Nowhere in Hong Kong can you find a more tranquil and cozy local bookstore and one that's under the same roof of a cutting-edge enrichment program for children . . . until Growhouse. We're so lucky to have Jannie Tam, the Founder of Growhouse, talk to us about doing something no one has done before, what "content" means in today's selfie world, the best gift she's received, and why there's no better time than now to be in the book and education business.
Why did you want to start Growhouse? I have been working in the content business for a very long time. My major professional involvement included Disney, Time Warner and Dymocks. Through such experience and exposure, I see the power of content. It has been disheartening to see many bookstores gone. What we do now is to stretch what a bookstore can do apart from selling books and merchandise; the decision is to extend into education retail.
How did the concept of Growhouse come about? I realise books, films and any good content can work wonders if we know how to master the craft of reading and thinking. It is no longer just showing you a movie, a TV show or a book. We need to demonstrate how to form our own opinions while we resonate with the moral of the stories and how to effectively express ourselves. It is no longer a product driven business but a balanced product / service offering.
There are so much learning programs in Hong Kong, how is the Growhouse concept different from other enrichment programs? Our programme is about “critical reading”, “cultural capital” and “global citizenship” through in-depth engagement with text in books and films. No one has done it until London Gifted and Talented devised it exclusively for Growhouse through extensive research. It is the first of its kind in the world.
What do you love most about the education and book business? What excites you about it? I am a book lover simply because it takes my mind to places way beyond my imagination. And the education we are now engaged in is to show students not just to read for pleasure, but to analyse, empathise, resonate so as to find their own voice in this world. There is no better business to be engaged in than this; it stirs my heart.
How do you cultivate the love of reading in children who have too much to do and too little time? Read what you resonate with; read it more than once. Movie helps too.
I’m most proud of ….? My family which consists of two men (one old; one young) that are gentle and fun, both with a big heart. They are the driving force of my life apart from myself.
Best gift ever received? A mini plant from my son. He knows me and Growhouse!
What would “happiness in a box” contain for you? A mini photo album, a CD and a book of my choice.
Books or e-readers? Both. Depends on if I want people to know what I am reading.
My motto is….? Take root below; bear fruit above.
I last celebrated….? Mother’s Day and Growhouse’s second branch in Repulse Bay. What a gift!
Which fictional character from a book (film) would you like to sit next to at a dinner party? Amelie; she might enjoy my company.
Hong Kong is like…..a fusion buffet restaurant.
If you could do one thing with a friend visiting Hong Kong, what would you do? Dai pai dong lah, assuming it’s a western friend.
What do you do when you’re not working? Food, reading and social service with my family.
I’m happiest when I’m …..having my personal quiet time before a well-planned day either for family or for work.
Binged or paced reading? Depends on the day.
Find out more about Growhouse in person and online!
G/F BASKERVILLE HOUSE
13 DUDDELL STREET /
22 ICE HOUSE STREET
CENTRAL, HONG KONG
G106 – 107A, THE REPULSE BAY,
109 REPULSE BAY ROAD,