Our series of online people profiles covers a wide range of backgrounds, careers and personalities of individuals in Hong Kong. In this instalment, we hear from REBECCA METCALFE, who has not only moved to HK with her family mid-pandemic, but promptly started a women’s fashion business here!
Where are you from originally?
I was born and raised on the South Coast of England (Worthing, West Sussex) where it’s all pebbly beaches and families. It was originally a little fishing village, close to Brighton, but is now a bit of a commuter hub with a lot of London City workers making the journey up to Victoria station daily. We have been living in Hong Kong since November 2020 (after a brief stint in 2010), so it’s not been long; but it’s definitely starting to feel like home for me!
Where else have you lived, and what did you do there?
After leaving the UK in 2010, I moved to Hong Kong for a year and worked for a German fashion retailer in their head office here. My boyfriend (now husband) joined me, and we moved in together. He was relocated back to Sydney in 2011 and we made the move there together.
I spent the last 10 years working in Australian fashion retail as a womenswear buying manager for a few different companies – Pretty Girl Fashion, Speciality Fashion Group and, most recently, TK Maxx Australia. My job allowed me to travel the world, shopping in all the major capitals, and visiting China, India and Vietnam for meetings with our suppliers. It’s safe to say I loved my job. Being in London five times a year also allowed me to see my family and friends there, which always kept my cup full.
What do you do here? Tell us about your business.
My husband Nick was offered an exciting new challenge here in the middle of last year when we were in lockdown in Australia. We saw it as a good opportunity for our family, and to be a step closer to our wider family in the UK. We jumped at the chance, after careful consideration, and we really haven’t looked back.
Since arriving, I knew I wanted to start my own fashion business, and being in quarantine for two weeks (we just missed the three weeks!) gave me time to think on how to make it happen. I came up with a plan, and put it into action over the course of the next few months. In May 2021, She Creates Stories was born.
We bring a curated range of women’s clothing and accessories to Hong Kong. Our brands are inspired by a relaxed way of life, and we cater to all shapes and sizes. We stock sizes AU 6 to 20 (selected styles to 22) and XS to XL across the main range, all curve/plus, petite, maternity, and breastfeeding-friendly. I named it She Creates Stories because that was the part of my job I loved: travelling the world, buying our ranges and creating the fashion stories for our customers and stores.
What have been the surprises and challenges of doing business in HK?
I’ve been really overwhelmed by the community support here, considering we didn’t really know anyone in January. It’s been inspiring to meet so many other ambitious, clever and driven business women, and I find Hong Kong a really enterprising place to be. One of the main challenges for me at the moment is importing from Australia while they are in COVID lockdown as lead times are longer and shipping more expensive. But when you have your own business, you get good at problem-solving quickly!
Give us an insight into a typical working day for you.
My typical day starts at 7am when my daughter wakes up. We have breakfast together, and I get her ready for the day. When she’s gone off to playgroup or school, I shower, get ready and start work, usually around 9am. In the morning I check emails, write down my intentions for the day, post on socials, review the website (shecreatesstories.com), and see any customers for styling appointments in house. Lunch is spent with my daughter; we usually eat, play and then I put her to bed. Afternoon is generally research and development, any styling appointments and packing/shipping orders to be delivered to our lovely customers. The business/mum juggle is real!
What neighbourhood do you currently live in, and why did you choose it?
We chose Discovery Bay when we moved to Hong Kong as it’s so good for families, and you can get more space. I heard a lot about swingers here before we moved, but I can report… I’ve not met any swingers yet.
What are three things you like about your neighbourhood?
The schools here are good, there is a very supportive community, and amazing facilities all within walking distance from our house.
Describe your home to us.
Our home has a relaxed vibe to it – rattan rugs, soft furnishings, a massive sofa and a daybed in the garden. Our cat Max and our daughter love hanging out in the garden together. We are a short walk to the beach, so there is usually some sand from sandy toes on the floor somewhere.
Outside of work, what are your hobbies in Hong Kong?
We moved here in November, and I fell pregnant in December so I haven’t been able to do too much this year so far. I’ve made good use of the Siena Pool, DRBC club, beach and restaurants in DB. However next year will be about getting back to fitness, exploring more of Lantau, and going on family adventures!
Quick questions about Hong Kong: what is your favourite …
Casual restaurant? TokyoLima or Yardbird.
Date night restaurant? Caprice, the food is exceptional.
Bar? Being pregnant, I haven’t been to many bars yet, but I’m excited to try Room 309, Iron Fairies and The Daily Tot.
Local food? SHÈ in IFC for dim sum.
Thing to do with visitors? Aqua Luna Junk.
Thing to do with kids? Disneyland.
Nearby holiday destination? Thailand, but for now, a staycation at the Four Seasons.
Like this? See more in our Living in Hong Kong section!