Amenpapa: The Next Step // Amenpapa: 下一步

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It has been nearly a year since we first posted Amenpapa founder Salina Yam’s ‘I Was Made To…’ video. Since then, Salina has married and opened up Amenpapa’s first retail shop in Silvercord Centre, Tsim Sha Tsui. We check back in with Salina to find out what God has shown her since putting her faith into opening up her own store.
大概一年前,我們上載了Amenpapa創辦人Salina Yam的“我為__而活¡¨視像見證。這一年裡,Salina結婚了,並開了Amenpapa位於尖沙嘴新港中心商場的第一家零售店。我們再次拜訪Salina,看看神在她憑信心決定開自己的零售店後為她揭示的總總。

You’ve opened your first retail store in TST. Congrats! Why the transition from wholesale to retail?
Wholesale is actually relaxing. Only when people order, we ship. That’s it. But we noticed that when we just put it in other stores, we couldn’t get the message across as much as we would like. In the past, when our clothes were on the racks of stores like Harvey Nichols, Cocktail and Ztampz, we weren’t at those stores all the time so we couldn’t explain to the shoppers what our line means. It’s like a baby crying and crying and you don’t know what he wants. Now that we have a shop, we’re able to explain more clearly what our merchandise means. We get to push the message out more directly.

你剛開了位於尖沙嘴的首間專門店。恭喜你!為什麼你想從批發改為零售呢?
做批發其實很舒服。有人訂貨的時候,我們才發貨。就這麼簡單。但是我們察覺當貨品只放在其他店舖代售時,我們沒有機會把信息完完全全地傳出去。在過去的日子,當我們的衣服在Harvey Nichols、Cocktail和Ztampz裡發售的時候,我們不能在店裡為顧客講解我們品牌的含義。這就像一個嬰兒不停在哭,但沒人知道他想要什麼。現在,我們有了自己的店,我們就可以清楚地講解我們產品的意義。我們可以更直接地把信息傳出去。

Who are your customers?
Young people who are not Christians. The Bible is filled with wisdoms that can teach you how to live a good life. But it’s really difficult getting friends to read the Bible – most of them would probably only read it after they retire. However, if you put it on a shirt, it’s a lot easier to absorb the message. Before we didn’t have a store but we got a lot of shoppers who bought our pieces and noticed the Bible verse on the back and they wrote in. We had one girl who wasn’t Christian tell us how when she saw the Bible verse on a shirt she bought, it sparked a really interesting conversation with her Christian friend and she’s now very interested in learning more about the Bible. So the point of these clothes is a way for you to share more conversations about the Bible and about God with those around you.

你的顧客群是什麼人呢?
是非基督徒的年輕人。聖經載滿了能教你怎樣過有意義的一生的智慧和道理。 但是,要你的朋友研讀聖經是一件很困難的事。要是你把經文寫在衣服上,話語就變得比較容易吸收。以前,我們雖然沒有自己的專門店,但很多顧客買了我們的衣服後,發現印上的聖經話語就會發電郵給我們。有位非信徒的女孩告訴我們,衣服上的聖經話語引起她與她的基督徒朋友的一段有趣的對話,自此她就對研讀聖經充滿興趣。重點是這些衣服能讓你跟身邊的人分享更多有關聖經和神的對話。

Faith is often a really sensitive topic but your brand is so open about it. Have you ever faced any negative reactions?
Very few. I think now that the shop has opened, there will be more. I find that non-Christians are actually not as judgmental as other Christians. Most people in Hong Kong are pretty liberal with faith, they’re okay with Jesus and Christianity. And most people just enjoy the positive energy from the messages of the shirt. But we have gotten some comments from other Christians about how we’re using the Lord to make money. The thing is we want to be self-sustainable in spreading the message, we don’t want to be a charity. Why should we fundraise and beg people to give us money when we don’t have to? I look to TOMS shoes and it’s so successful in sustaining itself and reaching out to other people, doing good work. That’s what we would like to model ourselves after.

信仰是一個很敏感的話題,而你的品牌對信仰卻那麼公開。你過往有否經歷過別人負面的反應呢?
很少。我覺得專門店開了後,可能會多一點。我發現非基督徒反而沒有基督徒那麼主觀判斷。 在香港,大部份人對信仰有著開放的態度,他們抱著平常心對待耶和華和基督教這些概念。而多數人都喜歡我們衣服上的信息所帶出的正能量。 可是,我們卻收到有些基督徒的評語覺得我們利用神來賺錢。問題是,我們傳播信息的同時也想做到自力更生,我們不想做慈善。要是我們有能力自力更生,我們為什麼要伸出手問別人要錢呢?我拿Toms這鞋履品牌做榜樣,它很成功地自我維持業務,也同時把信息廣泛傳達。這就是我們想效忠的榜樣。

Since starting your line, you’ve gotten married and found two more partners to join your team – your husband Jeff and his longtime business partner Leo. What is it like working with them?
My now-husband Jeff came to Christ when we were dating and when he saw all the positive support we received from the celebrities and the stores that wanted to carry our merchandise; it motivated him to join the company. And his longtime business partner Leo also came along because the two of them always worked really well together. Leo’s actually not Christian but it’s really good that he’s on our team because he gives us a more balanced business point of view. Sometimes he wouldn’t understand when Jeff and I would pray about things though [laughs].

自從你開始了自己的品牌以後,你結婚了,也找到了兩位搭檔 - 你的丈夫Jeff和他的長期生意夥伴Leo-加入你的團隊。跟他們一起合作是怎樣的?
我的丈夫Jeff在我們還在約會的時候信主了,看到很多名人以及商店支持我們的品牌鼓勵他去加入這公司。他的長期生意夥伴Leo也加入了,因為他們倆一向也合作得很好。其實Leo不是基督徒,但是有他在我們的團隊是一件很好的事,因為他能提供比較平衡和客觀的商業意見。有時候,他不會明白為什麼我和Jeff會為遇到的事情而祈禱。[笑]

What are some things that you think you’ve learned since starting your line?
I felt like through this experience, God really purified me because when you’re trying to market your product in the commercial world, I was tested to tell different lies or spin the story a different way in order to sell more. But this purified me instead because it made me realize how sinful our natures are and how we need to rely on Him to purify us. I would be tempted and then realize I needed to rely on Him more.

在開始你的品牌後,你覺得你學到了什麼呢?
我覺得透過這經歷,神淨化了我,因為當你在商業社會上嘗試推銷你的產品時,你會被試煉,有著衝動去為了銷量而說謊或把故事改頭換面、說得天花龍鳳。但這試煉卻淨化了我,因為試煉讓我體會我們罪惡的本性以及我們是多需要依賴神去淨化我們。我會被誘惑,然後從而感覺到我需要更依靠著神。

Amenpapa has a different theme each season, is that right?
Yes, we try to have a different theme each season. Currently, it’s called Who Cares. It has a double meaning. One meaning is the way young people nowadays just casually throw around ‘Who cares’ but it’s actually also the intention that God cares. Also I think it speaks to Hong Kong’s culture where they tell you ‘see bah guan gei, gei buht lo sum’ (事不關己, 己不勞心) – which means ‘things that don’t concern me, has nothing to do with me so I don’t care’. And that’s something my father has always taught me. We tend to go about just minding our own business and not really caring about others. I would only care about my own problems and think about myself. I didn’t even use to really care about my closest friends. But that’s not what the Bible preaches. The Bible tells you to care for others. And it’s because Christ cares so much about us.

Our next theme is going to be a little bit darker and talks about the gravity of gospel. Because Christ dying on the cross for us is not a happy thing. It’s a very dark, serious matter and we want to play on that with our new pieces.

The inspiration for this theme is from when I came to Christ. It was during a dark time in my life when I was suffering from mild depression. Even after I came to Christ, I didn’t get healed– I still suffered from insomnia. The only thing that kept me from committing suicide was knowing that I wouldn’t get into heaven that way. So I couldn’t commit suicide but I would pray that I could get killed by a car. It wasn’t until one night, a friend suggested that I read the Bible. He wasn’t a Christian but he wanted me to read the Bible because it was boring and maybe I could fall asleep from it [laughs]. I flipped to a random page and the story that I read was about the Samaritan woman who was thirsty. The woman encounters Jesus who asks her to fetch him some water. The woman says “I don’t know you, why would I get you water?” and Jesus said, “if you knew who I was, I would give you the living water and you would never be thirsty again”. After I read that chapter, it didn’t leave me with any lasting impression. But after 2-3 hours, I still couldn’t sleep so I randomly flipped the bible again and it was the SAME STORY that I turned to. So I immediately kneeled down and prayed to God and asked Him to tell me what he was trying to tell me. And He told me, “You are that woman. You keep trying to fill your heart with men. But you’re never satisfied with any of these relationships. You will only be satisfied if you build a relationship with me”. Since then I started building a personal relationship with the Lord.

Amenpapa 是不是每季也有不同的主題?
對的,我們嘗試每季都有一個不同主題。現在的是“誰在乎”。這主題有著雙重意思。一方面,這代表了現代的年輕人那輕易就脫口而出的一句“誰在乎”(Who cares),也代表了暗藏的意義:“神在乎”。我覺得這也說白了香港文化裡的“事不關己, 己不勞心”,意思就是我不在乎不會影響或涉及到我的事情。這也是我爸爸常常教我的。我們往往只顧著自己的事情,不去關心別人。我曾會單單只關注自己的問題,我甚至連最要好的朋友也不是特別關心。但是聖經不是這樣教導我們的。聖經教我們要去關心別人,因為耶和華非常關心我們。

我們下一個主題會比較黑暗,講述福音的嚴重性。因為耶和華為我們在十字架上而死並不是一件快樂的事。這是一件非常黑暗且嚴重的事,而我們想把這信息放在我們新一季的產品上。

這次主體的靈感來源自我初信主的經歷。那時我受著中度憂鬱症的折磨,正渡過著人生一個很黑暗的時候。縱使我信主以後,我也還沒有得到治癒-我繼續被失眠折騰著。自殺就不能進天堂是唯一能讓我打消自殺念頭的原因,但是我卻會禱告祈求我可以被車撞死。直到有一天,我的朋友建議我去讀讀聖經。他不是基督徒,他想我讀聖經是因為他覺得聖經很悶,他覺得我或許可藉此睡著 (笑)。我隨意翻到一頁,那故事是關於一位口渴的撒瑪利亞女人。她遇見耶和華,而耶和華叫這女人給他水。這女人說:「我不認識你,為什麼我要給你水?」耶和華回答說:「如果你知道我是誰,我就會給你生命的泉源,使你永遠都不會再口渴了。」看完後,這經文沒有留下特別的印象。但兩三個小時以後,我還是睡不著,所以我又隨意翻翻聖經,我竟然又翻到同一個故事!我馬上跪地禱告,求神告訴我祂想告訴我的。祂告訴我說:「你就是那個女人。你不停想透過男人而滿足你的心靈。但是你卻從來沒有因為這些感情關係而感到滿足。唯一能讓你的心靈滿足的方法就是與我建立關係。」從此之後,我就開始和神建立一段個人的關係。

What’s one of your favorite Bible messages?
My husband and I play a game every night called ‘His word, last word’ where right before we sleep, we read a Bible verse three times and don’t speak another word for the rest of the night. This leaves God’s word as our last to meditate on for the rest of the night. My current favourite is: “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” – Matthew 6:33. I feel like it’s a good one to deal with what I’ve been going through with Amenpapa right now. It’s nice to be reminded that I need to seek His kingdom first and worry about the rest second.

你最喜歡的經文是什麼?
我的丈夫和我喜歡每晚睡覺前都會玩一個叫“祂的話語,最後的話語”的遊戲。我們會讀一段經文三次,然後在餘下的晚上都不會再說話。這讓神的話語成為我們在餘下的晚上沈思的話語。我近期最愛的是:「你們要先求他的國和他的義,這些東西都要加給你們了。」-馬太福音 6:33。我覺得這段經文很適合我現時在Amenpapa的經歷。這提醒了我要先求祂的國,把其他擔憂放在第二位。

You can check out the Amenpapa store at: Shop 206, Silvercord Centre, 30 Canton Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui; amenpapa.com
Amenpapa 位於尖沙嘴廣東道30號新港中心商場206號舖; amenpapa.com

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