Whenever we feel tired or bogged down with work, we think to ourselves: WWKPD? What would Kevin Poon do? The 40-year-old creative entrepreneur doesn’t just have his finger on the pulse: he is the pulse. A DJ, a co-founder of streetwear label Clot, retailer Juice, distributor District, gallery WoAW and public-relations firm Social Capital (to name a few), he has embraced fashion, art and music all under the umbrella of one incredible and unabating career path.
Then there’s his collection of restaurants: Elephant Grounds, Morty’s, La Rambla, WagyuMafia, The Diplomat and Mashi no Mashi. Does he ever sleep? Probably not. In July, Poon and his wife Fiona McLeish welcomed a baby boy, making Poon busier than ever, but he isn’t complaining. “Being a dad is really awesome. Our son, Cali, is super cute. It has definitely been tiring, but when you see him and he’s this small little nugget, it’s pretty rad. We’re really blessed and so thankful for everything,” he says.
Read all about why the humble entrepreneur still doesn’t feel he’s “made it”, his most notable career obstacle to date and why he has no time for regrets.
Describe what you do in one sentence.
Well, on my LinkedIn profile it says that I’m a cultural entrepreneur, so for lack of a better title, I’d say that’s what I am.
How does your business make a difference?
I always try to bring positive energy to everything and anything that I do. Whether it’s bringing awareness to certain things that I believe in, like vegan food or dog-friendly cafes, or creating awareness about my cultural heritage. My team and I don’t think about [how we are making a difference] in the traditional sense, we just try to be positive in everything we do.
What do you put your success down to?
I think it’s a gradual process. The more I learn about life, the more I realise I don’t know anything. In a small place like Hong Kong, the question is how do you stay positive, happy and motivated? I think connecting to gratitude and constantly reminding yourself that you are blessed is really important.
In terms of work, I don’t think we are successful in the grand scheme of things. There are so many people out there who are doing bigger and better things. I’m just happy to have the opportunity to do what I love. There are different measures of success. Some people measure financial success while others value spiritual success. The most important thing is that if you love what you do, keep at it every day. Success doesn’t comes overnight; I’m still striving for it every day. It’s the little changes you make on a daily basis that keep propelling you forward.
What are the top three ingredients for a successful business?
1. Having a vision and having a point of view of what you want to do and where you want to go.
2. Having a great team is key to any type of business success.
3. Having something you stand for, like good morals, that will guide the decisions you make.
Do you have any mentors? If so, who are they and what is the best piece of advice they have given you?
I have a lot of mentors who I look up to and respect a lot. My mom, Mary, taught me from an early age about work ethic and how important it is; Joel Chu, the creative director of [marketing company] Communion W, was also one of my mentors growing up. Wing Shya taught me a lot about photography. I try to have mentors in every field. I think everyone can be a mentor and it’s important to have people to bounce ideas off of.
I don’t have a mantra or anything, but my one piece of advice is never to give up. Many people I’ve encountered lately say that they try something for a few months and then give up. I think people give up too early. If you have something that you feel passionate about, don’t ever give up on it.