Tradition with a new twist
For many years, tourists have embraced the meaning behind the lucky buns. When they saw chefs putting red stamps on the buns at the store, they were curious to try that themselves. In response, Martin tried ordering a batch of mobile phone accessories with small “peace” logos to be sold in the store; surprisingly, they sold fast during the Jiao Festival. Over the years, Martin has become more confident about adding modern elements to the lucky buns. He hopes to promote the buns even further, based on his experience in business and his affection for Cheung Chau.
And that’s why Martin decided to resign from his full-time job and devote his full attention to the family business. “I didn’t even inform my Dad of my resignation; he always felt that I would have a brighter future outside and that it was a waste to come home and take care of the bakery. Dad was surprised to learn about my decision, but he still supported me.”
Yet, it was not easy to return to Cheung Chau from the commercial world. First of all, Martin needed to study the recipes of the lucky buns as well as other cakes and pastries sold in the store. “When I came back to help in the past, I didn’t have to think about the ingredients, the whole operation, and so on: you just do whatever you are told. However, everything was much more serious now that I was running my own business. I burnt so many cakes at the beginning, too!”
He found that mastering the techniques in pastry making is not the most difficult task. “My wish is not just to make good lucky buns: instead, I hope to explore more partnership opportunities to achieve more exposure for Kwok Kam Kee and our products. These negotiations are often more tiring, especially when they can only be done after opening hours.” Fortunately, Martin has been making headway: last year, Kwok Kam Kee successfully partnered with a cartoon brand to launch Hello Kitty and Gudetama lucky buns. Meanwhile, other side products have also been released, such as Hello Kitty lucky buns keychains, which have proved very popular. This year, Martin worked with another cartoon brand on producing different products of Spiderman and got very positive response as well.
“I have a dream that one day, Kwok Kam Kee will become the name for lucky buns that is recognised throughout Hong Kong and even abroad. So, when it comes to lucky buns and the Bun Scrambling Competition, people will also think of Kwok Kam Kee,” Martin concludes. We are also very much looking forward to that day!