Congratulations on Goldthread's third anniversary. What does it mean to you and how did your team celebrate this milestone?
I cannot believe it has already been three years. It honestly feels like we are just getting started. And in many ways, we still are. Up till now, we have established our signature style in our mini-documentaries, which have won us some 800,000 subscribers and around 14 million views a month.
But things move fast at Goldthread. Now, we are keen to add new formats to our bag of tools, to tell our stories in more ways for new audiences. Looking back, it has been a remarkable journey building this product. While the team is tiny, we have figured out how to get a product out that looks like it comes from a bigger team. I am super proud and impressed with the creative minds in the team that have made this possible. The year was also made all the sweeter when our second season of "Eat China" won the Best Facebook Watch Show at the Digiday Video and TV Awards 2021.
We celebrated by heading out on a squid fishing boat for the evening! It is squid fishing season in Hong Kong right now, and the team got pretty competitive on who would hook up the most squid.
Can you tell us more about your role and duties at Goldthread?
When Goldthread started, I was very involved in designing the brand's look and feel, as well as charting its editorial direction. A lot had to be laid down in terms of our tone, and deciding what was within our scope.
Together with the team, I have also worked on the day-to-day of the product itself, from editing scripts to doing voiceovers and being on camera. (There was a weird six months where I was on my hands and knees every day packing boxes for the Goldthread Shop, our content-to-commerce experimental project.)
Today I am working on expanding Goldthread's partnerships with brands and other platforms. The goal is to reach new audiences, and grow the level of interest in Chinese culture stories.
Last year, Discovery Channel's Asian Food Network licensed the first season
of our "Eat China
" show. This means a whole new audience outside of Goldthread's subscriber base is able to watch the show and be exposed to different Chinese food they may not have seen before.
How has Goldthread evolved over the years?
Goldthread has always been about getting to understand China and what it means to be in China, one person at a time. This means taking apart the very broad umbrella concept of Chinese culture, and telling the stories of Chinese people by what they do and eat, how they live, and what moves their decisions.
It is perhaps no surprise, though, that our food content has hit its stride with audiences, because it is so universally appealing. ‘Eat China’ is dedicated to food enthusiasts and the China-curious who appreciate punchy deep dives delivered with journalistic rigour. Viewers also tell us they want to get deeper stories in the Goldthread newsletter
, so there is an audience that wants to understand the nuances in stories beyond what you read in the news.
What have been some of your most challenging and memorable experiences with Goldthread?
How many people have replied to this question saying the pandemic? For us, the pandemic put a sharp halt to our travels to mainland China. This was challenging, because, for the first two years, most of our stories were shot by the team on location in Mainland China.
Not being able to travel meant that the team suddenly had to figure out how to remotely produce the same quality of stories (both visually and journalistically) with stringers, and do all of our research, fixing, and interviewing here from Hong Kong. Still, the team managed to work with the new restrictions, in fact hitting our best record in late-2020, keeping up performance into 2021. To me, this showed that good storytelling is about execution, and I am grateful that our audience stayed with us while we figured it out.
What's on your agenda for the rest of the year and 2022?
We are a small team, but we are constantly trying to punch above our weight, in terms of what we put out. This year, the plan is to invent new formats of telling stories outside our current core mini-documentary style. We think there is demand for Goldthread's unique positioning in this region, telling stories that are very local for an international audience.