While we’re still enjoying Hong Kong’s summer sunshine (and dodging the occasional torrential rainstorm!), the time has come for the little kiddos to head back to school… and the mammoth task of getting everything prepared! Whether they are heading through the gates for the first time (hold back those tears, mama!) or are all grown up and heading to secondary school, we’ve pulled together all the essentials that are topping our lists here at Sassy Mama. From eco-friendly lunchboxes to sturdy school shoes and everything in-between, we’ll help you track down everything you could possibly need for the school year ahead!
This cute shop stocks all sorts of back-to-school accessories, as well as a fantastic selection of kids’ desks and chairs for your kids to crack down on their homework at night! We love their adorable range of satchels and totes for lugging around school supplies, including this Linna Morata School Bag, which can also double as a grocery bag for mama!
Central: 9 Gough Street, Central, Hong Kong, 2544 2255
Wan Chai: 80 Queens Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, 2528 0229
Little Whale is another easy stop. Check out their Soho or Discovery Bay stores for a great collection of bags, lunchboxes, water bottles and much more. We love the Runabout Toddler Daysack – roomy enough for little ones to bring a few favourite toys to school along with their pencils! Hydrate throughout the day with their fun selection of animal water bottles, including this Dino Bottle. Check out their Klean Kanteen Reflect Bottle, too – an uber environmentally friendly bottle made from sustainable harvested bamboo.
Central: Shop B, Basement, 61 Caine Road, Soho, Central, Hong Kong
Lantau: Shop G-10, G/F, 92 Siena Avenue, Discovery Bay, Lantau, Hong Kong
With several locations around town, Bookazine is the perfect place to pick up those last-minute items before heading back to school, from lunchboxes to watter bottles to school bags and of course, books! We simply love their “Mr. Men & Little Miss” water bottle collection for staying hydrated all day long. In addition to bags and books galore, they also have a fun assortment of kids’ toys and games which are great for getting brains ticking again after the summer lull!
Click here for all Hong Kong locations
While Baby Central is no longer open in Wong Chuk Hang, its website is heaving with school gear, and with free delivery for orders over $200, it couldn’t be easier to stock up. We are in love with their super cute new Skip Hop Mini Zoo Packs, perfect for little ones who are heading off to school for the first time.
Bumps to Babes
Browse online or hop on down to this mega-store to fill up on all the school accessories your kid could possibly need to start the school year off with a bang! They carry a wide range of brightly colored Penny Scallan school bags, lunchboxes, wallets, and even quirky home ware items. We think the pale pink Simply Daisy backpack hits the spot for your girlie girls looking to impress on their first day!
Central: 5/F, Pedder Building, 12 Pedder Street, Central, Hong Kong, 2522 7112
Fiona’s Prince is one site where you can score all kinds of awesome gear and tick off a bunch of things on that back to school list. From shoes to bags and other accessories such as card holders on lanyards (kids love having something fun dangling from their necks, and they will have no excuse if they forget those all-important student cards), this online store has got some cute items that are perfect for the little ones.
HK’s first eco-chic furniture boutique has everything mamas need to deck out the perfect study room for school-aged kids. We adore their selection of eco-friendly desks, drawers and bookcases for getting kids organised for the school season! The sophisticated pieces are all made from beautiful oak wood and come in a variety of colours and styles to suit your children’s tastes.
Ap Lei Chau: 28/F, Horizon Plaza, Ap Lei Chau, Hong Kong
Central: 22 Elgin Street, Soho, Central, Hong Kong
Sai Kung: 116 Man Nin Street, Sai Kung, Hong Kong
One Stop Global Sourcing has everything that your kid needs for school, and we really mean everything. The website sells everything from practical school bags to all kinds of funky, colourful stationary like pens, pencils, folders, note books, art sets and labels.
Our list just wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the adorable new Beatrix backpack range from Hip Little Bubba! The cute creature embroidering and durable material make these small packs ideal for pre-schoolers. The main compartment is constructed from durable nylon and an easy-to-clean laminated canvas and is ideal for packing in all your school gear. For hungry tots at lunchtime, we adore HLB’s super-cute Zoo Lunchies that are just the right size for little kids, and are spacious enough to hold sandwiches, snacks and even a drink bottle. And there’s more, mamas! The Easel Accessory Set is a must if you’ve got a budding artist at home. The set comes with vibrant poster paint, spill-proof (we’re sold!) paint cups, paintbrushes, easel paper and jumbo-rainbow chalk.
BAGS AND GEAR
Last year, we celebrated as US stalwart Pottery Barn announced their international shipping service, and we think Pottery Barn Kids and Pottery Barn Teen deserve a shout-out for their Gear Up Backpacks, which come with all the latest mod cons like a built-in outlet for headphones and padded pocket for a laptop. Pottery Barn Teen also stocks coordinated lunch bags, pencil cases, homework holders, and locker accessories, all of which can be personalised.
If your school-goer is way past carrying a koala-shaped bag around, your quest to find the perfect pack is slightly trickier. When being primary school captain is suddenly all that matters in life, an effortlessly cool backpack is required! Kipling’s collection of prime quality backpacks ticks all the right boxes. Kipling has stores in Sogo, K11 Mall, Festival Walk and Shun Tak Centre and several other locations.
Find your nearest Kipling store here.
Tiny Footprints on Duddell Street, Central is your go-to place for eco-friendly and awesome lunch gear. We’re loving the collapsible lunchboxes which come with nifty compartments to hold utensils. Or do away with plastic altogether with Lunch Skins – these reusable sandwiches and snack bags look great with funky graphics and prints. They also stock super cute animal print lunch bags as well – we love this Juju Ladybug print!
10/F, 1 Duddell Street, Central, Hong Kong, 2522 2466
If you want to invest in a modern classic that will last and last all way through school right up to uni, cast your eye over the very covetable range from the Cambridge Satchel Company, handmade in Britain and currently offering free worldwide delivery when you shop online via their UK site! Not only are these rainbow-hued beauties gorgeous to look at, but there are imminently practical too. We feel a matching mother-and-child moment coming on…
Head to Topshop’s Central store (as if we needed any further excuse!) and check out their range of satchels. Our favourite is the Snake Zip Front Backpack. Their backpacks are a great option for both heaving books to school during the week and gearing up for a fun outing with friends on the weekends.
Central: G/F, Asia Standard Tower, 56-65 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong, 2118 5353
Admiralty: Queensway Plaza, 93 Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong
Here’s a tip mamas: don’t discount the shops along Canton Road, or Hong Kong’s many markets for a bargain buy. We rate Yau Ma Tei market, Mong Kok’s Fa Yuen market or Stanley market for cool branded backpacks from Billabong, RipCurl, Roxy and Outdoor, to name but a few!
STATIONERY & PLANNERS
If your kids tend to rock a “minimalist cool” style, then a Muji set of lecture pads and some other bits and pieces from Muji should make them happy. With more than 10 stores across Hong Kong – including two in Causeway Bay and one in Harbour City – Muji’s main draw card is the massive selection of pens available; from coloured gel pens to basic blue biros, you can easily stock up for the entire year in one go here.
Check out all Muji store locations here.
While you may not find many bright prints or funky graphics, Licken’s Kowloon showroom sells all sorts of binders, highlighters, geometry sets, flash cards… everything a dedicated student needs, really.
Room 811, Tower A, Hunghom Commercial Centre, 39 Ma Tau Wai Road, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2364 0363
If the kids have grown out of crayons, inspire them to study with a Typo Notebook from Cotton On – there are actually plenty of little bits and pieces here to brighten up a schoolbag without breaking the bank.
Find your nearest Cotton On store here.
For older students taking art as a final year subject, make sure you head to Artland for marker pens, drawing pencils, oil paints, pastels, brushes and more.
3/F, Lockhart Centre, 301-307 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, 2511 4845
Stuck On You
Stuck On You also offers a wide range of fun personalised nametags, as well as stationery, kit bags, drink bottles, bag tags and lunch boxes. We love their smart value packs that contain more than enough labels for clothes, shoes, bags and anything else that you’d like to personalise. They also provide Chinese characters now for multi-lingual customisation. Just remember, it can take 7-10 days for orders to be dispatched – so don’t leave it to the last minute, mama!
Suite B, 11/Floor, 88 Commercial Building, 28-34 Wing Lok Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
Monkey & Chops
Mamas, are you using all methods of technology to get organised at home? And are you feeling a bit overwhelmed with keeping track of the kids’ activities and their schedules? Monkey & Chops has a range of interactive, magnetic charts to help the family keep track of their daily and weekly routines. They’re brightly coloured to encourage kids to start to build their own schedules – perfect timing for getting organised for the start of the school year! Order the weekly planner here and the daily planner here.
On a budget? Just pop into your local stationary store, for all the pens, pencils and planners you could ever want at wallet-friendly prices. One of our go-to places is Sam & Co, a total stationary treasure trove located right in Central. We also adore Yat Fat, at on the corner of Des Voeux Road, which carries enough stationary to sink a ship!
Sam & Co, 38 Stanley Street, Central, Hong Kong
Yat Fat, 2/F, Yat Fat Building (on the corner of Des Voeux Road and Li Yuen Street West), Central, Hong Kong
SPORTS GEAR & SHOES
If you’ve got a running superstar on your hands, make sure you take advantage of running shoe specialists Giga Sports, which covers a fantastic range of brands including Adidas, Nike, New Balance, Reebok and Skechers. This sports store also covers everything from rackets to yoga gear, for all your after-school extracurricular workout accessories!
Click here to see Giga Sports’ store locations in Hong Kong
For the older crowd, you’ll find all the big sporting names at Escapade Sports where the helpful staff are happy to advise you on all things sporty: sneakers, apparel, racquets, bags, mouth guards… they have it all here.
Causeway Bay: 1/F, 19 Leighton Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, 2891 1855
Central: 1/F, 30-34 Cochrane Street, Central, Hong Kong, 2851 0769
This Discovery Bay-based designer has a cool collection of handmade waterproof swimming bags, designed specifically for carrying wet swimsuits or muddy sports clothes. They can also be monogrammed, making them pretty much impossible to lose in the changing room!
If you’ve got younger kids in tow, the folks at Stride-Rite are experts when it comes to the perfect fit for shoes, and have two locations in Causeway Bay and Ocean Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui. We love that they save your child’s fit profile for easy reference each time you visit.
New Territories: Shop 1046, Level 1, Discovery Park Shopping Centre, Tsuen Wan, New Territories, Hong Kong, 2506 2378
Mong Kok: Shop 313, 3/F, Grand Century Place, Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 3586 9953
Kowloon Bay: Shop 505A, Telford Plaza II, Kowloon Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 3172 2881
Tsim Sha Tsui: OT G47, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2377 9605
New Peak Shoes
We would usually advise you to steer well clear of the Peak Galleria for any shopping expeditions (crowds, crowds, crowds!), but New Peak Shoes on the first floor stocks a small range of both black and brown leather school shoes. While you’re up there, why not treat the kids to a fun afternoon meeting all their favourite stars at Madame Tussauds?
Shop Nos. 6-8, Level 1, The Peak Galleria, The Peak, Hong Kong, 2849 6618
Dr Kong have stores all over the city and stock not only a decent range of leather school shoes, but also sports shoes, sandals and casual sneakers as well. They have plenty of locations across Hong Kong island for all your Southside mamas, and the prices are pretty affordable also!
Click here to see Dr. Kong’s store locations in Hong Kong
apple & pie
Apple & Pie is a must-visit on the quest for great quality school shoes. Located in One Island South, Wong Chuk Hang, they carry quality international brands; look out for Start-Rite’s range stocked up to teen sizes and a thorough fitting service.
Shop# 206, 2/F, Retail Podium, One Island South, 2 Heung Yip Road, Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong, 3102 0853
Summer holidays = growth spurts! Head to your local tailor for any alterations to last year’s school uniform. If you have growing teenage boys, a top tip is to buy their uniform a bit big at the start of the school year and get it tailored to fit as they grow; letting the pants down every couple of months is much more cost-effective than forking out for a whole new uniform! We like Perfect Dress Alteration (Ann and Bon) at 2/F Melbourne Plaza, Central, Hong Kong. Hong Kong really does have an army of tailors around so keep your eyes peeled!
Last but not least, make sure your little ones look presentable! Book in for a trim at one of these mama-approved hair salons:
One of our go-to salons for the kiddos, these folks know how to make children feel at home. From the animal-shaped chairs to the colourful wall – everyone knows this is the ultimate fun salon! Haircuts start at $238 for boys and $264 for girls.
Causeway Bay: Shop 218, Windsor House, 311 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Mong Kok: Shop G25, Olympian City 3, 1 Hoi Wang Road, Mong Kok, Hong Kong
Private i Garden Kids Salon
Little ones can experience a hair styling service for the stars at Private i Garden Kids Salon. There’s a fun playroom for them to settle in and get comfortable while an expert snips away at their locks. It’s all fun and games here, and nervous tots will have nary a worry, and will come out the other side looking groomed and presentable!
Kowloon Tong: Unit L2-55, Festival Walk, 80 Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon Tong, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Causeway Bay: Shop 230, 2/F, Lee Gardens Two, 28 Yun Ping Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Kowloon: Shop G5-01b, G/F, AEON Whampoa Store, Whampoa Garden, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Congrats, mama! You’ve filled those school bags to the brim! Now we think you deserve a reward, so check out our top pampering picks here and relax… until next term!
And a big thanks to Kate Farr and Sophie for contributing to this fab roundup!