Lilia, 21, is currently studying a bachelors degree in Cultural Studies, and is the co-founder of Awitchhandmade. Lilia and her sister started the skincare brand at the end of 2014. The business was firstly founded online, and later rented a place in Causeway Bay, and they had their first real retail shop. Awitchhandmade is one of the few local shops selling breast milk soap, and was interviewed by AM730 because of this.
The reason why Lilia and her sister wanted to start this shop was because their family are all born with sensitive skin, and the normal skincare products contain chemicals that cause irritation. They started to make natural soap at home, and found it very suitable for them to use. They felt like they needed to provide something natural and new in the market for people with sensitive skin, with an affordable price and a choice of sustainable consumption. In Hong Kong, it is still rare to find 100% natural skincare products which are hand-made. But in Taiwan and Japan, people are already doing it.
Her job is to do everything in the shop, because it is a small business. She needs to fill the stocks, reply to inquiry and participate in local handicraft markets to sell the products.
She had a few jobs before helping the business. After the DSE examination, she was a salesperson in a boutique, and after that she was a promoter for a skincare brand.She also tried jobs like handing out leaflets, typing transcripts and tutoring in interest classes.
She likes her current job in the shop, but she would like to try something new after graduation. She is not a very ambitious person, but she feels like there’s a lot of possibilities for her future career.
The most difficult part of setting up the business is that there are legal issues to deal with. Getting a license is very complicated and time consuming. Another difficult thing is to reply to customers from different backgrounds, and sometimes it is exhausting to answer questions that doesn’t make sense. Also, she finds it hard to balance the time between schoolwork and running the shop with her sister.
The happiest part is going to the local handicraft markets and meeting other craftsmen. She encountered people who draw tattoo stickers, postcards and so on. It is very inspiring to see that all the shop owners support each other in the handicrafts industry. She likes making friends with the craftsmen, she already met some friends who make hair accessories, leather goods and they still keep contacting each other.
It is rewarding, not because of the money but she can learn a lot, like how to run a shop’s social media account and how to design the packaging. Marketing is not what she studies in school but through the business, she can learn how to design her products with a colourful, childlike and cute image. In fact, the whole package design is done by her, and she decided to pick the environmental friendly material, thinking of what the customers will like. She is very proud of her idea of giving out a foam net with every product purchased, and her sister described her idea as ‘genius’. These skills are not something she can acquire in university.