Bailey Cherry is a secondary school student in Hong Kong. She is the CEO and Founder of a non-profit social enterprise, “reBooked”, which provides a platform for promoting sustainability in literacy. Established in 2019, "reBooked" is now Hong Kong's biggest bookshop for secondhand children's books.
What are the causes that are important for you and the youth today and why?
I believe the main causes that are important for youth today can be divided into three categories: environment, inclusivity and education. As the youth continue to see and experience the effects of our actions on the wider world, we are prompted to be environmentally conscious and make change. Next, I believe that through globalisation and as the world becomes more connected through technology, inclusivity and acceptance of others is a value of many. Lastly, many of us are also passionate about accessible education. Learning and access to schooling helps us build skills and knowledge useful when making an impact on our communities.
What were the difficulties you faced at the beginning of everything? How did you overcome them?
One of the challenges we faced was the issue of COVID-19. When starting reBooked, to collect book donations, I went directly to the houses of donors to pick the books up. I also personally delivered the books to our buyers. However, due to COVID-19, going out was discouraged. To overcome this challenge, we adapted our business model - we started to use courier services to collect and distribute books. This change was not only relevant in the time of COVID-19, but also continues to be a really efficient business model.
Lastly, another challenge I face is personal time management. As a team of full-time students, we all have our fair share of studying, activities, and social lives on top of reBooked! We are challenged to find the right balance to manage our different commitments, understanding that we can’t do it all.
What are the projects you are currently working on? What are the challenges you and your organisation are facing today?
The project I am working on right now is reBooked. ReBooked’s goal is to promote sustainability in literacy by encouraging the reuse of children’s books. In less than 2 years, ReBooked has collected over 50,000 children’s books - saving them from going straight to one of Hong Kong’s landfills. ReBooked has also collaborated with various community partners to share the joy of reading with other young children in Hong Kong. With both an online shop and a retail store, ReBooked is Hong Kong’s biggest bookshop for preloved children’s books.
Since reBooked’s launch, we have been so fortunate to have received tremendous support from the local community; we have a steady stream of book donations from families, schools, and private companies. In this relation, however, we have the issue of limited space and currently, we have to rent storage space in 3 different districts in Hong Kong to accommodate our growing inventory. ReBooked is a non-profit organization and we are committed to our cause; however, we do need to explore more cost-effective solutions to ensure a sustainable future for ourselves.
What is your advice for young people who want to make a positive impact? How should they begin?
My advice to aspiring young changemakers is to Go for it! Don’t wait for the perfect opportunity, the perfect time, or for the perfect team member - oftentimes, there is no “perfect” situation. Do your research (know your target market, and be clear about your unique offering) and if possible, find a mentor. Then, give it a go! Keep learning and keep looking for ways to improve your product or services.
(Photo courtesy: Bailey Cherry, copyright: Bailey Cherry)