To mark International Women’s Day on 8 March, we asked you for nominations of female entrepreneurs or businesswomen whose work, projects, attitude or perseverance you admired. In part two of our story, we meet LAVISHA BALANI and RAJVI JHAVERI who run a marketing agency in Hong Kong called Social Baos.
Where are you from and how long have you been in HK?
Lavisha: I’m from Hong Kong! I went to Boston for my undergraduate studies before returning home.
Rajvi: I was born and raised in Kobe, Japan; after studying at university in New York, I moved to HK in 2018.
Tell us about Social Baos.
We started Social Baos (@socialbaos) in 2020 with a singular mission – to help small to medium-sized businesses build their brand presence. The rise of the digital/ social world, paired with a global pandemic, created a gap in the market. Small businesses couldn’t allocate their budget to large agencies or risk working with an assemblage of smaller agencies. That’s where we came in, at the intersection of quality and affordability.
We curate content (posts, stories, reels) on all social media platforms, manage influencer and media collaborations, design marketing collaterals, coordinate events and brand projects – a one-stop shop for all.
When we first launched, we garnered clients by pitching door to door around our neighbourhood. Three years later, we have built a team of young talent and worked with around 20 clients. Our next growth phase involves deepening our core competencies into SEO/SEM services and diversifying our client base.
What’s your biggest achievement so far?
The public launch of our company. We hosted a brand-sponsored pop-up event where we showcased our 2022 planner alongside our clients’ products and services, and other small businesses in similar fields. The event created meaningful connections with influencers that continue to partner with us today, captured the attention of other brands who are now our clients, and most importantly, created a forum and network of small, independent businesses.
Any particular challenges you’ve faced as women entrepreneurs in HK?
Perception and stereotypes are our biggest roadblocks. Clients are often taken aback to see two girls as the founders of Social Baos. Their natural instinct is to assume inexperience and question. But that only encourages us to prove ourselves with our work and ultimately build a trusting relationship with our clients.
What advice would you give other women starting a business of some kind?
Don’t limit yourself before trying – and keep trying despite failure! The biggest challenge is to stop caving in to all of the reasons why you should not do something and to finally surrender to why you should do something. Then, to understand that success is not a one-shot deal; it’s a journey filled with ups and downs and you need to buckle in for the ride. We strongly believe that input equals output. If you put 100 percent in, you’ll receive 100 percent back.
What are you excited about for 2023 and beyond?
We are excited to strengthen our flywheel. Our clients inspire and fuel our content and our content in turn attracts new clients and the flywheel keeps turning.
On the client side, we hope to onboard clients in different fields, particularly in the health and wellness space, and clients in international cities, namely Mumbai and Dubai. On the content side, we hope to take on more branding projects, host more workshops and collaborate with local businesses to host a variety of pop-ups to strengthen our community
We hope you enjoyed our International Women’s Day story. Read more in our Living in Hong Kong section.
This article first appeared in the Spring 2023 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.