Charlotte Chen, owner of Everyday for Every Body
An entrepreneur with a finger in almost every pie and a new mom, Charlotte Chen is also a seasoned globetrotter. By Jessica Chan
Charlotte Chen grew up surrounded by fashion. Her late mother was Hong Kong fashion designer Rowena Yu, while her father was in the garment business. It made perfect sense for her to give up her investment banking job to satisfy her creative streak to co-found Spottly, a photo-based travel app that allows fellow travellers to see the world as she and her influencer friends, like Earn Chen, do. Not only did Spottly earned the title of Best New App across 15 countries on itunes, it became the stepping stone for her next venture, Empyr+co; the consultancy helped luxury brands, including The Hour Glass and Tod’s, attract younger, more tech-savvy customers. Her success caught the eye of Dior Cosmetics and Pernod Ricard in Hong Kong, who engaged her to manage their product launch campaigns.
Today, the 34-year-old fronts Everyday for Every Body, her brand of non-toxic personal care products. But it was last year when she took on the biggest project – motherhood. However, she still finds time for travelling, whether it’s a ski vacation to Hakuba or a holiday spent sauntering through the streets of Brooklyn in her trusty Sacai jacket. You were just in Hakuba for a winter holiday with your family. Tell us more.
We stayed at Hakuba Goryu Snow Resort for its more advanced ski courses, but also drove to Hakuba Happo-one Winter Resort near Mount Karamatsu. It was a three-and-a-half-hour car ride from Tokyo and worth every second. The skies were painted a beautiful, cloudless blue for the entirety of our trip.
While I only managed to squeeze in half a day of skiing, I wouldn’t have traded anything else for an afternoon with my daughter. It was amazing to see her enamoured by the texture of snow. She is much too young to build a snowman but thoroughly enjoyed a session of bum-boarding and sledding off gentle slopes. Best of all, we found Rest House Toomi, a café at the base of the hill with an al fresco area. There, we got to savour a comforting plate of katsu kare raisu and sip on a Grapefruit Kirin Chu Hi while admiring the snow-covered alps.
What is it like to travel as a parent?
It is important to maintain your child’s routine no matter the location. I’d look for accommodation that offer a kitchen. Think serviced apartments, family suites or Airbnb. I took it easy with the scheduling as well. Rather than crossing out a checklist of pictureworthy monuments, sophisticated restaurants or museums, I find joy in the little discoveries I’d make at a local fruit market or kidfriendly attractions we’d both enjoy.
I love trying out local specialities, particularly breakfast foods.
My favourites include breakfast porridge at Grød in Copenhagen; tortilla Española in San Sebastián, Spain; and m’smmen (crispy Moroccan pancakes), courtesy of my college roommate from Casablanca.
What’s next on your family’s itinerary?
A place like the Galápagos Islands. It is filled with a magnificent array of marine life like the Galápagos tortoises, but we have introduced our daughter to a different kind of winter in Stellenbosch, Cape Town, over Christmas. It is where my husband is from so the little one got to visit her grandparents as well. Tell us about your trip to Brooklyn.
I adored the quaint neighbourhood of Cobble Hill and Dumbo. It is a treasure trove of cafés and boutiques. I found Regular Visitors, a cosy corner store-cum-newsstand packed with homewares and apothecaries. It also functions as a café for guests to grab a cuppa or enjoy a slow afternoon read. Fellow shopaholics can go to town at Consignment Brooklyn, a high-end second-hand store; Shen Beauty with its natural, non-toxic beauty products; and Bird Brooklyn. To date, I’m still lusting over a pair of WWAKE earrings and a Proenza one-sleeve dress from Bird Brooklyn.
What destinations around the world would you recommend? Stay at the Hotel Abadia Retuerta Ledomaine, a 12th century abbey turned five-star hotel in Valladolid, Spain. The picturesque vineyard aside, it is home to one Michelin-starred Refectorio, helmed by head chef Marc Segarra. There’s also Babylonstoren, one of the oldest Cape Dutch farms with its own vegetable garden, a spa set within a bamboo forest as well as a vineyard producing a fine Bourdeaux blend, Nebukadnesar. When in Italy, pop by Cantina Atinori, a centuries-old vineyard, for a taste of their Chianti Classico.
Last but not least, any travel essentials?
Cle De Peau’s The Cream to keep my skin hydrated in colder, drier climates, and Tata Harper tinted balm to keep my lips plump with a nice pop of colour. As for my wardrobe, I can’t live without my Sacai basics and arsenal of FENDI BY THE WAY. Right now, I’m obsessed with what I call ‘ugly dad sneakers’, like the Louis Vuitton LV Archlight Sneakers. It’s basically chunky footwear – once decidedly uncool – that’s gotten a revival, thanks to the rise of street fashion.
Hotel Abadia Retuerta Ledomaine