Quietly nestled on the third floor of a walk-up building, the 800-sqft space of A Beautiful Store, with its soaring, three-metre-high ceilings, showcases a variety of everyday products sourced by Wallis Leung from all over the world.
“We don’t import products from overseas regularly – it’s not difficult to catch up with trends, but they’re just a fad,” says Wallis, a former fashion buyer.
“At A Beautiful Store, we care for sustainable and long-lasting quality designs instead of fast fashion, as exemplified by durable cooking paper imported from Japan, exquisite ceramics by Danish designer Anders Arhoj, Brooklyn-based Bellocq Tea Atelier’s fine tea, Swedish perfume house Agonist Parfums’ scents and more. It’s our mission to create our own ambience, something that hasn’t been done before, for people who genuinely appreciate our philosophy.”
Wallis smiles as she takes a sip from her Astier de Villatte mug, one of her best-selling brands in the store. “Living in fast-paced cities like Hong Kong, people tend to dedicate most of their time to work; they hardly ponder the beauty and story behind daily objects,” she says. “For example, most people wouldn’t know the manufacturing process and labour conditions behind the mugs they use at work. We want to bring a conscience and long-lost aesthetics back into daily life.”
As refreshing as the sleek minimalist interior design employed in the space, Wallis took an unconventional approach to the business that sets it apart from the rest, with intentionally hidden locations for its outlets (including, previously, a rural area in Tai Po), as well as a laid-back marketing strategy. “People who truly love what we sell will make the effort to find us,” says Wallis.
She continues, “Plus, it’s important for them to see and touch the products themselves, which is why we don’t provide shipping service. Some might not understand our strategy, but to me it’s not about making a fortune. I feel privileged to be able to turn my passion into a business and operate it the way I want. I hope whoever comes in here will feel the same way I do.”
A Beautiful Store is at 194 Prince Edward West, Mong Kok.
A version of this article originally appeared in our March 2018 issue.
Photography: Edgar Tapan