Everything you need for the new school year!
While we’re still enjoying making the most of quality time and keeping the whole family entertained through this humid Hong Kong summer, the first day of school is quickly approaching, and it’s never too early to get prepared! Whether your little learners are heading through the gates for the first time (hold back the tears, mama!) or are all grown-up and marching confidently into secondary school, we’ve put together our list of essentials. Time to pack that backpack!
Stationery, Planners, and Books
This is not your everyday stationery shop. If you have a little budding artist, head over to Wan Chai for this art supply megastore which stocks a large variety of arts and crafts tools from everyday stationery items like colouring pencils to hard-to-find goodies like easels and printmaking tools. While you’re at it, make a stop to gaze at the art gallery, which hosts new exhibitions every fortnight, for some inspiration.
Sassy Mama Favourite: Check out the wide range of colour pencils suited to artists of all ages.
Artland, 3/F Lockhart Centre, 301-307 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, 2511 4845, www.artland.com.hk
Needing some story time inspo, or just looking for extra activity books for your primary schooler? From water bottles and school bags, to a whole host of books for early learners, Bookazine’s vast range has almost everything you need to stock up for the school year!
Sassy Mama Favourite: The wide variety of children’s books to spark your child’s imagination!
A stationery junkie’s heaven! Best suited for older children, teenagers, and adults alike. The TYPO side of Cotton-On focuses specifically on gifts, stationery, decorations, lighting, and backpacks. With the cutest laptop cases and lunch bags, starting from as low as $30 in store. You’ll be sure to pick up something that best suits your teen’s ultra-cool Instagram aesthetic.
Sassy Mama Favourite: This marble print Take Charge 13 Inch Laptop Cover ($169)
Typo at Cotton On (flagship store), Shop 34-36 Granville Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2367 2190; 2/F, Lee Theatre Plaza, 99 Percival Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, 2557 1110, www.cottonon.com/hk
Your one-stop stationery store. You’ll find all the basics here, it stocks a good selection of folders, art tools, and practical home items that you’ll need for the coming school year. It’s particularly great for picking up painting supplies, thanks to its wide variety of water and oil paints on offer.
City II Stationery, 1/F – 2/F, EIB Tower, 4-6 Morrison Hill Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong; Room 2 – 4, 2/F, Phase 2, Haifu Center, Admiralty, Hong Kong, www.bbs.hk-mst.com
A huge three-story bookstore in the heart of Causeway Bay that sells a variety of Chinese and English books, it also has a pretty good selection of stationery and accessories. So sit your kid down on one of the comfy chairs and give them a book to flip through while you get some serious shopping done. This is a great spot for picking up textbooks, especially for very particular or unique subjects.
Elite Spectrum, 8/F-10/F, Hysan Place, 500 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, www.eslite.com
Hip trendy mums, you probably already know this but bullet journaling is in. If your teen is looking to get organised with their own journal, head to Journalize, a store dedicated to planners and organisers! A lovely shop with beautiful notebooks and fountain pens aplenty! This is a tasteful little stationery shop for the stationery connoisseurs out there!
Journalize, 6A Moreton Terrace, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, 3565 6455, www.facebook.com/journalize
For the classy little ladies and gents, Jack Wills provides classic, simple, and durable stationery options. The styles are mostly minimalist and best suited for older kids and adults. Just remember though, as always, with branded gear like this, expect to pay a little more.
From mini stationery kits and cool notebooks to chic pencil cases and colourful pens, the lush and lux goodies at kikki.K will have you spoilt for choice. The practical planners here will make any student ready to take on the school year . We are head over heels in love with the 2018-2019 planners!
Make planning and organising fun with Kate Spade. This is certainly a luxury option but a great option if you want to treat your older daughter to a beautiful, classy planner that will make all her classmates jealous (or pick up one for yourself…). Kate Spade makes planners that are eye-catching, beautiful designed and complete with monthly and weekly spreads!
Sassy Mama Favourite: Floral medium planner: August 2018 – August 2019 ($30 USD)
Sassy Mama loves Lion Rock Press! With a diverse range of Hong Kong themed gifts and cards that celebrate Hong Kong as well as unique ones that fit every occasion. Check out the many tongue-in-cheek slogan stationary, embossed notebooks, and beautiful one-of-a-kind cards!
Sassy Mama Favourite: Thank You From Hong Kong Card – Yellow Teapot ($25)
Lion Rock Press, www.thelionrockpress.com
The Japanese chain store, Muji offers minimalistic designs that are easy additions to any school gear – from pens and notebooks to calculators and box files. You’ll also find small storage units that are great for your teen’s desk area at home (along with paints and colouring pencils for budding artists!).
Sassy Mama Favourite: Planted Wood Paper Ruled Note (A5, 5 pieces) ($22)
Since we’re all about adding that personalised touch, you can bet that we’re huge fans of StuckOnYou. It offers personalised name labels on all its products – from plain name labels to stick anywhere and everywhere, or tailor-made backpacks and lunch boxes.
Sassy Mama Favourite: The Lunch Bag ($299)
StuckOnYou, Suite B, 11/F, 88 Commercial Building, 28-34 Wing Lok Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, 2549 2245, www.stuckonyou.hk
The brightly coloured funky selection of backpacks, pencil cases, stationery, watches, and notebooks, will paste a big ol’ giggle on your angel’s face by combining everyday school things with classic Smiggle fun.
With locations all around Hong Kong, this big bookstore chain is stocked with all the stationery basics at standard prices and exercise books for children from primary to secondary school. The Midliner Highlighters are a big hit with the ultra-cool #studygrams on Instagram!
Bags and Accessories
Hong Kong Disneyland is every child’s favourite place, so why not pay a visit to the Disney shop or go directly to the Disney Store Online and indulge your little prince or princess with a royal backpack of their own. Be it Mickey Mouse, Moana, or Elsa print backpacks, Disney has got your back (literally) with all things fantastical. Use ShopDisney to purchase online or in store.
Sassy Mama Favourite: We love the Disney Princess Back-To-School Collection!
Trendy kids will love Kipling’s super lightweight and strong backpacks – they’re guaranteed to last throughout the whole academic year. Plus, the bags are accessorised with a cute little monkey, we bet that your own little monkey will love them.
SPI ergonomic school bags are supportive and comfortable, made simply to reduce the strain on your little scholar’s spine. Specifically designed to be durable and lightweight, you won’t have to worry about poor posture!
Sassy Mama Favourite: Active Junior Bag
Flowery prints for every season! Cath Kids is perfect for all children, from little toddlers to teenagers to purchase some cute bags, accessories, and apparel. With some of the coolest and most unique designs on the market, your little tot is bound to walk into school in style. Purchase an adult versions of the printed products to twin with your mini-me.
Sassy Mama Favourite: Monsters Kids Medium Padded Backpack ($301)
Zalora, the popular Asian online store, has trendy backpacks galore. Street fashion coupled with durability makes Zalora a Sassy Mama top pick. Most bags offered are for older teenagers and adults. Ultra-fashionable and diverse, there’s something for everyone and you can shop without even having to leave the house. Plus, you can return any unwanted items at 7-Eleven.
Sassy Mama Favourite: Forever New Adele Mini Embroidered Backpack ($326.90)
Zalora, 3999 4200, www.zalora.com.hk
Be it watches, makeup, bags or stationery – Log On has it. If you’re tight for time, definitely head on over to your nearest store!
Sassy Mama Favourite: So many backpack brands and styles to choose from!
Shoes and Sports Gear
With stores all over town, Dr. Kong is great for basic black or white school shoes that your cheeky cherubs need. Good footwear for school is essential as kids are in those shoes all day long, and Dr. Kong has a range of different styles, from Mary-Janes and slip-on flats, to shoes with Velcro straps and laces.
Sassy Mama Favourite: the school leather shoes are comfy classics!
Let your kid confidently take their first steps into the classroom with the generous selection of shoes from Gusella’s Back To School Collection. The brand was born in Milan in 1932 and combines style and comfort, specialising in shoes for kids from 3 months to 10 years old. School shoes are worn almost every day of the week, so it’s vital that they support children through every important stage of growth. The general price ranges from $1,820-$2,920.
For your little ones who are just learning to totter around, Stride Rite offers a large range of footwear categorised into Three Rite Steps: Crib and Crawl, Cruise and Walk, and finally Off and Running.
For young ones who aren’t big fans of working up a sweat during P.E. lessons, we recommend these snazzy kicks as an incentive for your little tykes to take up a sport. While you’re there, why not pick up a matching pair for yourself?
Sassy Mama Favourite: Twinkle Toes- Shuffle
This chain store has a large range of sports gear and footwear for your aspiring athlete. Why limit yourself to one brand? There is plenty on offer here, with more expensive branded sportswear and team jerseys to cheaper everyday alternatives. You’ll find all kinds of sports equipment and gear, for both land and water sports.
Sassy Mama Favourite: We love the stock of Adidas shoes, perfect for P.E.
If your naughty monkey has a case of sweaty feet (hey – it happens to us all!), purchase a pair of Geox, they use the latest breathable technology and designs allowing the shoes to breathe. With shoes ranging from trainers to ballet flats to sandals to boots, Geox has you covered from summer to winter for healthy, non-stinky feet!
Sassy Mama Favourite: Any of the kids’ trainers! Our resident little shoe tester claims her Geox sneakers are the most comfortable shoe she’s tried yet.
If you like a personalised touch, or simply a handcrafted feel or a more unique design, Etsy is for you. As the number one online shopping hub for all things designed and crafted by artisans, you’re sure to find any and everything you’re looking for, no matter if your budget. From cute planners and stationary to functional laptop covers and backpacks, Etsy makes it easy to find everything you’ll need in their Back to School section.
Sassy Mama Favourite: We love the “Gifts for Bookworms” section – perfect for your little book lover or a special teacher!
Speaking of books, Book Depository is your one stop shop for all your reading materials, from leisure to required. With lower prices than most brick and mortar bookstores and constant discounts, you’ll never have to spend hours looking through shelves upon shelves of The Princeton Review for that one McGraw Hill again. Oh, and did we mention they ship to Hong Kong for free?
Sassy Mama Tip: Book Depository makes browsing easy by sorting everything into age groups, so be sure to check out the categories if you’re on the hunt for some fun reading material for your squirming readers. Or, check out their adult colouring book section if you’re keen to pick up a new hobby!
Book Depository, www.bookdepository.com
Think Etsy, but more curated! Founded and based in the UK, Not On The High Street is a unique selling platform for 5000 (and counting!) of UK’s best small, creative artisan businesses. We love their unique selection of spunky, personalised stationery and cards – perfect from the first day of class to the last day of school!
Sassy Mama Favourite: Ombre grammar pencils
Not On The High Street, www.notonthehighstreet.com
Snacking at school doesn’t have to mean an excess of sugar and processed foods! With Greenberry, a snack subscription service curated with holistic nutrition as their main focus, you can now send your hungry munchkins to school with delicious, all natural, organic bites to satisfy their every craving.
Designed with triple insulation and a spill proof cap, S’well’s innovative classic bottles come in three sizes and a large variety of colours. Perfect to keep your drinks hot for 12 hours and cold for 24, we can guarantee they’ll come in handy for any occasion, be it a regular school day or an active field trip! Bottle sizes start at 9oz for your tinier tots, and extend up to 25oz for your older athletes. They also come in travellers, tumblers, and roamers – there’s something for every member of the family!
Sassy Mama Favourite: Anything from the personalised shop! For younger kids or even those slightly scatterbrained (hey – we’re mums! We’re juggling a lot here!), you’ll always be able to tell which bottle is yours, no guessing necessary! Those with an artsy streak can even purchase chalk art pens and doodle to their heart’s content on the surface of their S’well bottles – just wipe clean with water!
One Stop Shops
Perfect for our precious babies – or should we say, toddlers (they grow up so fast!)- who are embarking on their first academic adventures, Petit Bazaar is a one stop shop for everything from cute outfits (if there’s no uniform!) to cute backpacks to even cuter lunchboxes! They also offer stationery with the cutest prints, as well as pencil cases, sticker book sets, and markers and pencils!
Sassy Mama Favourites: Petit Collage Backpacks (in space print), multiple prints available
Petit Bazaar, 80 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong 2528 0229, or 9 Gough Street, Central, Hong Kong, 2544 2255, www.petit-bazaar.com
Perfect for kids of all ages, AEON is a lifestyle concept department store that sells everything from shoes to printed stationery. Backpacks of all sizes, lunch boxes and thermoses, and even laptop covers can be found here. With restaurants and supermarkets attached, it’s a great place spot to pick up just about everything without going hungry!
Known as Hong Kong’s largest Japanese-style department store and located in Causeway Bay, Sogo is the place to get everything . With kids’ wear, stationery, and accessories all on the 7th floor, shopping for your (hopefully) diligent student is now easier than ever. If you’re done early, there’s also multiple name brands for mamas and papas alike, as well as a supermarket in the basement.
Sassy Mama Tip: Sogo gets very crowded on the weekends, so be sure to plan accordingly and avoid potentially busy hours!
Sogo, 555 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, 2833 8338, www.sogo.com.hk
Similar to AEON and Sogo, Yata is a Japanese-style department store with multiple name brands and an amazing section for kids’ wear, stationery and accessories. With many sportswear brands also offering their wears, it’s the perfect place to visit, no matter how old they are!
Yata, New Town Plaza Phase 3, 2 Sha Tin Centre Street, Sha Tin, Hong Kong, 2694 1111, www.yata.com.hk
Once in a while, we need to remember that Tung Chung isn’t just where the airport is. It would be a shame to miss out on CityGate, so head on down there to stock up on reduced-price items for your kids!
Sassy Mama Favourite: Stop at the Dr. Kong, Geox or Rockport outlets for school uniform shoes.
Citygate Outlets, 20 Tat Tung Road, Tung Chung, Lantau, Hong Kong, www.citygateoutlets.com.hk
Slightly smaller than the other massive chain stores, this boutique and homeware lifestyle store stocks cute and bright coloured towels, lunch boxes, bottles, paints and more. For something a little off-the-beaten-path, check out this spot for unique home goods for your little ones and yourself.
Thorn and Burrow, 1/F, 30 High Street, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong, 2559 9338, www.thornandburrow.com
With all the necessities for your school year ahead, Jellybean is stocked with art supplies, pencil cases, backpacks and cutlery in fun and chic designs.
Jellybean, Shop 229, Lee Garden Two, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, 2907 8116, www.jellybean.hk
For those on the hunt for art supplies in particular, CN Square is the perfect place for you. Boasting 5 floors, 10,000 square feet of space, and over 20,000 products, the all-encompassing stationery store is sure to have what you’re looking for. It’s ground and first floors provide you with all your regular stationery needs, as well as trendy tech accessories and planners, while the second floor and mezzanine levels offer a variety of arts and crafts supplies, board games, and seasonal decorations. On the top floor, you will find all manners of art supplies, as well as an overwhelming selection of paper choices. From Sculpey clay and Rembrandt oil paints to colourful binders and notebooks in all shapes and sizes, CN Square is the ultimate one-stop-shop.
CN Square, G-3/F Wing Kiu Building, 503 Nathan Road, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2384 2430, www.chungnam.cc
This article was originally published on 18 July 2017 and has since been updated. A special thank you to Connie Cai and Lucia Lau for their help in compiling this list.