Although Kelly Ng (伍樂怡) did not place in top three during Miss Hong Kong 2017, the 28-year-old actress was a popular choice due to her beauty and resemblance to Carman Lee (李若彤). Due to the pandemic, her work stream slowed down immensely which motivated the Shameless Youth <青春不要臉> actress to become an entrepreneur and open up her own bagel and fruit jam brands.
Despite dating a rich second generation, Kelly believes in attaining her own financial independence. “I hope to manage my business on my own, and do not want to rely on [my boyfriend]. Besides, this is my concept and he does not have much interest in it. It is enough for him to support me mentally,” she said.
Growing up in Canada, Kelly always loved eating bagels. She was disappointed to find few bagel stores in Hong Kong. “At the time, I sought out my friend, who is a baker, to discuss bagel recipes. I spent half a year preparing for the brand launch. During the soft opening, I realized how many people are similar to me – they love bagels, but have a hard time finding a place to buy them. That is when I realized Hong Kong has a need for this niche.”
To appease to the healthy lifestyle focus of Hong Kong customers, Kelly’s bagels use sourdough bread made from natural yeast fermentation. In addition to being a breakfast item, there are also a variety of savory bagels that office workers can buy for a quick lunch.
At the beginning of her business pursuit, Kelly did not have the funds to hire employees. To minimize costs, she played multiple roles by handling marketing, research and development, design and packaging, as well as delivery.
“At the time, I was on auto-pilot, working like a robot day in and day out. Towards the end, it got too hard, and I had to reach out to my brother to invest and help with funding. I also personally sent boxes of bagels to different restaurants in Hong Kong and negotiated sales collaboration opportunities, hoping to increase my platforms. Because of these restaurants, more people know about my brand!” Kelly said.
Kelly decided to sell her bagels through pop-up stores in various locations including malls, so a wider group of people can continue to try them. “The expenses for opening a permanent store are very high. I have to wait until the business is more established before I consider it.”
Relying on restaurant consignment and word-of-mouth advertisement, Kelly’s bagel brand has attracted nearly 3,000 followers on Instagram.
After starting her bagel brand, Kelly has also launched an online shop selling fruit jam with her elder brother. It was a complementary and natural extension of her bagel business.
Like many celebrities turned entrepreneurs, publicity may be easy to come by, but Kelly continues to dedicate hard efforts to grow her brands and bigger profits.
This article is written by Huynh for JayneStars.com.