Fun and practical Year of the Dog products made by local students you'll want to check out at the annual Chinese New Year fair


Meet the students ringing in the Lunar New Year in style – having designed, developed and marketed their own new year products

Nicola Chan |

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These tote bags designed by Janice Lok of St Clare's Girls' School all contain best-of-luck messages for students.

The Year of the Dog may be almost upon us, but a group of local students are more focused on the launch of the Chinese New Year-themed products they’ve designed.

Business Flyer 2017 (BF17), a youth entrepreneurship programme organised by the Hong Kong Outstanding Students’ Association, invited Form Four and Five students, and first year university students to submit original Chinese New Year product designs. Students whose designs were selected were then guided through the rest of the development process: they had to present business proposals and marketing strategies, and even design the booth from which to sell their product. Fifteen winning products were chosen to go on sale at the Chinese New Year fair at Victoria Park from February 10 to February 16.

Young Post spoke to three of the winning designers to find out about their products and what they’ve learned from the programme.

“In Business Flyer 2017, we are in charge of everything from bidding on a stall and manufacturing, to promotion, logistics, pricing and so on … it is a simulation of a real business environment,” said Wong Chi-ka, 16, from Diocesan Girls’ School.

Chi-ka, whose design was a grey felt laptop pouch, said the programme offered the chance to work with students from different backgrounds, as well as learn from professors from City University’s Department of Marketing, who helped judged the products.

Kristen Chan of St. Stephen's Girls' College designed a water bottle that says "Study like a dog."
Photo: Hong Kong Outstanding Students' Association

Janice Lok from St Clare’s Girls’ School, designed a tote bag. She said the professors offered great advice during the programme.

“The selling price we initially set was just enough to cover the cost of our products,” the Form Five student said. “Thankfully, one of the professors reminded us to take into account the overall expenditure which … also includes the rent of the stall.”

Janice also recalled some serious words of wisdom from a fellow student: “Being creative alone is not enough for a successful product launch,” she recalled. “You must also take many other things into consideration, such as knowing how to label the price, and identifying your target customers.”

Managing a stall on their own means students had to learn about budgeting, production, and merchandising in a very short space of time. Even so, Kristen Chan from St. Stephen’s Girls’ College found the process exciting.

“Seeing something I designed put on sale and knowing that people will be buying my products really brings satisfaction,” said Kristen, who designed a water bottle which says “Study like a Dog” – a student-friendly version of the idiom “work like a dog”.

“The water bottle is black and white, and has a simple design,
so it is suitable for all genders,” she said. “[I also think] people are becoming more environmentally conscious, and I think there’s potential in selling water bottles [which reduce the use and need of plastic bottles].”
She chose the phrase, she added, in the hope that it would resonate with her peers and “cheer them up”.

And it would seem great minds think alike, as “study like a dog” is also one of the phrases Janice chose for her tote bags.

She came up with three different designs, each with a slogan that combines a traditional New Year greeting with a student-related message.

As well as being timely, Janice added that her tote bag is practical.

“It can be used anywhere, and people always need bags for something,” she said.

Also taking inspiration from the upcoming year’s zodiac, Chi-ka’s laptop pouch features dogs, but in an altogether different way.

Chi-ka’s laptop pouch speaks to those who are single.
Photo: Hong Kong Outstanding Students’ Association

Chi-ka explained that her product’s name roughly translates to “single aggressive dog” or “having been single for a long time”] means that people who remain single for long stretches can sometimes be very aggressive [“desperate for a relationship”].

Chi-ka said she hoped teens going through the ups and downs of dating would see the funny side of her product’s message, and use it as a lighthearted way to poke fun at themselves.

One thing’s for sure: these entrepreneurs’ hard work has paid off, and they’re ready to ring in the New Year.

Edited by Charlotte Ames-Ettridge

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