Looking for a birthday or holiday gift, souvenir for an overseas friend, or even a little something to spruce up your own home or wardrobe that truly exemplifies Hong Kong? You might want to skip out on the night market trinkets or overpriced gift shop offerings and check out some of these local businesses instead, which are selling everything from soaps and candles to cufflinks and prints.
Founded in 2014 by local jeweler and former landscape architect Ben Huang, Patinova is a company that offers vintage-themed jewelry with a nostalgic bent. Think cufflinks, key rings and bracelets created from old 10-, 20- and even 5-cent Hong Kong coins, some of which have been phased out of use. Not into coins? Pieces incorporating Chinese motifs such as zodiac animals, abacuses, and characters of virtue are also available.
This award-winning brand sells organic bar soap, liquid and hand soap, and shampoo all locally made with natural, sustainable ingredients. Pick among scents such as lavender, rose, pine, tea tree, and bergamot. The striking yet minimalist packaging is icing on the cake. The company even runs its own soap-making classes so people can learn to make their own soaps, just like founder and former office worker Bella Ip did when she started the brand.
Artisanal Sai Kung-based candle and fragrance brand BeCandle was founded by product and furniture designer Xavier Tsang in 2012. Mix and match different scents — floral, fruity, spicy, woody and green — with different sizes, from the regular 200 and 300ml to the travel-sized 80ml. You can even sign up for a workshop to blend and pour your own candle. What we’re most excited about, however, are the adorable craft candles, which come in the shape of dim sum classics like har gao and siu mai.
Available at various locations including Kapok, PMQ, Central, 9839-1180.
Taking inspiration from her family’s 120-year-old paper business and her own British and Hong Kong heritage, Claire Yates founded stationery and gift store The Lion Rock Press, which combines top-quality paper with tongue-in-cheek jokes about Hong Kong in its greeting cards, notebooks, mugs, tote bags, toys, and decorations. Think cards with sayings like “I like big buns and I cannot lie” (in front of an illustration of char siu bao, of course) or hanging ornaments in the shapes of local trams, bamboo steamers, lion dance costumes and other typical Hong Kong imagery.
Available at various locations including Bookazine Lyndhurst Terrace, Shop 1, G/F, Oriental Crystal Commercial Building, 46 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, 2970-3999.
Young businesswoman Miru Wong is the third-generation owner of this handmade traditional Chinese embroidered slipper store, which was founded in 1958 by Miru’s grandparents. An avid embroiderer herself since primary school, Miru retained the more traditional designs of her grandmother but also expanded the shop’s collection to include new designs inspired by everything from animals and flowers to Chinese poetry.
Shop 16-17, 1/F, Bowring Centre, 150-164 Woo Sung Street, Jordan, 6623-3015.
Founded in 2007, this photography gallery focuses on Hong Kong-based artists and artists that explore Hong Kong and its culture. Besides holding exhibitions, the gallery also sells plenty of books and prints by the likes of Xyza Cruz Bacani, Michael Wolf, Tugo Cheng and the famed Fan Ho depicting Hong Kong life across the decades.
G/F, 28 Pound Lane, Sheung Wan, 5590-3229.