Primo Supremo

Andy Wong is the founder and chairman of the Primo Group, one of Hong Kong’s leading creative and design businesses.

Click here to see Andy Wong on video

Can you tell us a little about the history behind the Primo Group of companies, in particular how they have evolved over the years?

I had worked in the interior design field for some five years and learned much about managing such a company. Then, in 2009, my business partner and I felt the time was right to go it alone. Every designer dreams of one day running their own business and making their individual mark. We began with Primocasa Interiors– a full-package interior design company, offering a wide-range of architectural services and technical back up. We decided to carve out our own niche in the luxury residential market. Just like a doctor, we wanted to specialise.

One of the problems I’d encountered along the way was sourcing kitchen equipment that fitted in with my design ethos. As I’d travelled a lot in Europe, I was able to source a number of high-end products that I felt were synergistic with what I was trying to achieve. This led to the launch of Primo Kitchen in 2014. This was the culmination of two full years of research in order to make sure I had got the balance just right.

Aside from the overall design of a luxury home, the accessories are the most important part of the look. A poor choice of decorations can ruin everything, just as bad make-up can spoil a beautiful face. This thinking led us to launch Primo Living in 2015. We now have a team that works with clients to help them choose those decorations that will complement the design as well as each other. These new ventures have both become integral to our overall business model.

Club Primo, one of our more recent ventures, was started almost by accident. One day, while I was out having a drink in Lan Kwai Fong (LKF), a friend asked me when I was going to open a bar of my own. I suddenly thought “Why not?” Our establishment is very different to most of those in LKF. I designed the layout, but also created a special drinks menu, chose the music and worked on the whole ambience. I wanted to create something unique. I think I’ve achieved what I set out to do. Now I am thinking of opening another one.

My latest venture, though, is acting as the pan-Asian distributor a well-known watch brand called Snyper. I was lucky enough to meet the company’s CEO and, after getting to know each other, he asked me to represent the brand for him. We recently opened our first shop in Hong Kong, with a Beijing outlet coming very soon. These are mid-range watches that sell for between HK$60,000 and HK$800,000. We act as the distributor and sell through agents in each region.

How would you define your particular management style?

I like to ensure my team is happy. This means they will perform at their best. We tend to group solve issues so that we are all on the same page. I monitor what’s going on from wherever I am and take care that all parties have everything they need. To me communication – internally and with clients – is absolutely essential.

Which person, living or dead, do you most admire?

I would have to say my parents. Sadly, I can’t spend that much time with them as they live in Toronto. Despite this, we still communicate regularly. I owe them a great deal and, despite the distance, we are very, very close.

What’s the strangest food you’ve ever eaten?

I ate mealworms in China once. I wasn’t keen, but a friend pushed me into it. Actually, it wasn’t that bad. They are quite sweet, which makes it bit easier on the palate. I only ate one, though, and wasn’t tempted to go back for more.

Have you had a near-death experience?

When I was a teenager, I was involved in a horrendous car accident in the deep snow. I smashed my forehead as the car crashed. I was in hospital for about three weeks with a broken leg. It was a real wake-up call and one that really inspired me to make the best of my life. You have to live it to the fullest and not waste the time you’ve been given.

Did you enjoy your school days?

I did. I enjoyed the interaction with all of my classmates. I am quite a social person and always like to be part of a big group. I like company and sharing good times with people. I also enjoyed the learning process and found my studies very satisfying. The seeds of my interest in a design career were sown back then. I was always full of ideas and used to bounce these off my schoolmates, usually taking on board the feedback and suggestions that they offered.

What was the least useful part of your education?

I learned many good things at school. While school doesn’t teach you everything, it is a very good training ground in how to apply those things you learn in later life. I suppose most of what I learned early on has helped in some way or another, particularly with regard to formulating ideas, analysing problems and making the right decisions.


Do you have a favourite colour?

Personally, I like black. Of course, being a designer I also like a wide range of other colours, but my first love would always be black. If I buy a car, it’ll be a black one. I think it’s because I am a guy and want to look cool. I also have a preference for shiny colours rather than mattes.

How would you like to be remembered?

When the time comes, I want all my friends to think of the great times that we had together. I want to be remembered by my family as a good and loving son and I want people to think of me as a happy person, one that was always trying to make others happy too. In terms of my work, I’d like people to remember that I did everything with a 100 percent commitment. I’d also hope that my designs would form part of my legacy.

What is your favourite book?

I like biographies. I found Steve Jobs’ life story very inspirational. He really did change the world. There is also a book called Secret by Rhonda Byrne. It’s all about psychology, self-help, spirituality and the power of positive thinking. It is one of those inspirational books that makes you feel everything is possible if you only want it badly enough.

Would you describe yourself as a sports fan?

Absolutely. I love soccer and I also love ice hockey. I still try to play soccer at least once a week.

When it comes to vehicles, any pet hates?

Motorcycles. I think they’re too dangerous. Having once had a bad accident I am opposed to anything that I feel is dangerous. With a motorcycle there’s nothing between you and the road. There just isn’t any real degree of protection.

When was the last time that you got lost?

I really can’t think. I have a very good sense of direction. Once, when I went jet-skiing way out to sea, I suddenly lost all idea of where I was heading. There were no real landmarks for me to work out my position. I just calmed myself down, tried to figure out where I’d gone wrong, then I quickly regained my bearings. You must always keep cool and not panic when this sort of thing happens.

What do you consider to be the most over-paid profession?

Lawyers. No matter whether they win or lose a case, they still get paid. They also charge you by the minute, even for quick emails and phone calls. It all rather unfair.


Favourite film star?

I think, amongst the Hong Kong stars, it would have to be Jackie Chan. He is so representative of the city. He’s a great all-rounder – a good actor, a great kung-fu star and also a talented comedian. He’s such a good ambassador for Hong Kong. He’s also had far more success in Hollywood than most other Hong Kong actors. I think that says a lot about his abilities.

Which words do you overuse?

“I see.” I reply to everything by saying: “I see.” I can’t really think of how else I could respond when people are trying to explain things. It does sound a bit repetitive and tedious though.

What was the scariest situation you’ve ever been in?

It must have been my car accident. I remember the doctor saying that I might never walk again. I was only about 17 years old and that scared the hell out of me. I might never play football again.

When was the last time you went to the cinema?

Last month. I went to see Room. It is a fantastic film based on a true story. It’s all about a girl who was kidnapped, then kept in a single room for seven to eight years. She had a son while she was kept prisoner. I like to watch a good movie. It really helps me relax.

Are you a good listener or good talker?

I’d say a better talker. Possibly because I have been on management courses to help me lead and inspire people. I am a very organised person and so like to get others doing things. I suppose I like to give orders. I have to talk a lot in my business, explaining my ideas and thoughts. I do listen well to other peoples’ advice and ideas, though.

Do you have a particular saying that resonates with you?

“Congratulations.” I like to use it whenever I can. It really helps to encourage and motivate people. It means so much and costs so little.

Thank You

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