Gemma Soames and Tamsin Bradshaw chat with us about the challenges of setting up a start-up, and how they're connecting Hong Kong to international luxury living.
Find Love Buy is the brainchild of former fashion features director at The Sunday Times in London, Gemma Soames, and the former editor of Hong Kong Home Journal, Tamsin Bradshaw. The shoppable magazine and website curate the best design, lifestyle and fashion products from around the world so that customers in Asia can click and buy what they love. Launched simultaneously with the “See now, buy now” movement – Find Love Buy is a new exciting shopping platform that lets you shop the world.
When did the company get started, and what inspired you?
Find Love Buy launched in full last month after over a year’s planning and development. Both of us have had long careers in traditional media, and over the years we’ve both developed great relationships with and a passion for fabulous brands and designers. We both became increasingly focused on what was happening with content and retail online, we saw an opportunity to really connect the two here in Hong Kong, and we went for it.
What was your biggest challenge in starting Find Love Buy?
Our biggest challenge was probably time. We both still write on a weekly basis for international publications, each of us has young families (three children under three between us), and carving out space in our week to dedicate to a startup was not easy, to begin with. However, over time we’ve learnt that it just has to take precedence. Nothing fabulous ever happened by accident.
It also took us quite a while to find the right fit in terms of design and development. We met with lots of people both here in Hong Kong and abroad, and we definitely had a couple of false starts. In the end, we found Sena Wakabayashi and her firm Essentials, who were just brilliant at taking our idea and developing it alongside us as we grew. We learnt a lot from them during the development process, and we’re still learning from them now the site is up and running: we’re tweaking it as we go. Building a website is a process that doesn't really end.
How does Find Love Buy differ from other online shopping platforms?
Find Love Buy is a digital, shoppable magazine. We connect consumers with our personal edit of designers, products and brands – all of which we handpick to feature on our site. We are more than just a shopping platform – we provide people with tips, ideas and inspiration as well as access to the products they need to make it happen. We find it, you love it, you buy it.
How has your previous experience given you an insight into the Hong Kong market? How does this marketplace differ from others?
As journalists covering fashion and design, we are used to keeping our fingers on the pulse and keeping on top of consumer trends. Both of us have always loved discovering new designers and brands, finding out the stories behind them, and taking those to our readers. With Find Love Buy, we can now follow that process all the way through to purchase.
Here in Hong Kong, there is a huge amount of development in the creative space right now. Up and coming designers and new online retailers are cropping up all the time. But the marketplace doesn’t necessarily have a platform – either retail or media – on which to showcase them all. That’s where the real opportunity lies for us. Then there’s the fact that in Hong Kong, online retail is still really on the rise, and the possibilities linked to that are massive.
How has the ‘See now, buy now’ movement changed the way people shop?
It’s revolutionised it. Now, when people come across a designer who strikes a chord or a product that really appeals, they expect to be able to access that immediately and with no fuss – regardless of season, shipping, price or location. With that, however, has come a very crowded landscape. What we do at Find Love Buy is cut out a lot of the noise.
What does luxury mean to you, and why should those seeking luxury products turn to Find Love Buy?
For us, luxury is in the details. It’s about finding something beautiful, carefully thought-out and well worth your attention and money – and preferably not something absolutely everyone else is going to have, either. On Find Love Buy, we introduce you to designers you might not have come across yet but whose stories are well worth telling. We show you how to take the things everyone wants right now, but work them into your life your own way, and we give you access to the online marketplace while casting an editor’s eye over the process.
What would you like to do with Find Love Buy in the future?
There are so many brilliant brands we’re familiar with that are longing to communicate with the audience in Hong Kong in a more direct way, plus there’s a global audience that’s really keen to know about exciting Asian design. There’s endless scope still in the connection between content and commerce here in Asia. At Find Love Buy, we intend to be at the heart of all that. Now that we’re up and running, we want to focus on giving our readers added value through special offers, digital trunk shows and collaborations with a handpicked selection of brands and retailers. We have plans to extend our reach and want to develop a dedicated site for China as well as catering to different regions in Asia with their own specific content.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
In the process of setting up Find Love Buy, fellow female entrepreneurs advised us to learn how to do what needs doing ourselves, wherever possible. There’s an incredible and ever-developing ecosystem in Hong Kong that supports the startup scene and we’re very reliant on it, but we’re learning that it’s important to have a good grasp of the task at hand before delegating it out to someone else. That, and staying true to the old adage, ‘You will miss all the shots you didn’t take.’ It might be a bit of a cliché, but for us, it rings true. We haven’t always felt entirely ready for the next step, but at some point, you’ve just got to take it. And when we have, we’ve learnt some amazing things mid-leap.
Photography by Michaela Giles
(Second from left) Silk flowers by Amaranthine Blooms
Original article written by Rebecca Cairns for Hong Kong Tatler