Christy Liang may have a full-time role as College Advisor at St. Paul’s Co-Educational College, however, that didn’t stop her from co-founding The Lace Atelier in 2014 with her business partner and childhood friend, Hélène. Christy and Helene met in primary school at Le Lycée Français and their friendship blossomed—fast-forward a decade later they founded The Lace Atelier with the aim of providing luxurious bridal accessories and apparel discerning brides.
In our latest edition of the Tatler 10, a column where we pose 10 questions to Hong Kong-based entrepreneurs about their businesses, we asked Christy about the perks of running your own business and why giving back is a cornerstone of her business plan.
What does Hong Kong mean to you?
Hong Kong is home now, and I can’t imagine living anywhere else. I love the efficiency, pace, and energy of this city, where you’re pushed to be the best version of yourself.
Summarise your business in one sentence.
The Lace Atelier offers stunning boudoir pieces without compromise for brides who want a little bit of Paris in their wedding trousseau.
See also: The Tatler 10: Cynthia Mak
What is your proudest accomplishment?
What makes The Lace Atelier truly special is the initiative it supports. Proceeds from our Scholarship Gown go directly to the Jusoor Scholarship Program’s fund to help Syrian young women achieve a university education. In fact, the first student supported by The Lace Atelier began her engineering course at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey this year. My co-founder Hélène and I first met in school, Le Lycée Français, where our creative friendship blossomed. The realisation of this gown’s lasting impact brings our business full circle back to education, where our story began.
What do you love most about running your own business?
We absolutely love hearing back from our brides and following them on their big day as they walk down the aisle. We’ve had brides from over 20 countries order our products and it’s a multicultural experience getting to know our international brides on such a deep level. I remember one particularly eager Swedish bride giving us a play by play of her getting ready experience on Instagram. It’s moments like these and testimonials that really drive us to give the best of ourselves.
What advice can you offer budding entrepreneurs?
Building a business is really about compartmentalizing, executing, and problem-solving quickly. Isolate one issue from all other issues, solve it, close that compartment then move on to another. Don’t waste time. Build lasting friendships in your industry. In Hong Kong, we only sell through vendors that have a similar aesthetic. Our pieces can be purchased at Miss Bride Wedding Shop and The Loft Bridal.
As an entrepreneur, what do you think sets you and your business apart from the competition?
See also: The Tatler 10: Kayla Wong
Our atelier is based in Paris as the quality of our fabrics is the key to our success. Thanks to Hélène we’re able to source at cost, the same lace and fabrics as big fashion houses such as Chanel and Givenchy. Craftsmanship, quality of material, and cost, set our business apart in a big way, resulting in a beautiful and timeless piece for our brides.
Who inspires you and why?
I’m inspired when going through old love letters my grandfather wrote to my grandmother, or when I see my mother and father holding hands. My beautiful mother and grandmother both married men who first and foremost loved them unconditionally, freeing them to become the capable women that they both are. Theirs were inspiring marriages and love stories that showcase to me what “having it all” really looks like. It starts with choosing a partner who respects you.
Looking back do you wish you had done anything differently?
I wish I had started earlier!
What's your end goal?
Our products are made to be heirlooms, passed down from one generation to the next. As our brides transition from walking down the aisle to becoming mothers in their own right, we love hearing that they’re still using a piece or that they’re so excited to pass it down to their daughter to save for her wedding day.
Our most popular heirloom piece is the Clémence robe made of vintage Alençon lace. A Finnish bride wore it for first for her wedding day, and then for her maternity shoot. She then told us she couldn’t wait to pass it down to her daughter and granddaughter. Having our pieces continue to form such integral parts of our customer’s major life milestones is what our company is all about.
What are your words to live by?
“Taste is not only a part and index of morality; it is the only morality. The first, and last, and closest trial question to any living creature is “What do you like?” Tell me what you like, and I’ll tell you what you are.”
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