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 throughout the 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. From shoes to stationery, lunch boxes to books – it’s almost time to get those backpacks ready!
Stationery, planners and books
This is not your everyday stationery shop. If you have a little budding artist, head over to Wan Chai to 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 colouring pencils suitable for 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 storytime 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 little one’s imagination!
TYPO at Cotton On
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.
Typo at Cotton On (flagship store), Shop 34-36 Granville Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2367 2190
Typo at Cotton On, One Grand mega, F11-18, 1/F, One Grand Tower, Mong Kok, Hong Kong, 2396 2130
Typo at Cotton On, 2/F, Lee Theatre Plaza, 99 Percival Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, 2557 1110
Typo, Tuen Mun Town Plaza, 3275, 3/F, Tuen Mun Town Plaza, Tuen Mun, Hong Kong, Hong Kong, www.cottonon.com/hk
City II Stationery
A one-stop stationery store, you’ll find all the basics here as it stocks a good selection of folders, art tool and practical home items that you’ll need for the coming school year. It’s particularly great for picking up painting supplies, thanks to the wide variety of water and oil paints on offer.
City II Stationery, Flat A, 1/F Kiu Hong Mansion, 3-5 Tin Lok Lane, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, 2838 0900
This huge three-storey bookstore in the heart of Causeway Bay 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 journalling 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, it’s a must for the stationery connoisseurs out there!
For 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 (think notepads, pencil cases and eco water bottles). Just remember though, as always, expect to pay a little more with branded gear like this.
From mini stationery kits and cool notebooks to chic pencil cases and colourful pens, the lush and luxe 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’re head over heels in love with the pink leather personal planners (prices are in USD)!
Make planning and organising fun with Kate Spade. This is certainly a luxury option but a great one 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, beautifully designed and complete with monthly and weekly spreads!
Sassy Mama favourite: This gold spade flower large 17-month planner.
The Lion Rock Press
Sassy Mama loves The Lion Rock Press! It stocks a diverse range of Hong Kong-themed gifts and cards that celebrate this city, as well as other unique ones that fit every occasion. Check out the many tongue-in-cheek slogan stationery, embossed notebooks and beautiful one-of-a-kind cards!
Sassy Mama favourite: Thank You From Hong Kong Card – Yellow Teapot
This Japanese chain store offers minimalistic designs that are easy additions to any school gear – from Muji’s 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)
Since we’re all about adding that personalised touch, you can bet that we’re huge fans of StuckOnYou. It offers personalised labels on all its products – from plain name ones that stick anywhere and everywhere, to clothing labels and tailor-made backpacks and lunch boxes.
Sassy Mama favourite: The Bento lunch cooler-bags.
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.
The Commercial Press
With locations all around Hong Kong, this big bookstore chain stocks all the stationery basics at standard prices as well as 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 instore.
Sassy Mama favourite: We love the Disney Princess Back-To-School Collection!
Disneyland Hong Kong, Lantau Island Hong Kong, 3550 3388, www.hongkongdisneyland.com
Trendy kids will love Kipling’s super lightweight and strong backpacks – they’re guaranteed to last throughout the whole academic year. Though a little on the pricier side, these are ideal for teens heading towards the end of high school or college students wanting to put kiddy-style backpacks behind 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!
SPI, SOGO Causeway Bay, Shop 17, 7/F, 555 Hennessy Rd, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Flowery prints for every season! Cath Kidston is perfect for all children, from little toddlers to teenagers (and mamas!), for 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 adult versions of the printed products to twin with your mini-me.
Sassy Mama favourite: Monsters Kids Medium Padded Backpack
Zalora, the popular Asian online store, has trendy backpacks galore. Street fashion coupled with durability makes this 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 online without even having to leave the house. Plus, you can return any unwanted items at 7-Eleven. Easy peasy!
Sassy Mama favourite: Forever New Holly Backpack
Zalora, 3999 4200, www.zalora.com.hk
Log On by City Super
Be it watches, makeup, bags or stationery – Log On has it all. If you’re tight for time, definitely head on over to your nearest store! It also has the new Fjallraven Kånken Art Series.
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! Choose from 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!
This store is every gym-goer and sports lover’s paradise! Stocking everything you’ll ever want for your sporting needs, it has a range of kid’s sports shoes as well. Take your pick from its large range of affordable yet long-lasting options for girls, boys and teens.
Decathlon, First Floor, 310 Gloucester Rd, Park Lane, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, 5992 1321
Decathlon, Grand Plaza Basement, 625 – 639 Nathan Road, Mong Kok, Kowloon
Hong Kong, 5993 3727
Decathlon, 3/F, Sheung Tak Plaza, 2 Tong Ming St, Tseung Kwan O, New Territories, Hong Kong, 9165 9233, www.decathlon.com.hk
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 to $2,920.
Gusella, Shop OTG32A, G/F, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, 3-27 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2940 2238
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. Get them stepping into preschool in style!
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?
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 range of Adidas shoes, perfect for P.E.
If your cheeky little monkey has a case of sweaty feet (hey – it happens to us all!), purchase a pair of Geox. It uses the latest breathable technology and designs to allow its shoes to breathe. From trainers to ballet flats or 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 your budget. From cute planners and stationery to functional laptop covers and backpacks, Etsy makes it easy to find everything you’ll need in its 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 reading materials. 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 it ships 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 its adult colouring book section if you’re keen to pick up a new hobby!
Not On The High Street
Think Etsy, but more curated! Founded and based in the UK, Not On The High Street is a unique selling platform for 5,000 (and counting!) of the UK’s best small, creative artisan businesses. We love the unique selection of spunky, personalised stationery and cards – perfect from the first 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 its main focus) you can now send your hungry munchkins to school with delicious, all-natural, organic bites to satisfy their every craving. And if mummy and daddy fancy some snacks as well, you can get free delivery to offices in Hong Kong using the code OFFICEHK at the checkout.
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.
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 worry about), to cute backpacks to even cuter lunchboxes! It also offers stationery with adorable prints, as well as pencil cases, sticker book sets and markers and pencils.
Sassy Mama favourite: Petit Collage Backpacks (in space print)
Petit Bazaar, 80 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, 2528 0229
Petit Bazaar, 9 Gough Street, Central, Hong Kong, 2544 2255, www.petit-bazaar.com
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 at weekends, so be sure to plan accordingly and avoid potentially busy hours!
This is possibly the mother of all one-stop-shops! You can get everything here to kit out your Hong Kong family and home. They have a good selection of back to school items, including the SPI ergonomic school bags among many others.
Similar to Sogo, Yata is a Japanese-style department store with multiple name brands and an amazing section for kids’ wear, stationery and accessories. It also stocks many sportswear brands, so it’s the perfect place to visit, no matter how old your kids are!
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, 2109 2933, www.citygateoutlets.com.hk
Thorn and Burrow
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.
With all the necessities for the school year ahead, Jellybean is stocked with art supplies, pencil cases, backpacks and cutlery in fun and chic designs.
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, this all-encompassing stationery store is sure to have what you’re looking for. Its ground and first floors provide 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’ll find all manner 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/F – 3/F 503 Nathan Road, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2384 2430
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on 18, July 2017 (special thank yous go to Connie Cai and Lucia Lau) and updated by Alex Purcell Garcia on 2, August 2019.