Diane Younes

#Legend - - Fast-forward / Who’s The Boss - SARAH ENGSTRAND

The founder of Hong Kong’s on-de­mand, on-lo­ca­tion beauty salon, Sponge, talks all things beauty, pam­per­ing and busi­ness with

What in­spired you to start Sponge?

When I moved to Hong Kong, I no­ticed that high rent drove high prices for ser­vices, in­clud­ing in sa­lons and spas. If you take away a busi­ness’ need to pay rent, you can drive down the prices. Ex­perts who come to your lo­ca­tion, and an on­line and on-de­mand book­ing sys­tem, adds the el­e­ment of con­ve­nience.

This is your first com­pany. De­scribe the learn­ing curve.

Start­ing a com­pany is like jump­ing into the un­known. The one thing you do know is there’s no safety net at the bot­tom. Once you’re OK with that, the world is your oys­ter.

Do you feel you’ve sac­ri­ficed any­thing by turn­ing away from your law ca­reer?

Build­ing and launch­ing your own com­pany isn’t a sac­ri­fice. It en­riches you with skills, ex­pe­ri­ences and pure grit that you may never have gained oth­er­wise. And I am still very much a lawyer; I use those skills in many el­e­ments at Sponge.

What are your favourite looks from Sponge?

The In­flu­encer is a con­toured look with smoky eyes and the Ath­lete hair look is a build­able braid. I love com­bin­ing the two as they are both strong looks that show off and en­hance one’s fa­cial fea­tures. They make you feel like you can do any­thing.

What make-up trend are you ob­sessed with at the mo­ment?

Strob­ing. A glow­ing com­plex­ion never goes out of style.

How do you stay or­gan­ised?

I or­gan­ise my sched­ule in the evenings for the day ahead. I write ev­ery­thing down so I don’t for­get.

Who are your role mod­els?

I have yet to find peo­ple who are more in­spi­ra­tional than my fa­ther and step­mother. They will for­ever be my role mod­els and men­tors. They al­ways know what to do.

How would you de­scribe your style?

New York with a touch of Paris. Minimalism and struc­tured lines.

What’s on your playlist right now?

Drake, Swedish House Mafia and Mozart. I have al­ways worked to clas­si­cal music, even as a child.

What’s your worst habit?

I im­merse my­self in the de­tails be­cause the devil is al­ways in the de­tails.

How do women in Hong Kong and New York dif­fer in their styling and make-up?

I find Hong Kong women and New York women have quite sim­i­lar tastes; they want to look like the best ver­sion of them­selves.

Any ad­vice for keep­ing make-up look­ing fresh in Hong Kong?

Set­ting pow­der and set­ting spray. I layer both.

How do you un­wind?

I find the best way to un­wind is to go away for at least four days. Trav­el­ling is the best form of ther­apy.

What’s your guilty plea­sure?

Chee­tos. And Chee­tos. Did I say Chee­tos?

How do you keep fit?

The more I chal­lenge my­self men­tally, the more I feel the need to chal­lenge my­self phys­i­cally. Lift­ing weights, hot yoga and spin­ning are my go-tos, prefer­ably to loud music with killer bass.

How do you keep im­prov­ing your skills as a leader and as an en­tre­pre­neur?

You learn some­thing new about your busi­ness and about your­self ev­ery day. The key is to pat your­self on the back when you do some­thing right and to ac­knowl­edge your mis­take when you do some­thing wrong.

What make-up items can’t you live with­out?

YSL Touche Éclat high­light­ing pen and Becca Ul­ti­mate Cov­er­age Com­plex­ion Crème.

Why was it so im­por­tant to make these ser­vices avail­able here?

Hong Kong women have busy sched­ules, bal­anc­ing fam­ily, ca­reer, travel, fit­ness and friends. They love be­ing pam­pered and spend count­less hours in sa­lons and spas. The con­ve­nience and ex­per­tise of Sponge makes their lives eas­ier.

Let’s talk about make-up trends.

An om­bré or­ange-red lip for a per­fect sum­mer night.

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