My Hong Kong & Tokyo Experience
Now that my body is finally getting back to Eastern Standard Time, I wanted to tell you all about my trip. I went to the China Sourcing Fair in Hong Kong, a major trade show for importing fashion accessories, 'cuz that's what Sweet Designs is going to be doing ... that, and Myspace layouts, of course.
Quite the TripI've never been halfway around the world before - 12 time zones to be exact. It's tough getting used to AM being PM, and vice versa. I still want to sleep all afternoon and have lunch at 3:00 AM.
Anyway, the flight from New York to Hong Kong was 16 hours, and at the thirteen hour mark I was going nuts and wanted to get off the plane. My friend assured me I wouldn't like Siberia or the Mongolian desert, so I calmed down pretty quick. Incidentally, my Continental flight went directly over the north pole, which was kinda cool, geographically speaking.
Fashion!They're designing some really great fashions and fashion accessories in Asia. I was looking for cool stuff for teens that I haven't seen in the U.S. ... at least not yet. You'll be seeing some of the things I found in the coming weeks and months. Be sure to bookmark my "Shop" page, and keep checking back.
Anyway, I enjoyed attending the runway shows. There buyers got to see the models displaying everything from belts, totes, and handbags to swimwear and lingerie. Next door there was an electronics trade show, and it was amazing just how many guys with electronics show badges managed to slip past the doorkeepers and swell the runway area every day at 4:00 PM for the swimwear and lingerie catwalk. Personally, I kinda doubt they came to see the latest trends in tote bags.
Me posing on the runway!
I couldn't believe how fast the models could change outfits and reappear on the runway. After seeing them three shows a day for four days, I realize they actually do work for a living. Maybe some of them are spoiled and overpaid, but they really do work hard, and they're good at things I could never do ... like walk in stiletto heels. I also attended a bunch of seminars about importing from Asian countries, and I met with more than 50 reps from various manufacturing companies, so I was working pretty hard myself!
The Streets of Hong KongI'd arrived in Hong Kong a day before the fair so I could be fresh after the 26 hour trip (home to hotel room). After a good night's sleep, I spent my free day exploring Hong Kong. I especially enjoyed the "Ladies Market." Every day, a major downtown street is closed off and filled with street vendors selling shoes, jewelry, belts, skirts, and just about everything else. Most of the prices were pretty good, and a there were a few amazing bargains.
Maybe the coolest thing that happened in HK was that Sweet Designs entered and won third prize in a contest run by the China Sourcing Fair. The prize was a voucher for one meal at a really high class restaurant at the top of The Peak, the mountain that overlooks downtown Hong Kong. The prize was a HK$2,000 (about US $250) meal voucher. It was "use it or lose it" - no change or future credit given.
At first, my friend and I didn't think we could possibly spend $250 on a dinner, even at an expensive restaurant. Turns out, with a bottle of wine, appetizers, our $38 and $75 entrees, and creme brule for dessert, we managed to blow about $230. I'm just an average 21 year old (meaning I usually have about a buck fifty at any given moment, and have to bum fifty cents to get the large fries), so being told I could go crazy (lest I squander my prize), it was like something that happens in an alternate universe. It was funny being surrounded by five super-polite waiters and a room full of people spending large sums of real money.
On to JapanAnyway, after five and a half days in Hong Kong, I headed home, but not before a two and a half day stopover in Tokyo to soak up some Japanese culture, check out the teen fashion scene, and eat a lot of great sushi. (I'm a total sushi freak.)
In addition to some more street markets near Ueno station and soaking my tired bones in a Japanese style bath each evening, I explored Yoyogi-koen Park and nearby Harajuku, as well as the "bright lights, big city" experience of Shinjuku. These are great places for people watching. Every Sunday afternoon Yoyogi-koen Park is filled with performers of every imaginable description - some talented, and some who definitely shouldn't give up their day jobs. I especially liked this five member male dance team. I can't exactly describe what it was they did - but it was so high energy I got winded just watching them. (A couple of them were really cute too!)
In Tokyo, I stayed at a traditional Japanese style inn (called a ryokan). This meant a room with no shower, no toilet ... and no bed. It's better than it sounds ... in fact, it was an awesome experience. I slept in a futon on the tatami floor, and bathed Japanese style - thoroughly wash first, then soak in a giant sized really hot tub. After my bath each night I went out like a light.
Anyway, my friend and I took some photos, so please check out my HK and Tokyo galleries. And keep checking out the Sweet Designs shop. There will only be a few items at first (and in very limited quantities), but I'm starting to place some orders, so soon there will be even more really sweet designs.
Mata ne (See ya later)