Velvettes: Stephanie Zheng
Behind everything that moves us and pushes us to create is the thing we're passionate about. This series of posts, Velvettes, focuses on female entrepreneurs and creatives. See our Q&A with Stephanie Zheng, founder of Mount Lai, on the regimen!
Being creative is more than an artistic flair or building something with your hands. It's also about problem-solving outside the box and innovating regular things and activities. Starting VELVET was a way for me to make skincare and science accessible for everyone. Creating really easy to use and decadent products was just a bonus step. What really fueled me was a new way to apply my research background in something I was so in love with already: skincare.
Others, like Stephanie Zheng, find inspiration in tradition. "My grandmother has been using her jade roller for over fifty years. When I went to buy one of my own, I had trouble finding a high quality, credible jade roller. " Already a prominent beauty and lifestyle blogger, she co-founded Mount Lai to create a better jade roller experience for customers. You might already follow her impeccably curated Instagram account, filled with all things NYC, business, and beauty.
When it comes to finding a need for high quality jade rollers, Stephanie is invested in the full experience, "from the packaging to the unboxing to the design of the jade roller itself." After all, it's not just about purchasing a product one time, using it on and off, and forgetting about it. Mount Lai jade rollers are a tool for a beauty ritual, not just a routine. "We provide products that help our consumers create rituals for both physical and mental well-being. At the end of the day, we view ourselves as a wellness company providing the tools for healthy skin and peaceful mind."
Running a company, however, has its share of challenges, especially financial ones. "Growth often requires more capital than just the initial startup costs. Make sure you account for that." From navigating a bourgeoning company to living life as a woman in New York, the everyday can get really tough. What does it mean to have it all? For Stephanie, it's not being spread thin. "It's not appealing to me to have a successful company but be working 24/7 and never have time for anything or anyone else. To me, "having it all" means balance. Balancing work, family, friends, self. I think it's a process rather than an end goal."
It's easy to feel overwhelmed when you've thrown yourself into a new venture. It's always been important for me to remember why I started and what drives me every day. Stephanie's advice for entrepreneurs? "Know your numbers, know your competitive advantage, and speak with confidence." Believing in what you set out to do is half the battle, and having your facts and people by your side will help you win the rest.
Read the Q&A with Stephanie on the regimen!