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Content provided by :  Hong Kong Trade Development Council
 

A Little French Chic

  Narguess Sousi, owner, petit bazaar boutiques
  Narguess Sousi, owner, petit bazaar boutiques

No matter how extensive Hong Kong’s retail offerings might be, there’s always room for new ideas. French entrepreneur Narguess Sousi, founder of petit bazaar children’s boutiques in Central, Wan Chai and Stanley, discovered this after she moved to Hong Kong.

Niche Opportunity

Accompanying her husband on his overseas posting seven years ago, Ms Sousi, a trained speech therapist, used her skills working with French mother-tongue children. After the birth of her daughters, now six and four, however, Ms Sousi struggled to find children’s clothes, furnishings and accessories that satisfied her European sensibilities. Nursery products heavily influenced by cartoon characters or using stereotypical colours to define a child’s gender, were not to her tastes. And, while more brands are introducing children’s lines to Hong Kong, they are mostly in the luxury sector, she found.

“In France, we are very used to stylish and creative goods that are at an approachable price, so we can use our imagination to create our own style. Which is why I had a desire to open my own shop and bring to Hong Kong Parisian chic that is poetic and urban, without the sky-high price tag,” she said.

Unexpected Expansion

The stores are designed in a way that the whole family can enjoy  
The stores are designed in a way that the whole family can enjoy  
Now as a retailer, Ms Sousi tends to stock her store with brands that are stylish and of good quality but, most important, one-of-a-kind. “I also make sure all items I order are not in mass quantity, so my customers can enjoy the unique style,” she said.

The first petit bazaar was established in Central, in May 2010. At the time, Ms Sousi didn’t foresee that she would be opening others. “I wasn’t even sure that one would work. But the shop attracted more customers than we thought, and we decided to open a second shop in a more visible street. That’s how we started to expand,” she said.

A year later, the Wan Chai store opened and, in March, Stanley followed. Each of the three boutiques has a unique personality, while sharing the same philosophy and mission to provide creative and stylish goods for families in an affordable price range and in a European-flavoured environment. The stores’ merchandise is also environmentally friendly and ethically sourced.

Petit bazaar is the exclusive Hong Kong retailer for many of the brands stocked, which include Anne Claire Petit, a fair-trade crochet range hand-made by village women in China; La cerise sur le gateau (a French illustrator); French wooden toy brand Janod; and Oeuf, an eco-design brand from New York city.

Easy Start-up

  Petit bazaar is the sole Hong Kong outlet for many of the brands stocked
 

Petit bazaar is the
sole Hong Kong outlet
for many of the
brands stocked

Ms Sousi found that the process of opening a business in Hong Kong was not difficult, because “everything is made easy” for start-ups. And, in a city that is “such an interesting place for shopping,” her concepts were well received.

“My initial goal was to bring affordable style to Hong Kong, to give parents a choice of quality goods at reasonable prices. Now, our customers are not only Hong Kong parents but, more and more, tourists from around the world.” Like Ms Sousi herself, these shoppers “are mainly attracted by quality and style, who don’t want a boring interior for their kids and are willing to give them a taste of quality and originality.”

As a French entrepreneur whose business concept has found success in Hong Kong, Ms Sousi said others can, too. “It all depends on the idea and the tools to succeed.” Ms Sousi had the former – and Hong Kong offered her the latter.

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