Ben Wilson runs a shoe-shining business catering to offices in Central and Wan Chai. It is the 27-year-old Englishman's second stint working in the territory since 1995. Last year he spent eight months travelling in India and visiting his home town of Eastbourne, East Sussex. He is single and lives in Tsim Sha Tsui. What's on your mind? Lately business hasn't been quite so good. I'm not sure what it is . . . perhaps sometimes people think a shine may change their luck on the stock exchange or something. I registered as the Spit and Shine Company last week, but there isn't a whole lot of money in it. Cash flow is not too good and most people would have given up by now. What are you going to do about it? I'm thinking of selling up and starting another business, but I'm not sure just yet. I might bring a partner in and keep it while concentrating on something else, but I'd prefer to sell. I have other business ideas I want to work on. How much demand is there for shoe polishing in Hong Kong? There is not much money in it but there are definitely opportunities. Most of my customers are executives, businessmen or traders who fly around the world on business and realise their appearance is important. I can see it picking up in the next few months so I have to just stick to it for now. My only competition is the guy outside the Mandarin Hotel, but I think he charges about $20 to my $30, which we recently put up as it was $20 for quite a few years. I have a stored value ticket which I sell for $99 and stamp it off every time someone gets a shine. Are their many big tippers? A couple of customers give nice tips while others just round it off or give a bit of change. The biggest tip I had was about $20. But my dad was really into retailing and he marked everything at GBP1.99 instead of rounding off at GBP2. Then you could often get to keep the change - like I do with my $99 tickets. It's only one dollar but it adds up. What were the weirdest pair of shoes you've polished? Nothing too outrageous. But a lot more women are now wanting polishes and their shoes are always in vibrant colours like red or blue, which means I have to go out and find the right polish.