Janice Tam has always been working in luxury. But realising there was a need for bespoke branding strategies, she threw herself into entrepreneurship and birthed Crunch Concepts — a creative media and PR agency that informs and impresses.
Name: Janice Tam
Profession: PR and Events
Start up since: 2014
Company size: 6
Tell us about your business. What do you do?
My business is a full serviced branding agency. I started Crunch Concepts because I found it difficult to deliver and tailor the minor details I thought would make a difference to my clients in my previous roles. This is why we cover everything under one roof, stemming from Public Relations and Branding, we also offer Events Management, Social Media, Content Creation, Brand Development and Design, the different marketing services we offer allows us to control and balance the marketing mix, coming up with unique integrated plans that make client’s brands earn the spotlight they deserve.
As a child, what did you aspire to be?
Anything where I can be amongst people or animals.
Tell me about your best and worst day at work?
Being a business owner, I’ve learned that if I’m not busy, there’s something wrong, so over the years, my love for being busy grew! I love being so busy to a point where I don’t even remember whether I’ve eaten yet. It drives me to be better and more efficient, so for me, the best day would be one where we have upcoming events to, new campaigns to strategize and new clients on board for me to learn about. The worst day would probably be the opposite. We all get those days where we woke up on the wrong side of the bed (or with a hangover) and don’t manage to accomplish anything.
What is a normal work day like?
We are a small company, so in a day, I’m the managing director, the account director, the receptionist, the accountant and the janitor. I get into the office around 10am, and from then on, every day’s an adventure. Some days, I’ll be at the client’s business, learning about what they do, the ins and outs of their business, trying to understand everything we can to promote them. Other days, I might be stalking their customers, finding out what they like or dislike about our client. All jokes aside, if we don’t have meetings, we are most likely in the office doing the real work (it’s not all excitement, most of it is probably not, but we make it fun).
What do you do when you’re not at work?
I smother my dog, scuba dive, paint, run and explore (locally and abroad).
What advice would you give to someone looking to start up?
Whether it’s a pro-bono client or a paying one, give them the respect they deserve. They put their trust in you, so don’t break it. Set realistic expectations, and if you happen to be able to deliver above, you will have a happy client. Second thing is, stalk them incessantly! Learn about your client, there’s nothing worst than going into a meeting not knowing what the client is about, what they’re offering.
Looking back now, what would you have done differently?
I would make sure to start off with a strong team. When I first started the agency, I didn’t realize how hard it was to come by good talent. Working with mediocre people can really make or break your business – and your spirit. Thank goodness I was persistent and was eventually able to put together a small team of fantastic people. As a small aspiring agency, every team member needs to be extremely hands-on, having reliable staff is imperative to a thriving business.
What has been your biggest hurdle?
I would say that the last 12 months have been pretty tough. A few of our long-term clients weren’t able to sustain their own businesses anymore, and new business is scarce during times like these.
How did you overcome it?
Doing everything I can and taking every business opportunity that comes our way. Over the last year, I’ve quickly realized that I have to be more hungry, to see opportunities where others may not have seen, and to move before someone else does.
How hands-on are you?
Because we’re still relatively small, I’m involved in everything, actually, everyone is involved in everything. Our team is extremely hands-on, so if one of us were out of the office, someone else could pick right up.
Why Hong Kong?
To me, it’s a place where everything melds together, the east and the west; the large corporations and the startups, there are excellent Michelin star dining, also top quality street food, and everything is just a stone’s throw away, what’s not to love?
What would you be doing if you weren’t doing what you do now?
Hmm… that’s a tough one, I love what I do. I may be operating a dive shop in the tropics or a whisky bar in the most unexpected places.
If you were to invest in another start up, which would it be?
It would likely be an online store. It would be a “proof of concept” for me, whereby I can create a B2C company from scratch. I always market for other brands and products, it will be fun for me to market my own brand.
What are your goals for 2020? And in the near future?
Hopefully, I can create that online store. But aside from that, I hope to catch up from this year’s hiatus and start 2021 strong!
How do you define success? Do you consider yourself being successful?
Success has many measures, but if I were to define success by being able to do what I love, then I’d consider myself successful. Success by the world’s definition, then no, I have a long way to go (still don’t have my private yacht yet.. kidding).
(All images: Janice Tam)
This story first appeared in Prestige Hong Kong.