We have a little crush on Emma Kwan and her awesome new online shop 360 Health & Fitness. The site has one of the best collections of wellness brands we have seen in recent months, many of which are new to Hong Kong (she brought us Moon Juice!). We wanted to know more about how Emma got into the business of health and why she started her company. Below we get up close and personal with the new mum, health coach, personal trainer and #wellpreneur.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you ended up in Hong Kong?
I’m originally from the UK. I’ve been in the health and wellness industry since the age of 22, when I started working in a health food shop. I’ve always been interested in healthy living. My mum was into all of it before it became trendy and I’d read her books about juicing, healthy eating and crystals! I remember giving a presentation on aromatherapy oils in my English class when I was 14 so I was definitely curious about the whole wellness thing from a young age! Over the next 12 years I worked as a sports masseuse, personal trainer and raw food chef. I even had my own juicing business. I was 34 years old when my husband walked into a juice bar at a Bikram yoga studio. Five months later, we were engaged and within a year, on our way to Hong Kong!
What made you want to start an online health & wellness shop?
After working in the juice bar, I set up my own juice delivery business. It was very popular (this was four years ago now and there were no juice bars in the area of the UK where I lived). I decided that I wanted to replicate the idea in Hong Kong. Very naively, I thought it would be easy and assumed the produce would be cheap here! Then I arrived and realized organic produce costs double or more compared to regular produce, and that trying to deliver the juices in Hong Kong wouldn’t be as simple as it was in the UK. So I scrapped the juice idea.
I’ve always been a bit of a product junkie, a combination of a shopaholic and health enthusiast! When I arrived in Hong Kong, I saw that none of my favorite products were available. Fast forward three years of me filling my suitcase every time I went home and excitedly recommending products to friends who loved them too. It seemed a natural progression to start an online shop so everybody could enjoy my preferred brands.
How do you select the products you carry? Where did you find them?
A lot are products are ones I used when I lived in the UK. I did a great deal of testing: trying A LOT of different brands and products that I was recommended or that I found at health shops. The American brands like Moon Juice, Deborah Organics’s Clay Toothpaste and LivOn Labs’ Vitamin C are products that I kept hearing about and reading about over and over, so I was compelled to find out what the hype was about and wouldn’t you know it, they lived up to it! The site also showcases products I’ve needed to find since coming to Hong Kong that I didn’t need so much before…products like mosquito repellent, sunscreen and a natural deodorant that actually works in this heat!
Do you have a criteria for the products you choose?
My main criteria is that I have to have used them/tried them myself. Most of the products on the site are ones that I have in my cupboards at home: nut butters, snacks, baby food, supplements etc…They are the products I use every day.
Tell us about the some of the brands. Why did you choose them?
Before starting the online shop, there were two products I was bringing in and selling on various Facebook groups, namely the Coco Jack and the Biona Flavourless Coconut Oil. I started to do so because I kept hearing the same questions come up: “What oil should I use to cook? I want to use coconut oil but I don’t like the taste.” and “How do you open a coconut?” I just wanted to help solve the problem, so I found those two first products and that’s where it all began. Other brands, like Pip & Nut nut butters or Doisy & Dam chocolate, are the kind of products that you fall in love with and want everyone to try.
Was it hard to convince the brands to have you represent them?
Not as hard as I thought it would be. A lot of the brands came back with an immediate yes after seeing the other products I had on the website. They were happy to be seen alongside other great products.
What are some of the brands you are working on bringing in the coming months?
Well, it’s just a case of going through my cupboards at home one product at a time! Next will be Seggiano Raw Pesto, which I’ve used for about four years now. Everybody who tries it absolutely loves it. The basil is harvested by hand and watered with spring water. I love companies who strive for the best quality they can and Seggiano is a great example of that philosophy.
I also have some pastas going up on the site next week. Really Healthy Pasta is available in Buckwheat and Flaxseed, Red Lentil, Black Bean, Chickpea and Mung Bean. I found these when looking for a gluten free pasta for my little boy. He’s going through a fussy stage but he always loves these with the pesto and some grated cheese on top.
What are some of the challenges you have faced as an online entrepreneur?
Not having enough time. I’m waiting for someone to invent a 36-hour day! I already have a part time business teaching healthy cookery classes for domestic helpers, and then there’s my 15-month-old son who only wants mummy ALL DAY LONG!
It’s also hard having to do everything myself at the beginning: marketing, design, photography, social media, website, book keeping, ordering, arranging shipping, packing and sending- it’s all me. I do have a VA (virtual assistant) now which has probably saved me 15 hours a week in YouTube tutorials on how to fix things on WordPress!
Can you share some wellness tips with our readers?
I’m always looking for ways to upgrade the nutrition profile of my family’s meals by adding a few extra ingredients. A smoothie is great as you have a base to build off, and you can easily throw in quite a few extra ingredients without really noticing too much difference in the taste. Having a banana or apple snack? Dip it in nut butter and sprinkle with bee pollen. Add seeds and berries to your porridge. Add a handful of goji berries to your cup of hot water. Use bone broth as a base for a soup and sprinkle some nori flakes on top before serving. I’ve even added spirulina to ratatouille! Finally, try not to be too hard on yourself. All or nothing thinking is counter productive. Just try to do your best at each meal but remember that it’s hardly the end of the world if you pop into a 7-Eleven and can’t resist a Kinder Bueno once in a while.
All images courtesy of Emma Kwan & 360 Health & Fitness.