Who is he? Managing Director of Apostrophe, the boutique boulangerie café chain with in-store bakeries.
How did he get started? After studying at the London School of Economics, Chen was recruited by Lehman Brothers Investment Banking where he worked until he’d raised enough to start Apostrophe.
How did he get into the industry? Chen was always passionate about the hospitality industry and, as a banker, dabbled in investment. He always knew he’d leave banking and opening a café was his dream. “I was okay with the rat race of banking but you have to ask yourself what your objectives are in life. Do you want to look back on what you’ve achieved and be proud? I did.” How much is he worth?
Apostrophe’s projected annual turnover is £6.5m with Chen the biggest shareholder.
What’s the best business advice he has ever been given? “I look up to people who have passion, not cynicism, who are analytical and articulate. I don’t like ‘big picture’ advice.” What’s the most important thing he has learnt? “Stick with your gut feeling. Listen to people but have confi dence in yourself.” Biggest mistake he’s ever made?
“Professionally, I’ve made little mistakes but no huge one.” Biggest industry inspiration? “I admire Alan Yau. I like what he does creatively and he’s a leader.” Plans for the future? To take Apostrophe further afi eld. “It’s early days for Apostrophe. We want to go south of Hyde Park, then outside London.” apostropheuk.com