Entrepreneurs Kayla Wong and Kenji Wong on choosing InnoCell’s innovative facilities
By: Hill Choi Lee
March 10, 2023
As Asia’s business hub, Hong Kong is constantly attracting creative entrepreneurs to its shores. With the built-up of such a vibrant community hailing across industries from business and finance to innovation and technology, Kayla Wong and Kenji Wong are two outstanding examples of how the city’s entrepreneurial spirit continues to flourish. They reveal to Hill Choi Lee their insights on teamwork, collaboration and the power of creativity
Few places in Hong Kong bring together a new generation of innovative entrepreneurs into a tight-knit Innovation and Technology (I&T) community. The multi-functional spaces and facilities at InnoCell, a co-living residential building within Science Park also available for short-stay and MICE bookings, provide the perfect backdrop to entrepreneur Kenji Wong and business owner Kayla Wong.
The latter is the founder and creative director of the ethical fashion brand Basics for Basics. Kayla Wong is highly recognised in the digital world and is a passionate diversity and inclusion advocate in Hong Kong. She and her team have built their business in sustainability and fair trade for the past seven years using all-natural products.
An established influencer in the ethical fashion sphere, her Instagram shows a loyal following of over 40,000 strong. By all accounts, she is living a fast-paced lifestyle.
“I am someone that likes to fill my time up purposefully,” Kayla Wong says. “I don’t think I intentionally live a fast-paced life. I believe it is quite inevitable in a city like Hong Kong but I do definitely try my best to balance that with time with my family and dogs. I think the best way to balance is to plan ahead and create a schedule that works for you.”
It’s not always just work and no play for this business owner; it is also about creating connections that inspire creativity and innovation. These connections can easily be found in co-working spaces Kayla and her team occupy to do their business.
Kayla says, “The first impression I got when I stepped into InnoCell was how spacious it was. The fact that it is right next to the water gives it a very serene and calming feel. I think being able to work in an environment like this helps one think more clearly and is able to take a step back to relax when needed.”
“I love working in a shared workspace as I’ve experienced working alone before and it does get quite isolating,” she adds. “The best thing about working in a space with other fellow innovators or creatives is that you can always bounce ideas off of each other and there is always the potential for new opportunities to spark.”
When it comes to Kenji Wong, he is a man with many hats and has worked in many different professions – from emcee work to finance.
“My family has taught me since I was a child to take advantage of opportunities when they come,” Kenji Wong says. “I used to have nine-to-five jobs. I worked in banking, real estate, and insurance. I was a salesperson, worked in catering, and so on. I found that I should use my limited time wisely to afford more free time.”
One of the first to jump on the career trend as a “slasher”, Kenji reveals that combining more than one role or occupational identity brings out the best of him. Implementing this non-conformist approach to his professional career allowed this multihyphenate to thrive on a professional and personal level – which aligns with InnoCell’s ethos of “Work.Live.Play.Learn”.
Working for oneself means there needs to be a high degree of self-discipline. Kenji adds, “The biggest difference between working part-time and being a boss is that no one will monitor you when you are a boss. Whether your business performance is good or bad is in your own hands. Secondly, you must not be afraid of failure. The biggest challenge in running a business is to keep failing, for which you have to adjust yourself and get back up and move forward, using experience to find your own opportunities.”
Switching over from banking to “slashing”, Kenji found that he was left with more free time than before while earning the same income. So he signed up for courses which will allow him to run his own business while keeping the balance between his career track and personal endeavours.
“Work-life balance also means that every time I finish work, I can spend time on things that bring me joy and take away all my troubles,” Kenji says. With his dog training and wedding planning ventures, and influencer identity (running strong with over 32,000 followers), Kenji is carving out a future with constant self-growth for himself.
One of the ties that connect Kenji’s emcee work with his other endeavours is that his ventures deal with people and inherently rely on wholesome collaborations.
Kayla chimes in, “I love it when very cool collaborations are able to come about when different talents come together! It has the potential to make something that would ordinarily be 2D and make it 4D metaphorically speaking.”
But being part of an ever-evolving multi-talented community has pros and cons. Luckily, the pros outweigh the cons, according to the fashion influencer and brand founder.
“That is because I find when there is more talent, it only means that there are more chances to get inspired by others and to be motivated to be better, I guess the cons would be that it can get quite competitive but I still believe that if we have the right mindset it can only be a force for good,” Kayla explains.
The 17-storey InnoCell has tailored its surroundings for the on-the-go creative community. It offers not only attentive services for those staying, but the building is divided up into different zones to cater towards one’s different modus operandi of the day. As Hong Kong slowly but surely returns to regaining its MICE hub crown with the revival of events and functions, InnoCell’s grounds have become a premier destination for those seeking cool, inspiring venues to organise their next meet-ups.
InnoCell offers the Work Zone with meeting rooms, hot desks, multi-purpose function rooms and an impressive stepped-seating lecture centre for that learner feel. The Play Zone includes interactive Game Zones and a music room, a play room, a reading corner and a lounge and BBQ area. While the Relax Zone provides a space of recreational greenery, a gym, a green indoor and outdoor social space, and a semi-outdoor cross-fit area.
Throughout the property, the community is facilitated with smart features and self-service technologies. Communal kitchens further create a platform for interactions. But if sharing is a bit too overwhelming for the introverted entrepreneur, InnoCell has you covered within its co-living spaces. Its private living spaces are highly conducive for serious alone or “me” time where you have access to an individual mini-pantry, your own living area and a private bathroom. After all, the facilities are put in place for all kinds of individuals to thrive in their own space, time and rhythm.
Both talents travel far and wide for their work – making them reliant on technology and superb facilities to support them in their roles.
Ultimately, it boils down to having the necessary tools in place. “It is great to have the option to stay on location because then ideas can be sparked in between what you normally would call ‘work time’,” says Kayla. “You are able to connect with fellow creatives when you’re more relaxed, and I think sometimes the best ideas come when you’re just having a good time with your colleagues!”
Check out InnoCell for further information.