Crew Figures, Hong Kong's Mini Me Specialist
You may be new to the term 'mini me specialist'. The niche and unique industry comprises handcrafted, oven-baked miniature clay figures of real-life people and objects. In Hong Kong, few brands are as ubiquitous to mini models as Crew Figures 852 who has been doing it since 2018. The brand offers a quirky and memorable gift for all occasions and has collaborated with Hong Kong PolyU (HKCC) Design Studio as a "Client Project" subject as well as been interviewed by StartChing and ViuTV. For animal lovers and pet owners, we have good news – they also specialise in pet models, with its dedicated pet line Pawsome 852. We speak to the founder Nana Kwong about her adorable figurines and wealth of expertise in the handicraft sector.
Popular Pawsome 852 products include:
Can you tell us about yourself and what you do?
I am Nana, the founder of Crew Figures. I was a flight attendant – that was my first job after graduating from Tourism in 2014. But being a person who is enthusiastic about art made me realise that flying was no longer my dream job, so I decided to resign after 4.5 years of flying and founded the brand Crew Figures. Some people ask whether I quit my job because of COVID-19, but that's not the reason. I came to a realisation that I would rather build relationships with clients by providing controllable services at each step of the process. Apart from managing my online shop, I am also a part-time student majoring in Marketing and Public Relations.
How did you get into your line of work?
I resigned from my job as a flight attendant in February 2019 and I had ideas of giving farewell gifts to some of my colleagues, since our rosters were often varied, so it would be difficult to meet up even just for a dinner. Rather than buying snacks or souvenirs, I thought that a tailor-made gift would be the best choice for expressing my thankfulness. That's when I started Crew Figures.
What is the inspiration behind your brand?
At the very beginning, my idea was to tailor mini-mes for cabin crew to hang as a keychain figure on their handbags or trolleys. It was like a blessing for the crew to have a safe and smooth flight. It quickly evolved and word spread about my brand, with our team receiving orders from all walks of life looking for their own customised mini-me. Crew Figures also aids clients in making their dreams come true! For example, if someone has a fantasy dream of becoming a warrior or a princess, we can tailor this into a handcrafted figure. I would also like to take the opportunity to say a big thank you for all the support from our crew clients since they helped us share the brand with more people.
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What is the best thing about what you do?
It takes at least 10 days to craft, process, pack and ship one single order. A recent order took almost 8 months (Feb to Oct 2021) to finish, since we kept changing the product based on the client's request to make it perfect. We genuinely listen to all of our clients' requirements and try our best to fulfill every detail of the figure as they imagine it. Although it’s impossible to ensure every idea can be turned into reality, there is no greater satisfaction than completing orders and receiving positive feedback from clients.
What are the biggest challenges in your work?
Figurines can be kept for a lifetime, so most of the clients purchase them only once. The majority of our orders are from new clients and this is the biggest challenge we face. Since each client has their own desire and expectations, it can be difficult to fulfill absolutely every individual request sometimes. That is exactly why putting effort into communication is the most crucial element in the whole purchasing process in order to meet requirements from clients. We enjoy chatting with them because that's when new ideas are being generated.
Can you share with us your top recommendations for first timer using your services?
We understand that every client has their own story, therefore we set up nine stages providing a reason for clients to make a purchase. What’s better than a unique personalised gift to express your thoughts? Our designers will discuss the theme, concept, and details before actually handcrafting anything. We are confident that Crew Figures patiently provides meticulously designed creative figurine products in the industry.
You have some exciting projects coming up. Can you tell us more about some of these projects?
For the moment, Crew Figures has no plans for a physical store yet but we will continue to utilise our strong digital presence. Apart from e-advertisements, we like having conversations with potential clients in person in order to promote the beauty of handmade culture to the public. We also regularly join weekend markets in different shopping malls – usually twice a month, so be sure to look out for us!
In CNY 2022, Crew Figures will participate in the event "GO FESTIVAL HK 2022" at Asia-Expo, stay tuned!
Find out more about Crew Figures
All images courtesy of Crew Figures.