|27 Jan 2022|
|Written by Vera Coetsee|
|Alumni Spotlight Series|
Name: Alice Ming
Graduating Year: 2012
Years at GSIS: 2007 to 2011
University College & Degree: The University of Hong Kong, BBA (Law), LLB
Current city of residence: Hong Kong
Could you introduce yourself a bit (background & profession)?
After graduating from GSIS, I studied at HKU studying BBA (Law) & LLB. I took a gap year after my first degree to work with my family in property management and have been working ever since! I worked whilst completing the remainder of my LLB. After graduating in 2017, I decided to dive in full time after completing both degrees.
You recently launched your co-studying / co-working space in Hong Kong, OONIQUE. Can you tell us more about your business?
Our key goal is to provide the most comfortable space where our users are able to study and work. We have designed different zones at OONIQUE so our users can take a break from work, relax with a drink, sit by the sofa area and enjoy the sunset at OONIQUE! A 9 hour long study day would fly by working at OONIQUE! We offer different hourly/daily/monthly hot desk plans, meeting room/whole venue rental services and printing/scanning/faxing services.
We paid close attention to the details when designing the space to ensure the highest level of comfort. All our sturdy wooden tables are designed to be deeper and wider than most, so our users can have plenty of space for their laptop and books! We installed Eubiq electricity power tracks on our tables with flexible adapters which can be removed and placed anywhere on the track for the convenience of our users. We also use a keyless entry system for our users to be able to enter in and out using an app!
What do you like most about being an entrepreneur?
I am grateful for working with a great team who is always open to new ideas! I enjoy being able to discuss with them about how to make better business decisions and to improve our business model.
As an entrepreneur, every day is a day for learning about what is out there. You have to assess, analyze and bring what is best for your business to the table. The exciting part is about being fully responsible for the decisions that you make and seeing the successful results.
What is the biggest challenge in your career?
The COVID pandemic which had brought the world to a halt was definitely one of the largest challenges. We had to overcome the bottlenecks we had in property management, and spend time doing in-house marketing to gain exposure which was a field we were not familiar with.
Now for OONIQUE, as a new brand established only in Oct 2021, we are trying to increase our exposure using our different social media channels targeting our audience of different international and local students, free-lancers and work from home individuals. Our venue rental bookings have been affected due to the constantly changing COVID situation! We hope that our venue rentals will start to ramp up once COVID is more controlled.
What is your advice for any alumni looking to start their own business?
Planning would definitely be one important part of starting your own business. You would need to draft out a comprehensive plan of the business idea, its feasibility, competitor strategy, competitive advantage, marketing strategy, budgeting. This will help build a strong foundation for your own business.
There are a lot of competitors in every field. For me, it is not about competing with others, but with myself yesterday. There are no shortcuts in life. It is your step-by-step improvements everyday which can lead you to success!
What are your plans for the future?
My vision is for OONIQUE to become a brand known as the most comfortable co-studying and co-working space where you can feel right at home. We hope to expand to different districts in HK as our brand matures.
Tell us about your time as a student at GSIS. What was your most memorable GSIS moment?
There were so many memorable GSIS moments! I still remember so vividly the practice sessions and performances at the IB Hall! Waiting backstage was always exciting whether it was for the choir performance at the annual Christmas concerts, drama performance or singing the Drinking Song at the graduation ceremony!
Which friends or teachers that you met at GSIS have you stayed in touch with?
I keep in touch with many of my GSIS friends from near or afar. Closest friends currently in Hong Kong include Tiffany Hui, Alicia Ho, Johnathan and Jessica Siu.
Close friends from abroad include Pansy Yue currently based in London and Wharton Chan based in Singapore.
I still see the updates of my old teachers on Instagram and Facebook – Mrs Hedda Schuurman, Mr. John Barker, Frau Zieger!
What was your favourite subject at GSIS and was it related to anything you actually ended up doing?
My favourite subject was Maths taught by Mr. Rossington. I enjoyed problem solving in maths and getting the right answer gave me a sense of achievement. I would analyze the question until I got it straight and this applies in making business decisions. You might not make the best plan/decision the first time round; however, you will get it right after a few tries!
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