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Living with Heritage

At a time when the stories of fuerdais dominate mainstream media and online gossip, the mention of Brandon Chau’s family, which rose to prominence in the mid-19th century, brings back almost romantic feelings about Hong Kong’s golden era. Famous for their matching bespoke outfits, golden Rolls Royce’s and posh English manners, Chau’s mother Brenda and late father Kai-bong were the epitome of Hong Kong’s privileged back in the day.

Raised in a moneyed and cultured background, the younger Chau has followed in their footsteps in both high society and the legal profession, while forging his own path in business. A chance encounter in the UK with a mattress a few years ago, mundane as it sounds, provided the impetus for him to become an entrepreneur.

“In the past my sleep quality was so poor that I could not feel rested even after a long sleep. That gave me problems like bad temper and poor concentration. I can say that the Vispring mattress changed my life. I was amazed that such good products existed,“ says Chau in his newly opened Luxury Bed Studio in Ap Lei Chau.

So impressed was he that he decided to go into business and brought the brand to Hong Kong. Chau has always preferred products with a unique heritage that are also natural and handmade. This is exactly what Vispring is all about.

Launched as a family business in 1901, Vispring pioneered the use of individually pocketed steel springs. With other natural materials such as horsehair, wool and cotton, it provides unparalleled levels of comfort and is the bed of choice for British royals to this day.

Chau’s Noblesse Group also represents Savoir Beds and Orient Express, two other heritage brands that produce entirely handcrafted and made-to-order beds. The former started out as the bed maker for The Savoy, the legendary London hotel. Savoir is now a niche manufacturer known for its collaborations with renowned designers. The latter is a French brand that supplied the Orient Express, the long-distance passenger train that was a symbol of luxury at a time when travel was rough and perilous. Made in Alsace, France, Orient Express has developed sophisticated adjustable beds using German technology for ultimate ergonomic comfort.

Chau advises that every one should spend more time to choose the right bed for themselves. “Comfort is very personal. You should sleep on it for 5 to 10 minutes in different positions to find your desired firmness. Since you spend so much time sleeping every day, try to get the largest possible bed that your bedroom allows.” Natural materials are also more preferable because they can absorb heat and sweat better, with better durability.

These beds come with a premium but Chau believes quality is always a good investment. “Family is very important. I’m always willing to invest in good quality to make our home a comfortable sanctuary for my family.”

Chau is a doting father of two young children. “While my careers are demanding, my time is also flexible because I run my own business so I spend a lot time with my kids, playing and eating with them. I definitely spend more time with them than my parents did with me.”

Getting quality sleep every night is a sound basis for maintaining good health, but Chau also keeps up with a fitness regime that includes fencing and Wing Chun to give him a clear head for everyday business decisions and other ambitious expansion plans. A lover of heritage and all things hand made, Chau also has a passion for fashion and bespoke suits, which takes him around the world in search of master tailors and shoemakers. He is planning to launch his own menswear label that reflects these characteristics.

In 2010, Chau participated in an RTHK television production called the “Rich Mate Poor Mate Series”, which probed Hong Kong’s notorious wealth gap by inviting well-to-do celebrities to spend some time living the life of the working class. Chau said he accepted the invitation because he could feel the disharmony in Hong Kong society and wanted to understand more. That experience led him to establish A-Life Academy, which aims to help less privileged youths in building a better future through counselling, tutoring and internship placements.