Novel Fineries Founder, June Kimberly Lau, has mastered the fine art of bespoke gifting. A trained product engineer, travels around China inspired her to build a bespoke gifting studio. She recalls, “I came to learn about Chinese heritage art forms and crafts. I wanted to create a personalized gift using double sided embroidery that I found in Su Zhou. So I asked the local artisans to help.” This first venture would later make it to Lane Crawford’s call out for new and innovative design ideas. It also served as the foundation to an inspired gifting studio located at the Peninsula Hong Kong, Novel Fineries.
- What keeps you busy these days?
Having 3 businesses keeps me busy, I love to create and seeing initial ideas come to life. Running around the small but compact island of HK surely helps!
- How did you come to find your current career or life’s work?
I was trained as a product engineer, having to travel to visit different factories in China. I've come to learn a lot about Chinese heritage art forms and crafts. I wanted to create a personalized gift using double sided embroidery that I found in Su Zhou. So I asked the local artisans to help. One thing led to another. I made a whole collection of embroidered butterfly wings, which I later branded as pocket art. I entered Lane Crawford's call out and our collection of Embroidered Butterfly pocket art was chosen. In the same year, Novel Fineries was born!
- What is it about your work or career that you enjoy most?
Being your own boss allows for the freedom to create freely, anywhere. I take a lot of inspiration from nature and day-to-day life. This work-life balance is very enjoyable for me.
- What do you consider to be “hazards of the job?”
It is often easy for me to get immersed in the sheer joys of creating a jewellery piece, and forget about costs and budgets. If the piece remains unsold after a period of time, this will create sunken cost. I'm still learning to balance the creative aspect with business.
- For people who aspire for similar careers, what would be your advice?
Instead of jumping into building your own brand, work for brands or companies that you aspire to be like one day. Learn the processes, understand your weaknesses and strengths. Build experience and connections before starting your own brand.
- What are the career milestones that inspire you to break the glass or mold?
Competing in awards has allowed us to fast track our brand awareness. The introduction and popularity of social media also gave us a platform to reach our career milestones.
- How do you balance work and family life? What are activities that enable you to bond with family?
At Novel Fineries atelier we often hold events that allow for families to join and connect. My family joins us at the atelier to learn and create.
- How do you unwind or rewind? Any favorite spots in your current city that you consider as your me-time haven?
I unwind through exercises like yoga or Muay Thai. I enjoy wakesurfing in Tai tam. My favorite part is being in salt water and feeling the warmth of the sun.
- How would you describe your personal style? What are your three wardrobe essentials?
My style is flamboyant yet structured. In my wardrobe there will always be oversized coats, colorblock dresses, and gold jewellery.
- What makes for a good investment piece? Kindly cite examples of pieces in your current wardrobe.
My jewellery box holds some of my favourite pieces in 18K gold. These investment pieces hold their value overtime.
- What do pearls mean to you?
Pearls are about the feminine energy in the water and the natural beauty of the sea.
- What is everyday luxury for you?
Things that I can wear everyday that are made of good quality. A piece that I have an emotional connection to.