For my very first guest for the ‘Meet’ category, we have Shakib Pasha from Hong Kong to talk with us on his business ventures and on growing into a leader. Entrepreneurs, particularly those who are interested in starting a business in the dining and beverage industry, may find a helpful tip or two.
Bold = Ryan
Normal = Shakib
Tell us about your story.
I was born in Bangladesh but was raised in Hong Kong for most of my life. While growing up, I attended an international school and then went to Los Angeles for university, majoring in Leadership. I’m now working in my family business of commodities trading and am engaged in multiple projects. During my spare time, my go to hobbies would be basketball, listening to music, and drinking.
Awesome! I know you’ve started some businesses, perhaps you could tell us what inspired you to begin these ventures?
I’ve always wanted to open my own restaurant. If you know me well enough, you know that I’m obsessed with food – how food is made, the costs behind it etc. I was interested in bringing new products to Hong Kong. At first, I wanted to focus on ciders, but through my business connections I met my partner Shaheen who was interested in beers, so together we decided to create a craft beers and ciders business. To be honest, we didn’t really do much research when setting up; we just went ahead and started contacting breweries for samples and asking experts we knew and food bloggers for advice. The whole process was very straight forward; people were very accepting of our concept.
What do you think of the current HK dining / beverages scene?
It’s seen a huge improvement in the past 2 years. Unfortunately because the rent in Hong Kong is high, it prevents people from taking risks. Because of this, there lacks establishments that are willing to bring new, different, or unique products or ideas to Hong Kong. In fact, because of the high risks involved, the industry is predominantly an oligopoly.
What challenges or tough situations have you faced so far?
I would probably say managing people and managing time.
And something you have learned from starting a business?
The confidence with talking to strangers and calling people to tell them what we want. It’s benefited me on every aspect of my life, not just in my business.
What’s been the most effective way for persuading or influencing people?
I find that giving people the chance to voice their opinions is significant. When you listen to them, they will listen to you. And also, being patient. Not in the sense of waiting longer than you expected, which of course is also important, but in the sense that even during stressful and pressure situations you should take your time to think properly. Lastly, having and proving your knowledge has been effective in demonstrating your credibility.
How do you make life exciting for you?
By having lots of project ventures, lots of hobbies, and traveling.
What’s your motto? And no it cannot be YOLO.
I forgot the exact quote, but my dad said business opportunities are like the ocean, they are both endless. What’s more important is deciding on where you want to go.
And I believe you have a second business that’s about to begin? Why don’t you tell us about that as well?
This time, my partners and I are starting a restaurant concept. It’s going to be focused on food that plays on Asian street food. We want to create a neighborhood vibe for it while serving quality food and drinks that’s not normally available in Hong Kong. It’s going to be my first restaurant project so I’m pretty excited about it. We’ve already had customers taste our food at PMQ and we’re probably going to do some pop ups before our actual restaurant opens. I’m also really excited since the menu has been curated by my two partners and myself.
Awesome stuff! Shakib’s new restaurant, Mrs. Pound, will be opening in September in Sheung Wan so stay on the look out! In the meantime, you can order craft beers and ciders from his company, BestBev, at this website – http://www.bestbevhk.com. For his family business Shun Shing Group, you can visit this website – http://www.ssgil.com/.
Update (Oct. 12, 2014) – Mrs. Pound will be having its soft opening this coming Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014. Be sure to check it out at 6 Pound Ln.
*originally published on July 30, 2014