Green Queen Interview: A Chat With Sarah Fung, Founder & Publisher Of Liv, Hong Kong’s New Wellness Magazine
We chat to to Hong Kong media veteran Sarah Fung about her brand new project Liv Magazine, the new monthly print glossie dedicated to all things wellness in the 852! We are thrilled about the launch of Liv, especially since Green Queen is onboard as a regular contributor! For the magazine’s first issue, we write about where to get organic veggies in Hong Kong on a budget- one of our favourite topics ever.
How did Liv Magazine come about?
I have been writing about health and wellness for nine years, which is as long as I’ve been in the media industry. In the past few years, wellness has very much gone from a niche interest (or, when it comes to the gym, a bit of a chore) to a way of life for an increasing number of people. After leaving HK Magazine this February, I decided that healthy living isn’t a fad – it’s a revolution – and that Hong Kong needs a magazine that gives them the tools to enhance their physical and mental wellbeing.
In your words, what is Liv Magazine’s mission?
First and foremost, Liv is a city magazine with a focus on wellness. This means that we are all about what’s happening on the local health scene. We want to talk to homegrown entrepreneurs in the wellness space, give people actionable information and drive customers to local businesses that can help them meet their health goals. Our tone is friendly, inspirational and served with a healthy dose of reality; we know that no one can live like a saint 100 percent of the time – nor would they want to. We are about feeling good about yourself, so you won’t find any suggestions to lose weight, improve your muscles, look sexier or any other negative language that undermines our readers’ belief in their own awesomeness.
What was the hardest part of launching Liv?
Honestly, it’s been a blast. I love magazines and every aspect of putting them together – from the flow of stories to the design and finding the right advertising partners who get what we are trying to do. We keep having to have the “is print dead?” conversation with people, which is a bit frustrating. Sure, online sales are cheaper, but for a return on investment, studies show that print is the most effective. Besides, people are getting fed up of being plugged in all the time, which all feeds into this need to switch off and just enjoy something not off a tiny iPhone screen for once.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Definitely working with my fabulous team. I’ve got with some fantastically talented people who are really passionate about health, and a great designer who intuitively understands the look and feel that we are going for. I also love people’s first reaction when they see our media kit. Nine times out of ten they go: “OMG I LOVE this!” – it’s very gratifying as I’ve poured my heart into it.
What are some of your favourite green brands?
I love the bright patterns from Rumi Yoga Wear – this local brand makes yoga clothes out of recycled plastic bottles, meaning that they’re earth-friendly as well as stylish.
Jack & Sparrow Naturals are another really cool just-launched local brand that offers powdered superfoods that you can chuck in a smoothie for a nutrient hit. They’re all made in New Zealand and I especially love the gorgeous packaging.
I scorned the Dopper (it’s a $150 water bottle!) when I first got given one, but now I honestly don’t go anywhere without mine as it’s stylish, handbag-sized and easy to clean. Plus 10 percent of sales go to clean water projects in Nepal.
What are your favorite healthy eating haunts?
With a one-year-old in tow, we don’t really go anywhere anymore! But of the few places I’ve been recently, I would say Sohofama is a really cool space that really lives up to its locavore philosophy. I just had a poke bowl (brown rice and marinated tuna salad) at Pololi that was a deliciously healthy post-workout meal. nood food does a fantastic to-go salad bar, and I’ve probably spent too much money on their smoothies and almond mylk blends. I also recently went to the new MANA! Cafe in Po Hing Fong, which is a really cool addition to the neighbourhood.
What are some of your healthiest habits?
I’m very much of the “everything in moderation… including moderation.” school of thought. I try to work a frozen berry smoothie into my breakfast routine when I can, incorporate more leafy greens and fewer carbs at dinner time, and monitor my diet from one day to the next – say if I have a big meal the night before, I might eat a little simpler the next day. We boil and filter all our tap water religiously – a Brita jug has worked really well for us. We also do a lot of shopping at the wet market as the vegetables and fish are much better than at the supermarket, and we’re supporting local businesses too.
What’s your favorite workout/Where do you usually workout?
Ha! I’m totally guilty of not practicing what I preach in this respect. With a little girl at home and a magazine to run, my gym attendance hasn’t been the best recently. I try to make time to swim every week – I find it meditative – and will try to sneak in a yoga or Bodypump class at Pure in between meetings. Pre-baby we hiked a lot on the weekends but it’s been too hot for the little one. When the weather cools down we’ll try hit a few easy trails as a family. In my defense, right now I have the most toned arms of my life from picking up and putting down a baby a million times a day.
As a spa and beauty expert, what are your favorite toxin-free brands and places to get pampered?
I’m a huge fan of Dr. Roebuck’s face polish. This Australian brand is available only online at Watson’s which is a bit annoying but it’s really natural, pure and effective. I wish it was easier to get hold of here.
Fresh has an amazing rose face mask that is expensive but worth every cent for calming and hydrating. It’s probably the most effective face mask I’ve tried, natural or otherwise. It’s an instant facial!
Aesop is another long-standing favourite of mine. It’s products all smell divine, I love the packaging and the products are all effective as well.
I love what Gourmet Skin Bar is doing here on the organic side. It’s bringing really lovely products to Hong Kong that you can’t find in the regular retail stores.
For eco-warriors, Melvita really practices what it preaches when it comes to biodiversity and sustainability. It does quality face oils for people who really like to go back to basics, as well as anti-aging lines made from bee products – the brand is on a mission to restore bee populations, which is a real environmental concern.
Photos courtesy of Liv Magazine.