O-MOON PUTS SOUVENIRS IN A NEW LIGHT
In Rua Cinco de Outubro near the Hong Kung Temple in Macao you will find O-Moon, a souvenir shop with a difference: it mixes culture and creativity. Business there is booming.
The shop was opened in 2016 by three local art aficionados: Jet Wu, Seng Ng and Xenia Wong. The name is derived from the Cantonese pronunciation for the characters that make up the name Macao. The window display contains a three-dimensional model of the moon to catch the eye of passers-by. Look closely and you will see the most famous landmark in Macao, the Ruins of St. Paul’s, represented on the surface. “This is the perfect reflection of our work; always a touch of Macao in everything we do,” says Mr Wu, who designed the model.
The moment you step into the shop, the cosy ambience envelops you. Blue and white are the distinct colours in the interior of the shop, which is neatly decorated with original drawings and prints inspired by blue and white Portuguese tiles and Chinese porcelain.
O-Moon has an array of products that have original designs that shoppers find hard to resist. The products range from stationery to jewellery and from household goods to leather craft. “We carefully source the right products direct from the manufacturers and then improvise with our own designs and modifications. This is how we manage to keep our original products relatively budget-friendly,” says Mr Ng, who explains the process of production and the meaning of the products.
O-Moon also collaborates with other enterprises to come up with new ways of selling traditional Macao souvenirs. For instance, one corner of the shop is stocked with almond cakes, the food souvenir made by Heong Kei Jerky Macao – one of the most traditional souvenir shops in the city – and re-packaged by O-Moon in blue and white.
“Similar to the collaboration with Heong Kei, we are up for different sorts of partnerships,” Mr Ng says. “O-Moon is an open showroom of what we are capable of doing. We look forward to expanding it even further in all possible ways.”
Like other small and medium-sized enterprises, O-Moon has endured difficulties. The shop is largely unknown to the general public and few pedestrians wander down its street. To raise its profile, O-Moon took part in a Christmas market in 2016 and was well-received by the public. It enabled O-Moon to have a better understanding of the market potential and the owners opened a second shop in the more densely populated St. Lazarus district.
O-Moon was set up by putting innovative ideas into action. One source of assistance O-Moon has benefited from is the Macao Cultural Industries Fund. The scheme puts O-Moon products on display at tourist attractions, such as the Taipa Houses-Museum and the Mandarin House, to increase awareness of the brand.
“As long as people get to know us, there are always opportunities for more and for something bigger. That is why we do business with a single vision but by various means,” says Mr Ng.