The Modern-Day Apothecary and His Apprentice


Text: C.Martin


“Oh, I made these myself with some baking soda and some volcanic ash, among other ingredients.” He waved his hand at the wooden shelf holding white tubes of basic toothpaste.


The owner of Home ∙ Works gently nudged his “apprentice”, his friend’s niece, to bring me the tube of toothpaste with “Taste Me” on it. I was slightly hesitant at first, but I decided to give it a try. As I smeared some of the matte grey toothpaste onto my finger and put some of it onto my tongue, I was surprised to taste the tang of tangerines on my taste buds. The tingling icy sensation that was left on my tongue felt very interesting, especially as it was summer and anything cooling felt nice


Edmund Ip founded Home ∙ Works with the hope of creating a lifestyle shop that promoted a balanced lifestyle between work and living. On the walls across from the wooden shelves hung designer clocks, and quotes asserting a balanced lifestyle were sprawled on the walls.


The light-hearted quotes (such as “Ideas have a short shelf life. You must act on them before the expiration date” and “Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn’t know you left open”) added to the interesting vibe I felt when walking into the store, almost as if entering an enchanted exhibition room in Harry Potter style.


As I turned to the bottles of body and hair wash on the next shelf, he remarked that those were favorites of the workers at PMQ, as they could take them immediately to the showers. The bamboo scrubs in the glass jar seemed to be a pretty nice match for the body wash, but I think those would have been too comfortable to use at PMQ.


Surprisingly, both Edmund and his “apprentice” were quite familiar with organic chemistry, which formed the basis for many of his organic concoctions. We had a comical discussion about the chemical structure of the soap in his store. His “apprentice” had just finished her DSE exams, so the formulas and facts were still fresh in her mind, but Edmund had already seemed to have consolidated this knowledge.


“A bit of organic knowledge comes in handy when creating these products. My deodorant, for example, is made of ingredients like baking soda which kills germs, eliminating the cause of the odor”, said Edmund. “Other natural ingredients, like witch hazel extract, reduce the size of the pores in your skin rather than closing them as opposed to commercial deodorant.”


I was intrigued by the deodorant, especially its “witch hazel” component, so I decided to give the deodorant a try by sniffing at it a bit. There was a lemony citrus taste to it which I found quite natural and refreshing.

Entering into Home ∙ Works almost seemed like opening the doors of a wardrobe and ending up in a far-off place in a different time. It almost seemed like there was some subtle magic at work here. Perhaps Home ∙ Works belonged to a different time.

Shop Name: Home ∙ Works

Websites: http://www.home-works.org/


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/home.works.hk

Shop Location: Unit 506, 5/f, Staunton, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong


Opening Hours: 1:00pm – 8:00pm

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