The Tatler 10: Cheryl Leung

People

February 23, 2017 | BY Christian Barlow

The founder of SAU womenswear shares some advice for budding entrepreneurs

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Photography by Micheala Giles

Ask any woman about her favourite dress and she'll probably tell you how flattering, comfortable, and easy-to-wear it is. Most importantly, it's how the dress makes her feel. 

Cheryl Leung is all too familiar with the power harnessed by a great dress, using this as inspiration to start her own womenswear label, SAU.

In our latest edition of the Tatler 10, a regular column where we pose 10 questions to Hong Kong-based entrepreneurs about their businesses, Cheryl tells us how SAU came about and why affordable luxury may be the way forward:

1) What does Hong Kong mean to you?

Hong Kong is home and also the best city in the world -- a perfect blend of East meets West and a city contrasted with nature. I love how you can spend a day outdoors hiking on one of the many trails and finish with cocktails in the city.

See also: The Tatler 10 with Charlotte Tsuei

2) Summarise your business in one sentence.

SAU is an East meets West womenswear label that’s both timeless and affordable. 

3) What is your proudest accomplishment?

Starting my own label has definitely been my proudest accomplishment. Being a low-risk individual, I was very hesitant to start the brand, despite knowing that it was something I really wanted to do. Taking that first step and leaving my job at Lane Crawford was both my proudest and scariest moment.

4) What do you love most about running your own business?

My top two favourite things are having the freedom to be creative in every aspect of my job, and feeling challenged and pushed to my full potential each and every day.

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Photography by Micheala Giles

5) What advice can you offer budding entrepreneurs?

A very valuable lesson I've learned in starting this business is to always be persistent and flexible. Don’t let obstacles cloud your vision -- instead, let them guide or pivot you to a new and better direction to achieve your end goals. 

6) As an entrepreneur, what do you think sets you and your business apart from the competition?

People are always surprised that I didn’t study design at school! My parents were adamant that I nurture my academic side so while this meant I’ve had to catch up on the many technical aspects of design, it's also given me a strong understanding of the commercial aspects, which have helped me build and nurture the business.  

See also: The Tatler 10 with Brandon Chau

7) Who inspires you and why? 

Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx. Not only because she built a billion dollar company with products that make women feel more confident, but also because she uses her success to help empower other women through the Sara Blakely Foundation. 

8) Looking back, do you wish you had done anything differently?

There are many things, but most of them were important parts of the learning process. The one thing I would change is to stress less when things go wrong and to remember that it’s just part of running your own business.

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Photography by Micheala Giles

9) What’s your end goal?

To grow the brand and to hopefully become an internationally recognised label one day.

10) What are your words to live by?

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones that you did do.”

These words from Mark Twain really inspired me and led me to start my business.

See more Tatler 10 interviews featuring Hong Kong entrepreneurs Joanna Lui, Rafael Raya Cano and Michelle Lai.