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Women of Pearls: Jo Soo Tang, Co-Founder of Cookie Smiles

Soul and purpose are at the heart of every social enterprise. It’s this ultimate goal of supporting a worthy cause that makes the long hours worthwhile. For Cookie Smiles Co-Founder Jo Soo Tang, knowing that every batch of cookies sold supports the disadvantaged, makes each day at work extra sweet. She shares, “I started Cookie Smiles, a social enterprise with my friend Agnes Chin last year. The business was not part of our life plans. It happened out of the blue and has brought me nothing but happiness.” Since launching in 2020, Jo reports that their company has fulfilled its dreams of supporting two charities. The mom of three, philanthropist, and former Chairman of the Hong Kong Adventist Hospital Foundation discloses, “We managed to donate our first HK$100,00 by selling 6,000 bags of cookies. That is equivalent to 1 tonne. That has been quite a milestone.”


Find out more about this multi-hyphenate, who’s purposeful work has brought feel-good flavours to the lives of countless others.



What keeps you busy these days?


I am currently planning the logistics for my Christmas pop up which will take place from 6-23 December 2021. 


How did you come to find your current career or life’s work?


I started Cookie Smiles, a social enterprise, with my friend - Agnes Chin last year and the business was not part of our life plans. It happened out of the blue and has brought me nothing but happiness so I feel very blessed with this opportunity. 



What is it about your work or career that you enjoy most? 


I love building something from nothing, it challenges me to learn, develop further skills, as we need to make the most of each day and live with purpose. I also really enjoy working with a range of people from all walks of life and be able to maintain a relatively straightforward strategy for our social enterprise 



What do you consider to be “hazards of the job?”


HK is a city where we are spoiled for choice, so we have consumers that love constant variety. We do try our best to come up with creative flavours and unique seasonal offerings that are also practical to bake! I am always sampling bakes so the calories are also very “hazardous!”, bye my children definitely don’t feel the same way, ha ha!




For women who aspire for similar careers, what would be your advice?


For women who want to start a social enterprise, my advice would be never to be afraid to ask for support, help and recommendations. Always approach each day with positivity, self worth and confidence. 



What are the career milestones that inspire you to break the glass or mold?


We managed to donate our first HK$100,000 to two charities by selling 6,000 bags of cookies which is equivalent to 1 tonne. That has been quite a milestone! 



How do you balance work and family life? What are activities that enable you to bond with family?


I wake up very early so I am able to get quite a lot achieved on a daily basis. I spend a lot of time cooking for my family, and we eat together pretty much every night. I have always preferred family life and I am a homebody, so besides cooking I also play board games with my children and go swimming. 


How do you unwind or rewind? Any favorite spots in your current city that you consider as your me-time haven?


I unwind by having massages at home, taking naps and dining with my friends at the club. My favourite me-time spot is actually my home! 



How would you describe your personal style? What are three your wardrobe essentials? 


My personal style is quite bohemian. I love Australian, artisan brands. My three wardrobe essentials are a comfy pair of Onitsuka Tiger shoes, my rose gold jewellery and a dress from King Csilla. 



What  makes for a good investment piece? Kindly cite examples of pieces in your current wardrobe. 


Watches are a great investment and my latest piece is Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak outlined in pink gold.  





What do pearls mean to you?


Pearls remind me of the beautiful sea and are associated with the month of June. I was born in June and unlike diamonds, rubies, emeralds and more, pearls require no cutting or polishing before use so they are simply stunning the way they are naturally formed.