Stephanie Zheng is the founder of Mount Lai, a beauty brand rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine, which she started a little under two years ago at the age of 21. She’s always been passionate about entrepreneurship and started her first business at the age of 15 when she was a sophomore in high school. Stephanie is also a digital content creator at Collection of Vials where she talks about beauty, wellness and life in NYC. She collects travel-sized beauty products, drinks too much chrysanthemum tea and has two Insta-famous hedgehogs named Atticus and Acorn.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself, and what inspired you to start Mount Lai?
My grandmother has actually been jade rolling for over 50 years! She was a big inspiration behind Mount Lai. The name Mount Lai plays homage to Mount Penglai from Chinese mythology, a place of healing with magical fruits that grant eternal youth. I wanted to build Mount Lai as a place of wellness that helps people create self-care rituals for glowing skin and peace of mind.
What does your typical day look like?
I typically wake up pretty early, between 5-6 am. In the mornings I’ll make a list of my priorities for the day and get started on my to-do list from home. I head to the office at around 9 am and then work until the evening. After work, my boyfriend and I will usually head to the gym and then eat dinner together. Other nights I will head out to influencer events or dinner with friends after work. Every day is different and I’m still trying to figure out my work-life balance!
What was the worst piece of advice you've ever received?
I think one of the worst pieces of advice that is shared about entrepreneurship is that you have to work 24/7 in order for your business to succeed. I think a lot of the times entrepreneurship is romanticized, especially when it comes to “hustling” or “always grinding.” I am all about working hard but I think there needs to be a balance. It’s just as important to focus on your health as it is to focus on your business.
What does success mean to you?
For me personally, success means being happy with my life and all the facets of it. Sure you can have a successful company with seven figure revenue but it doesn’t mean anything if you’re just always working and don’t have time for anything or anyone else. Success means being able to balance work that you love with friends, family and self. I think it’s a process rather than an end goal.
In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you build yourself back up?
If you’re taking risks in your life and stepping outside of your comfort zone, I think there will always be moments of self-doubt and adversity. When that happens to me, I turn to my support system of my family and friends. Sometimes it’s nice to have an outside perspective and get out of your own head.
Do you have any morning routines or evening rituals to help you stay balanced?
Yes! I am all about creating routines and rituals to stay balanced. I always drink tea or warm water every morning after I wake up and use my Mount Lai De-Puffing Facial Roller in my morning skincare routine. In the evenings, I’ll pair my Gua Sha Facial Lifting Tool with a cleansing balm to release facial tension and decompress before bed. Before I go to sleep, I read for 15-20 minutes. Reading is so relaxing for me and I’ve almost finished 70 books this year! My goal is to finish 100 by the end of 2019.
What are your top 3 skincare tips/tricks?
Drink lots of water, always wear SPF, and jade roll/gua sha at least once a day.
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