Max has a lifelong affinity with incense. He had seen his family burning incense in religious rituals since he was a child. In his teenage years, he produced art pieces with incense sticks. He majored in visual arts at university and used incense in his final year project. Inspired by a professor, he went on to launch his own hand-made incense brand.
Initially, he focused on making traditional incense sticks but the business was lagging. Prompted by his girlfriend, he started to use cookie-cutters to make incense of different shapes such as leaves and flowers. Sales soon picked up. The success encouraged Max to explore new possibilities. He visited different places in search of new ingredients and more sophisticated skills. By adding different scents and spices to hand-made incense sticks, Max created beautiful yet practical items for daily use.
As his career took off, Max wanted to contribute more to society. He partnered with Johnny to set up the social enterprise Lin Heung House. The two founders provide training in incense making and job opportunities of workshop assistants for young and adult women from ethnic minorities. While earning an additional income, the women can also showcase their talent and boost their self-confidence. Yet there are obstacles in recruitment. Some are reluctant to show their faces in public due to religious or family reasons. So Max assigns them to work in different supporting roles.
Max believes many ethnic minority women in Hong Kong are talented and capable. Some are good at henna painting, others making spiced tea and weaving. Yet, they lack opportunities to shine. Max says he is not offering assistance but collaborating with ethnic minorities by drawing on their expertise.
Looking ahead, Lin Heung House plans to invite Thai women to their programme as tutors of making Thai herbal compress balls and herbal tea. Max and Johnny are committed to advancing what they do best: connecting lives and communities with scent.
- The SIE Fund is funding the prototype project of Lin Heung House. More details can be found here.
Scope of Services
- Lin Heung House helps ethnic minority women to be incense makers (MP Weekly 29/12/2018) (Chinese only)
- Youngster helps to boost energy with innovative hand-made incense (HKET 08/09/2018) (Chinese only)