協義興繡莊 Hip Yee Hing Embroidery (Bed Products)
Hip Yee Hing Embroidery which is a specialized traditional bed products shop in Shek Kip Mei. It established in 1972 and has operated almost five decades. In the beginning, Hip Yee Hing Embroidery mainly sold Chinese traditional wedding dresses and canvas cots, then the business gradually transformed to bed products. It already changed two shopkeepers who respectively were her father and Mother. Her sister assisted her mother’s business when her mother was the second successor. After her mother passed away and sister got married, Miss. Lam became the third successor and she has operated the business until now. Ms. Lam is 58 years old and becomes successor nearly 14 years. She always lives in Shek Kip Mei with her families so she already helped the family business when she was child. Therefore, she never applies other jobs or wants to change her job.
Views of her work
Miss Lam views her work quite kinky. She loves her job because the business helps her to establish deep friendships to local residents. The customers always become her friends. However, it is still a hard job to her, she need to get up around 7 a.m. and operate the business from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. every day. All the business works that she need to do by own. Although it is a hard job, she still not wants to cease place of business. She does not want to lose the shop and the friendships. Also, she wants to bear the responsibility of family business.
Lam said the most frequented customers of the embroidery mainly come from elderly or neighborhood. The most brilliant time of business is around 70s. Hong Kong did not produce cotton quilts and Mainland manufacturers usually less supplied, it caused less cotton quilts supply to Hong Kong so there were a lot of people purchased quilts and cotton quilts were worth at that time.
The most difficult time is present. First, bed products are less to replace. Second, there is a lot of individual production to produce bed products in their home. It leads to uneven quality of products and the universal bed products companies mostly buy Mainland bed products because of the lower price. At the same time, there is lot of shop which also sells bed products. It increases the competitive environment. Therefore, Lam create the natural handmade cotton quits to retain own characteristics to aim to attract a group of customers. Also, some bed products sewn by herself to save costs. It not only prevents the quality of products, and maintains the reputation of her shop.
She thinks the needed skill of the business is rich knowledge of bed products. For example it needs to know materials of every products or it need to clarify whether materials is good or not. However, there is a lot of people who cannot clarify it and it lead customers and shopkeepers to be deceived.
The most difficult way of bed products industry
She believes the most difficult is transition. Bed products industry is a seasonal, golden time of selling only have a half year so the selling would decrease in summer. Hong Kong weather is rarely cold now. She attempts to sale bamboo ridge but it is not success. Each family own air conditionings, it reduced demand. So she attempts to sale slight cotton quilts to maintain the business. Also, there is high rents in Hong Kong and it cause a major challenge to the industry.
Future of the industry
The model of business already changed in present. The craft failed to make a living and the working income is low, so it is less attractive to the young generation. And the small and traditional business would disappear instead of the large chain bed products operations.
現今生意模式多為炒賣轉手方以賺取金錢。因此此門手藝未能維生計糊口，工作量大收入少，吸引力低，故不希望年輕一輩繼承，而且須大型連銷式經營才能生存。 (Writen by Feby)
1.(History Reading/English version) Hip Yee Hing Embroidery ~Cosy Cover with Cotton
2.(Chinese version) The Encyclopedia of Bed Products
3.(Video Archive/Chinese version) The story of Hip Yee Hing Embroidery