Why did you choose Hong Kong for your pop-up club?
We are very careful about where we take the Boujis brand. Lots of people knock on our door saying ‘open up here,’ but we have to think it through. Hong Kong is in our top 3 of destinations we want to take Boujis, alongside Paris and UAE.
Can we expect a permanent Boujis over here?
Absolutely. We are just dipping our toe in the water for the next three nights – the aim is to open somewhere permanent in the next year or two. We’re looking at various properties at the moment – maybe your readers can help us find somewhere! I don’t want to be a pioneer of a new area – I know people here dislike traveling for more than ten seconds!
How did you originally decide to get into the bar and nightclub business?
I was working in the City and entertaining on a corporate credit card all the time. I got chatting to the owner of a bar one night and said, ‘I’d buy a place like this.’ The next day I got a phonecall saying ‘I hear you want to buy my bar.’ Full of bravado at the age of 27 I bought it for an obscene amount of money and then worked two jobs for 6 months! Working in the City by day and bar tending by night. It paid off but it was pretty close – I was a kid and had no idea.
So Boujis was the next step?
Yes. I knew there was a space near our bar, Eclipse. I went and knocked on the door and did a deal – that simple! It’s a small space – 3000 sq ft in a basement, it’s not an ideal space but it has worked. Property prices out here are very different though. The model in the UK is that rent is 10% of turnover. In Hong Kong, it’s more like 20% or 30%. That’s a challenge – we’re playing with the big boys out here!
Where are you living now?
Cadogan Square in Chelsea – hoping to move into a house 3 doors down! It’ll be a labour of love – it’s 1700 sq ft at the mo and we want to make it 3500 sq ft – which will take about a year. I also have a property in Majorca, Spain and a place in the Hamptons where I got married a few months ago.
What do you think of HK?
I am passionate about the east. Opening here is the right thing to do. Beijing and Shanghai may follow but this is where we will run it from. There’s a lot of vibrancy here! I was at Drop jumping around until 6am at the weekend. The China Club is a sensational room, too. I love being in Hong Kong.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
I didn’t take it but my Dad told me never to take a loan out against my own house. But if you’re going to be an entrepreneur you have to take risks, you have to back yourself. But you need luck on your side. It’s about gambling a little bit.
Quintessentially are bringing top London nightclub Boujis to their charitable pop-up club in Sheung Wan from Thursday 14th to Saturday 16th October 2010 at The Space. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.