Interview: POPBEE's Janice Lee, From Fashion Blogger To Hong Kong Trendsetter

    With readers around the world and tens of thousands of Facebook and Sina Weibo fans, Hong Kong's POPBEE wields substantial power in the Greater China fashion blogosphere.
    Jing DailyAuthor
      Published   in Fashion

    Journey Of A Blog: The Rise Of POPBEE#

    POPBEE founder, Janice Lee

    With readers around the world and tens of thousands of Facebook and Sina Weibo fans, Hong Kong's POPBEE wields substantial influence in the Greater China fashion world. Going beyond its original focus as a fashion blog, POPBEE, run by a team led by founder Janice Lee, is now an established fashion "soul center" for women in Hong Kong, mainland China, and beyond. An interactive and democratic user-based community, POPBEE shares timely fashion trends, addresses style concerns, and consults with readers on a range of fashion and lifestyle issues. In return, POPBEE has secured a loyal readership and transformed the world of Chinese-language fashion blogging.

    Tina Liu of Jing Daily recently sat down for an interview with POPBEE’s charming founder, Janice Lee.

    Jing Daily (JD): Who’s behind POPBEE? Can you give us a sense of when and how the blog came together?#

    Janice Lee (JL)#

    : There's actually a small team of people that make up POPBEE. I initially started POPBEE back in 2008 as a personal blog to post my thoughts, experience and my love for fashion. Over time, POPBEE began to build a larger readership base and I got the opportunity to bring on a team of people to carry forward the blog.

    JD: Do you come from a fashion background, or was the blog something that initially came together purely out of interest?#


    : I don’t have a formal fashion background but I have always been interested in fashion, design and culture. So I guess you can say POPBEE was purely out of interest for me.

    JD: POPBEE has gone beyond the traditional blog format and created a community of active members. How important do you think interaction is in today's blogging culture?#


    : I think fashion is about communication and sharing of information, a two-way discussion between the audience and news source. Having a community is very important for POPBEE and for today’s online blogging culture.

    Without the community, we wouldn’t be able to learn, share and inspire each other.

    JD: Aside from reporting about new products and fashion trends, you often model for the “Today’s Outfit” section and engage with readers. Do you see yourself extending into this type of fashion "consulting" full-time? How would POPBEE approach this type of interaction?#


    : The outfit post is more a personal corner for me to share my outfits and thoughts with my readers. It's sort of the space on POPBEE that allows me to interact with the audience on a more personal level, for example, speaking about my day-to-day experiences or the way I chose to wear one particular item.

    I have never really thought of doing fashion consulting or styling, but if the opportunity comes up, I would definitely be open to try it!

    JD: Do you have a sense of the demographics of your readers?#


    : Most of them are female and located in Asia.

    JD: You post in both simplified and traditional Chinese, as your key audience is obviously Chinese. But do you have plans to extend into the Anglophone community as well?#


    : POPBEE began as a traditional Chinese blog based in Hong Kong, so we've kept it in [traditional Chinese script] and added a simplified version. Over the years, as I got to know my readers, I realized that many of them are English speaking or are from outside of Asia but still read our blog for the visuals and pictures. So I've definitely considered creating an English version.

    However, I'd like to wait for the Chinese version to become more established before we start creating a full English version.

    JD: Do you consider your mainland Chinese readership or Hong Kong and overseas readership to be your most important demographic? Which is the most active, in terms of engagement?#


    : All of my readers are equally important. In terms of activity and engagement, I think it really depends on what the overall editorial content/topic that's discussed. It's hard to say which group is more interactive because if the content is interesting enough, it can attract lots of responses anyway, no matter the demographic or location.

    JD: What are your hopes for POPBEE in the near future? Considering the fashion blogging world is dominated by heavy hitters like the Sartorialist, Who What Wear and others, how do you set yourself apart?#


    : For me, POPBEE is still very young and there's so much more to learn and improve on. I feel POPBEE is more like a learning process. I think for right now and the future, I hope POPBEE will continue to challenge me, my team and the readers, and that we can continue to provide great news and content to them.

    JD: Where do you draw the line between commercial and original fashion news?#


    : When have commercial news, we always ensure that we inform our readers by saying "sponsored by," or things like that. However, our readers can trust that all news information is carefully selected and chosen by my team before it is shared on our website. We only pick the best topics and stories, and I think this personal screening process is what makes our content authentic and real.

    JD: Aside from advertising, how does POPBEE sustain itself?#


    : I think there is so much exciting new technology and trends happening on the online world, and blogging is definitely a growing platform. Beyond advertising, there are many innovative things POPBEE can do such as brand collaborations, styling features and special projects.

    The opportunities are endless as long as you're open to new ideas.

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