Cover Courtesy of Baea

Meet the Hong Kong-based design entrepreneur focusing on natural bedding that champions sustainability and small artisans

Over the last five years, the idea of sleep being “the new luxury” has been documented everywhere from Vogue to The Wall Street Journal, as well as in Tatler. Sleep, in fact, isn't a status symbol but a biological need. However, with increasing stress and anxiety, more and more of us aspire to sleep longer—and better.

Entrepreneur Adah Chan, who founded homeware brand Baea last year, decided to focus on bedding not only because of the growing importance placed on rest but also due to her roots.

Born in Hong Kong to a family that’s worked in the design industry for more than three generations, Chan was exposed to exquisite craftsmanship from a young age. Her grandfather Poon Yan ran a textile manufacturing company, and her mother Christine Chan evolved the family business into retail in 1985 opening the Bed & Bath luxury housewares brand, which has a boutique at Landmark Prince’s Building.

Growing up, Chan always loved visiting factories, calling them “places where the magic happens”. “I’ve always been really fascinated by how things are made. The most interesting aspect for me is how design becomes a product,” she says. 

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She spent her 20s sourcing linens in Asia and Europe for the likes of Ralph Lauren Home, then left the industry for a while to dabble in food and hospitality. Baea was a homecoming of sorts, both to the trade and to Hong Kong, where she moved permanently from Canada in April 2020.

“I’ve realised how cool it is to start a company in something you grew up in. The foundation is laid, and I know the product well, so I’m more confident on how to bring it to the next level,” says Chan.  

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The name Baea is inspired by her childhood home in Hong Kong located between Repulse Bay and Deep Water Bay, and it also alludes the company’s pursuit of sustainability. Chan and her design director, Catherine Reeves, spent more than a year choosing the best organic fabrics to create their bedding line.

“It’s very important as the fabric is the canvas from which we build the design around,” she says.

 

Baea’s sheets are made of organic cotton from Portugal and Italy, certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard. The collections are rooted in nature—from the designs of rocks and meadows to the plant-based buttons used to adorn the sheets.

The brand also works with embroiderers from the Philippines as well as artisans like Madda Studio to create accessories and other home textiles. “I believe that making things that last is a big part of sustainability today,” she says. “I got this philosophy from my mother.”

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Launching a business during a pandemic is a challenge for any entrepreneur but in some ways starting out in 2020 was beneficial as people were spending more time in their homes and investing in their decor.

Last November, Chan ran a successful pop-up called Home Rituals with other like-minded brands. This month, Baea is collaborating with Asaya at the Rosewood Hong Kong on another pop-up called Dream along with brands At Liberty and Sol in a bid to showcase how sustainable design can improve well-being. 

“Returning to Hong Kong as an entrepreneur has been fascinating,” she says. “It’s a city where things can happen fast, if you put your mind to it. I feel really supported by the creative community here.”