Hugo Offers Ingenious Door & Wall Cladding Solutions
What’s your story?
I traveled almost half of the earth’s land for a degree in law only to find out my real heart was not in the legal profession. After graduation and a year of law firm experience, I founded a building material start-up, DECO PLUS, which mainly offers innovative doors and finishing solutions for construction projects. I believe consistent innovation is key, I love taking baby steps to make things better instead of trading commodities. That’s why we hire an entire design team just to focus on building up new finishes every single year.
We recently offered a finishing solution to a well-known architectural firm in Hong Kong. Essentially, it solves the problem of not having an authentic yet durable timber finish that can withstand exterior exposure and extreme weathering. Our solution was tested and its efficacy validated and now the construction project is in progress.
What excites you most about your industry?
During my LLB studies in the UK, I stumbled into a wood coating factory. Seeing things in action and built from scratch is truly amazing. It seemed magical to see a plain wooden wardrobe turned into a beautiful masterpiece. It was love at first sight! Since then, the enthusiasm for building material fabrication, especially the finishing systems, has never stopped rocking my soul.
What is your connection to Asia?
I never will get used to its deadly humidity and heat in summer, but I certainly like the busyness of Hong Kong and the overwhelming sensory overload from the bright glowing lights in the night markets. I call it the vibrancy.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Hong Kong for sure. People are diligent and conscientious. It’s often said that there is still the “Lion Rock Spirit” flowing inside our blood, meaning we are not only good at fighting against the downturns in life and the economy but we are united in standing together and supporting one another.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Mr. Ivan Yong, who is a mentor of mine, advised me during the stage when I was struggling with marketing and sales for my start-up. He said, “Actions speak louder than words when it comes to sales and everything.”
Who inspires you?
My mom and dad, who are also entrepreneurs, taught me that nothing is unsolvable as long as it is mentionable and no one is unsellable as long as your product is usable. It is still one of my favorite maxims of all time.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Elon musk recently said that his Neuralink’s implantable chip has received the designation of “breakthrough device” from the FDA, meaning the sci-fi scenes in black mirror are definitely going to happen really soon.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I think I would have benefited from knowing that gratitude and positivity could systematically improve my performance. It is especially true when one is in limbo, which happens all the time because of the cyclical nature of life. So, if I had my time again, I would adopt this mindset to carry me through life’s challenges.
How do you unwind?
Playing basketball and guitar, exercising, and reading help me unwind.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Japan, because I’m a total sushi and Samurai enthusiast.
Everyone in business should read this book:
“50 Philosophy Classics: Thinking, Being, Acting, Seeing: Profound Insights and Powerful Thinking from Fifty Key Books,” by Tom Butler-Bowdon.
This book introduces the 50 classical works from well-known philosophers in clean and neat summaries. It inspires me to question from the ground up.
Shameless plug for your business:
DECO PLUS is dedicated to producing fitting-out items that have the balance of design, function and safety. We innovate on door and wall cladding with total finishing solutions for architects and construction projects to create fresh yet practical and workable solutions.
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Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built, and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder and CEO of MBH Corporation PLC. He is the author of three best-selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’, ‘Agglomerate’, and ‘Entrepreneurial Investing’.