The after 80s young tea specialist alumnus Ng Wai Fat (Class of 2010, BSc in International Business), who obsessed with tea and proficient in Chinese and Japanese tea, is the first person from Macao to be awarded a certificate from Edosenke – a renowned Japanese tea ceremony school. In 2014 he opened a Tatami-style tea shop “Tealosophy” with his friends; this year he expanded the business by opening a take-away-tea shop “Tealosophy Tea Bar”. Justin is contented when facing the severe competition coming from the coffee shops which is now very popular in the market. “I just want to focus on promoting tea culture.”
First Experience of Starting a Business
Did you still remember the “Regime House” located on the first floor of the Tai Fung Building in the old campus? This is where you always found long waiting queue, Justin is one of the founders of the shop. He recalled his experiences about the first days of his starting-up experience. “I joined a business plan competition organized by the University with my friends and finally won the right to operate this café rent-free. By then I have started promoting food product made with tea.” Although the business only ran for a short while, he realized that he couldn’t operate without endeavor and tolerant. This experience also gave him a chance to accumulate experience and confidence that helped him to start his own business later.
Joining Competition to Enrich Experience and Skill
Joining competition accompanied Justin along his entrepreneur journey and it is also the best way to enrich experience and polish operating skills. After the first start-up experience, Justin did not rush into business but chose to accumulate social experience by working in a human resources company and bank marketing department respectively. It was not by accident that Justin joined a business plan competition later and he won again with his skill and past experience. With the prize of an annual rent-free contract for a shop, he started his second business by opening a gift shop in partnership. But he soon found out that it was not what he had wanted and got fed up with the distractions caused by doing two jobs. Upon the expiry of annual rental contract, Justin decided to close his gift shop and engaged his spare time in learning Japanese tea and planning his future. Justin took a year to rest and finally he chose to do what he loves and decided to start his tea business. “Actually the competition is a mean of knowledge accumulation and through which you will have better understanding of your strengths and value. If you are not so sure what you can do, just go ahead to try. You’ll never know what you are capable of if you never try. It is not necessary to start up and business even you have a clear goal. Do what you want to do always comes first.”
Starting a Business Is Just the Beginning; the Challenge Is Yet to Come
Starting a business is always more difficult than you can imagine. Managing business is the biggest challenges to all entrepreneurs. With its Tatami-style design, promotion via social networking platform and positive comment from customers, Tealosophy has successfully caught customers’ attention. With customer size growing steadily, the shop eventually attained media coverage from local and Hong Kong. From interior design, goods purchasing, packaging, product development to social networking promotion, Justin did everything by himself and saved recruiting and advertising expenses. “I was able to breakeven after operating for a year. Apart from drinking tea, we provide tea appreciation classes and calligraphy classes to trigger more customers. I even got an opportunity to expand business in Hong Kong recently, but I want to focus more on local market. My future plan is to launch 4 to 5 branches in Macau.” Even though Justin attached his success to his good fortune and kind support from his family and friends, he is working hard to ease every piece of fortune comes to him. For the young people who are starting business, Justin emphasized the importance of identifying one’s goal. “Before making a decision, you should ask yourself if you have perseverance to carry on, what you want to do and what to achieve. Once you start running your business, you should always keep the faith and stick to it,” Justin said.