for 2022 and beyond?
Being part of “the change” – helping people to understand the importance of why we (as a collective) need to change our mindsets in terms of sustainability, eco-awareness and being subconsciously conscious about changing our daily habits.
As a result, we’re expanding into a branding and plastic-free packaging consultancy to help local businesses and charities create eco-conscious branding, packaging and promotional materials. We’re also looking into producing alternatives for the food industry, outside of traditional agriculture, which can reduce waste and save on natural resources.
Any particular challenges you’ve faced doing business in HK? How has the pandemic affected things?
It’s been a nice surprise, actually! People are so receptive towards natural and plastic-free products, and wanting to make a change. I’m also surprised by how genuine and kind my fellow businesses are; everyone is so supportive and complimentary. As for COVID, it hasn’t affected us too much, thankfully, and even with closures we use our time wisely to source and create new products, content and collaborations.
Outside of work, what are your hobbies in Hong Kong?
I’m an ocean lover and I feel very lucky to be surrounded by the sea! I love any water sports – kayaking, wake-surfing, diving and spending my free time on the beach.
Where do you currently live?
I spend my weekdays in Sheung Wan and weekends in Cheung Chau to unwind and be close to the ocean.
What are three things you like about your neighbourhood?
I like Sheung Wan for its creative vibe, community spirit and accessibility. I like Cheung Chau for its island living lifestyle, history and nostalgia (HK’s first fishing community!), and having nature on your doorstep.
Like this? See more in our International Women’s Day series in our Living in Hong Kong section.
This article first appeared in the Spring 2022 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.