Jun 112014


Charlie Kayi with a "Jungle in a Bottle"

Charlie Kayi, a cat and a “Jungle in a Bottle”

The career of self-described “Lifestyle Product Designer” and brand consultant Charlie Kayi has taken some unexpected turns since she graduated from HKDI-LWL’s Timepiece Design and Branding Program in 2008. After some initial false starts, and a “dark period” where she almost turned her back on design altogether, Charlie has found, or rather created, a lucrative and original niche for herself. In this interview, Janice and Waily return to Radio 708 to learn about Charlie’s unique line of products, as well as her journey from student to successful entrepreneur.

Charlie’s flagship product is “Jungle in a Bottle” — one of those ideas that is so simple but so immediately appealing that its success seems inevitable. However, such accomplishments were not always so assured. After turning down an offer to continue studies at University, and some time as a Product Development Manager at Guy-LaRoche, Charlie found herself the victim of weak economy. Unemployed and unsure of her future, she pieced together enough freelance work to pay her bills. Eventually, against the advice of many people, she took a leap and began her own company, Delication.

Waily, Charlie and Janice

Waily, Charlie and Janice

Turning away from her background in timepiece and fine jewelry design, Charlie returned to her roots, so to speak. As a child growing up in bucolic Sai Kung, Charlie and her brother would catch insects to keep as pets. Sadly, these small friends would often “give up the ghost” after just a brief stay. Using lessons from her science class, however, Charlie experimented with building small ecosystems that could sustain life. As the name suggests, “Jungle in a Bottle” is a more evolved version of these early trials. It allows anyone to keep a miniature, self-contained natural world right in their own home. While the inclusion of bugs has proven less than welcome among Hong Kong consumers, the principle of finding and maintaining a delicate, symbiotic balance remains at the very heart of the “Jungle in a Bottle” concept.


Although her current work is not directly related to the subject she studied at HKDI-LWL, Charlie believes the experience she acquired here has served her very well. Because she gained a broad understanding of how the different facets of a design company must cooperate in order to create a quality product, she is comfortable being a “bridge” between departments, making her an excellent manager. She is able to oversee everything from product design, to marketing, to branding, and as a result “Delication” is vertically integrated and able to maintain consistent standards.

With all her success, Charlie refuses to rest on her laurels. As she embarks on exciting new directions, such as 14377340964_3600c04304_bincorporating bio-technology (get ready for plants that tweet when they are thirsty), she continues to make environmental awareness personal and interactive, helping us city-dwellers forge anew our connection to the natural world. Few projects could be considered more timely.

We extend our appreciation to Charlie for making the time to come and chat with us. All of us at Radio 708, and at HKDI-LWL, wish Charlie continued success. Of course, many thanks again to Janice and Waily for their great work in preparing and conducting this interview.

Make sure to visit Charlie’s workshop at PMQ, as well as Delication’s website and facebook page.


Listen to the interview below.



©  Radio 708, 2015
May 262014

The HKDI/LWL Graduates of OpenVideo are quickly making a name for themselves online and around the city

The popular film-making group OpenVideo is made up of Francis Tam, Forza Wong, Billy Keung, Woodeast Lui and Taurus Yeung, all graduates of the Film and Television Program here at HKDI/LWL. Since graduating in 2013, the former classmates have been hard at work establishing themselves as among the most exciting new voices in Hong Kong film-making.

With only four videos so far (a fifth is coming soon), OpenVideo have attracted hundreds of thousands of YouTube views. Furthermore, their channel has a base of loyal subscribers larger than most young graduates would think possible. Yet, they’ve achieved this success without compromising their creative integrity.

Waily and Janice finding out the secrets of OpenVideo’s success


OpenVideo’s short films, especially “Minibus” and “Come on James”, offer an honest look at the challenges facing young people in Hong Kong. They describe a world where pressure from outside forces, especially the pressure to be (or appear) successful, can damage and disfigure relationships. In “Minibus”, a young couple turn on each other as a result of the girl’s demanding and unwelcoming mother, who pounces on the young man’s lack of direction and means.

a scene from “Minibus”, where a friendly dinner becomes a painful interview

In the excellent short film “Come on James”, a couple — the girl a HKU student, the boy from IVE — try to navigate each others’ insecurities in a society that attaches such great importance to where you went to school. What is so remarkable about this piece is the filmmakers’ seeming maturity. They are confident enough to let things go unsaid, expertly using silence to create tension or communicate pain. They even end the film on an ambivalent note; we are not sure, in the final scenes, whether the main characters have really changed.

“Come On James” shows how societal pressures can strain and break a relationship


In the interview below, current BA students Janice and Waily conduct an entertaining and wide-ranging discussion with all five members of OpenVideo. The guys speak frankly about their struggles and successes, as well as how their time at HKDI/LWL prepared them for the “real world”.

They talk about their process for coming up with material. Most of their films are based on stories that have become well known on forums such as HK Golden. They reinterpret these stories and combine them into dramatic, melancholy vignettes which illustrate the deeper dilemmas of modern society on a smaller, more personal scale.


Finally, the members of OpenVideo share some advice for students who are looking follow in their footsteps, or for simply anyone just starting out with a dream but unsure how to move forward. As Francis says, it is of key importance that you just take action. Once you begin to take action, other ideas and opportunities will arise.  While you may have an ultimate goal in mind, you can never get there unless you start small and just “get the ball rolling”.







With that in mind, OpenVideo continue to look forward to bigger and better things. They have their eyes on international competitions and, eventually, even a feature film. Nonetheless, they understand it will take a lot of work and patience. In the meantime, they are just enjoying the journey.


Listen to the full interview with OpenVideo below. Many thanks to all involved, especially Janice and Waily for all their hard work.




©  Radio 708, 2015
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