Kirill Runkov has clocked a decade of experience in bartending and mixology, and his work has taken him all over the world—from North and South America to the Caribbean and the Middle East. But after arriving in Hong Kong to take up a managerial role in hospitality, he decided that he wanted to broaden his career. He noticed industry friends were creating quality bartending products, and he began to collect these in a casual online store, named B-A-T-C-H.
B-A-T-C-H had humble beginnings—iPhone pictures of each product, which Kirill posted on industry social media groups. But word quickly spread and Kirill found himself fielding so many queries that soon he was designing a user-friendly catalogue and building a website.
“Today, we offer a curated selection of bespoke bar ware—such as aprons and cocktail-making tools—created by bartenders, for bartenders. The goods are incredibly unique—both in terms of design and pricing.”
Kirill has since expanded the reach of B-A-T-C-H from Hong Kong to Singapore and mainland China, and has started designing his own line of aprons, too.
“All of our aprons, stainless-steel tools and cocktail picks are carefully designed and produced per order, as opposed to mass production. Our materials are of great quality—evident in the vibrant colours and stylish fit of our aprons, or the intricate steel details in the strainers. Everything a bartender or even a home cook would want from his or her gear is there: endurance, character, style and comfort.”
It turned out that Kirill’s greatest obstacle so far in building his business was opening a business bank account—especially as a foreigner in Hong Kong.
“It’s hard to do if you’re a small business, but even harder if you have a Russian passport, like I do. If I had tried to open an account with traditional banks, I would have spent many months trying to overcome administrative barriers rather than working on my business.”
Neat not only allowed Kirill to bypass this process, but also to integrate e-commerce tools, such as PayPal and Stripe, into his online shop.
“It served my needs as a small business and entrepreneur perfectly. Thanks to Neat, I’ve been able to grow my business, as I’m able to draft deals with international shippers.”