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Header image courtesy of Byebuy Market
Hong Kong has no shortage of retail destinations. From fast fashion to luxury goods, there’s bound to be a store near you where you can shop till you drop. However, one area in which the city lags behind is a more established vintage and second-hand fashion scene, but four local creatives are trying to elevate this sub-culture into the mainstream.
Introducing Byebuy Market 3.0, the latest pop-up in the second-hand consignment sale series that gives shoppers access to celebrity-owned items at steep discounts, and this edition is revamped to offer a retail experience like no other in the city.
As the brainchild of local artists Hana Tam, Jeremy Wong, Jason Wu, and tattoo artist Cat Chui, Byebuy Market first came to be as a consignment concept located in Sai Wan, selling clothing items from the wardrobes of local celebrities.
“We’re all in the entertainment industry. We realised that many clothes are worn once, then never worn again,” says Wu as the founders sat down with Localiiz ahead of Byebuy 3.0.
“At the time, some local artists asked me over a drink: ‘How do we get rid of our stuff?’” adds Wong, gin and tonic in hand. “So, I thought, why don’t I be the one to help them, sort the clothes out, and find the right person to wear them?”
Entrusting their individual fan bases for support, the first two versions of the Byebuy Market pop-up reached many in the city and had drawn a considerable number of shoppers first to the inaugural opening in Sai Wan, followed quickly by the second iteration in North Point. Rapidly, the concept was making a name for itself in the local fashion scene.
“We have our stores in different locations because we want to serve different customers in the districts, to promote what Byebuy Market is doing, and [educate people on] what second-hand products are,” says Wu, addressing an all-too common misunderstanding about thrift stores in Hong Kong. “Basically, second-hand [does] not equal to old or broken things, and we want more people to know about this.”
Fans and fashionistas can expect the same good quality items at a price much lower than what you would find on other second-hand platforms and at branded stores. “When we’re buying [these items] off their owners,” explains Wu, “we’re always trying to lower the rate, so we can sell it at a cheaper, more reasonable price [in our store].”
As with other Byebuy Market editions, the founders will be stationed in-store, readily available to give out styling advice for shoppers who can’t decide on which piece to claim as their own. “Jason and Jeremy are models, and they know [their] fashion,” adds Tam. “So, when customers come in, they can teach them, and help them find their own style.”
“We have a lot of make-up products, skincare, and perfumes. Because I worked [in] the beauty industry—I was a beauty vlogger before—I am familiar with these brands. So, when a customer comes in, I can teach them how to use them [and] what products suit them best.”
What’s different about Byebuy Market’s Central pop-up relates to its in-store experiences. Collaborating with a local gin brand, Monkey 47, the founders have introduced the quality spirit into the shop, so customers can sip on a cool cocktail whilst browsing through the two-storey location filled with luxury clothes, accessories, and cosmetics.
“We found that [some of our past customers] always come to the store, so much so that we have befriended most of them,” explains Wu as the founders elaborate on the reason behind this collaboration. “That’s when we realised our shop is not just a shopping location.”
Other than introducing a drink-while-you-shop concept sure to “break the ice” between strangers, visitors of the Central store will find a charming “Wheel O Wunder” at the cashier with the chance to partake in mini-games and win prizes with the founders. “We want to have more interaction with our customers,” says Wong. “So, when they are shopping—maybe they are Jason’s fans, Hana’s fans, my fans—we can share a moment together.”
Second-hand markets are a good way of fighting against fast fashion and waste, as well as raising more awareness around sustainability. “In Hong Kong now, second-hand markets are a sub-culture, so maybe we can bring it to [the] mainstream,” says Wu. “This is our mission; we want to be environmentally-friendly and promote a happy treasure hunt in our shop.”
Byebuy Market is open from now until 11 June, from Wednesdays to Sundays, with more than 5,000 collections and items for sale throughout the pop-up period. Monkey 47 gin is also available for purchase at Byebuy at limited quantities. Happy treasure hunting!
Byebuy Market, G/F, 4–6 Gough Street, Central