IN THE SPOTLIGHT: WONDERBAO, WHAT IS THE SECRET TO YOUR POWER?
special mention to those who get the reference I made in this blog title! …kidding:)
finally back again with another interview installment! I have been very busy of late trying to host Australian friends here in Seoul and sort out admin stuff to settle in – which i havent really completed unfortunately; but heres hoping it will all clear itself up soon >_<
so excited to bring you this next interview from a very new favourite of mine – WONDERBAO! i first heard of this when i was in korea mid last year; but my social media newsfeeds were absolutely BUZZING with people raving about this amazing new bao place in downtown melbourne. of course, i was intrigued and interested, especially as i LOVE bao:)
…so i was actually pretty surprised to find out that the owners were indeed, a friend of a good friend of mine! melbourne is a small, small place.
Andrew and Tina opened up Wonderbao in mid 2012, on Literature Lane [just off A'Beckett Street, near Melbourne Central in the city] – a prime location for students and those working in nearby offices to come and see what Wonderbao has to offer.
who’d have guessed it’d be in here?:)
Even though the premises is small, Wonderbao gives off a warm, cosy vibe both from service and tasty baos alike. Andrew’s business motto is “Focus on one thing and do it well” – so despite the [somewhat] ‘limited’ menu…i can guarantee you from a bao-loving person’s perspective, they are GOOOOOOOD:D
wonderbao in action:D
steaming baos all day:)
Wonderbao has completely BLOWN UP! in a mere few months after opening; so much so they even won Urbanspoon’s ‘Most Popular New Restaurant’ award by the end of 2012. Amazing! so inspired by these guys!:)
roast pork belly gua bao:)
braised pork belly gua bao:)
fried silky tofu gua bao:)
nai wong/custard bao!:) [loveee this one!]
homemade soya bean milk!:)
keep reading to see what Andrew had to say on his Wonder-creation:
1. Congratulations on your success since Wonderbao opened! How did the idea for Wonderbao come about, and what made you decide to make it into a business?
The idea of Wonderbao came from my family’s business and the city we live in. Our family have been making baos since 1998. Before specialising is baos we had a bakery making bread rolls. Mum and dad had always ran their own business, and growing up I knew I would one day have my own place. My business concept of Wonderbao and running any business is simple. Focus on one thing and do it good. The decor was inspired by my personal favourite cafes in Melbourne and combined that with traditional steamers and baos.
2. Where did the inspiration for the name Wonderbao come from?
The name came from wonder-bra. No, really it did. Tina came up with it. It sounded stupid at first but we made it cool! [Beckii: HAHAH awesome, i love this.]
3. Why did you decide to focus the business on bao in particular, rather than another specific [Chinese] food?
I wanted to become a graphic designer at first. But then started help the family making baos. I don’t cook at home and love eating out! I don’t really know how to making/cook anything really besides making baos. So i guess it was pretty clear that I had to follow the bao way.
4. Did you ever expect Wonderbao to get as popular as it has in just a few months?
Never in this world! My aim was to be at least mentioned on online publications within a year and not 2 weeks. I really must say thank you to everyone who helped us spread the word!
5. What has been the hardest thing for you in starting up a business? What has been the most rewarding aspect of it?
Signing the lease. Never had to really read a contract before and negotiate with the landlord and deal with real-estate agents, it would have been one of the most intimidating things and stressful process in starting this business.
6. Personal favourite type of bao?
The braised pork belly gua bao would be my personal favourite.
7. Is Wonderbao’s menu likely to change or to be added to over time?
Yes and no. I don’t really want to have an ever changing menu. I want people to know exactly what we sell. So when they feel like a bao they know exactly where to go. We have considered adding a few items due to customers request. So we are working on it. Maybe a weekly special or something. But the original menu will not change.
8. What is your vision for Wonderbao in the near future? Any plans to expand??
I do hope to expend eventually and go international world, hahah who wouldn’t? In all seriousness when the right opportunity comes we will take it. But in the meantime we are just trying to improve what we have here already before taking another big step.
9. Any tips for people wanting to start up their own business?
Listen to that gut feeling you have and take the risk while you’re young and well. Don’t waste time writing a business or budgeting plan. If i had to do all that and do market research I think I’d still be a home writing it – don’t tell your account I said that though. Think about Nike’s motto and ‘Just do it’.
Thanks Andrew [+ Tina]!
Say hello to Andrew + Tina and the rest of the Wonderbao crew at:
Shop 4/19-37 A’Beckett St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
You won’t regret it!:)
until next time,
- beckii xo