Don’t we all wish getting glammed up could be as easy as the wave of a magic wand? While we might not be able to just say the words bibbidibobbidiboo and find ourselves transformed from rags to riches, we do have a solution that comes just as close: Hong Kong’s very first on-demand beauty service, Sponge! Launched just 2 weeks ago and catered to you busy city girls, Sponge will have you looking amazing with absolutely zero effort and all in the comfort of your own home! Sound too good to be true? Beauty & the Bar catches up with Diane Younes, the founder of Sponge, to get the insider scoop on exactly how Sponge works and what inspired her to create this beauty game-changer! Stay tuned until the end for a special offer from Sponge!
B&B: Hi Diane, so you have recently moved to Hong Kong, can you tell us a little bit about your background and why you decided to move here?
Diane: I am French and spent the last nine years in New York, before moving to Hong Kong this year. I worked as a lawyer in New York before deciding to start my own company in Hong Kong. We all have different hobbies and passions, so I decided to follow another one of mine in Hong Kong! That passion being, of course, Sponge!
B&B: Now that you call Hong Kong your home, can you tell us how it is different from other places you’ve lived in and what you like most about this city.
Diane: My husband and I wanted a new adventure. Hong Kong is like New York in many ways: filled with skyscrapers and ambitious individuals. But it’s also very different, which means we get to open our eyes every morning and see something new: the culture, the colours, and not forgetting the weather. I’m looking forward to milder Winters!
B&B: What are your biggest beauty-challenges of living in Hong Kong?
Diane: The insanely expensive beauty services. Because rent is so expensive in Hong Kong, beauty service providers that have physical locations, like salons and spas, have to charge high prices. So customers find it impossible to keep their daily and weekly beauty routines going without breaking the bank. And since we’re all so busy, it’s hard to fit our beauty routine – which involves actually going to a salon or spa – into our packed schedules.
B&B: So you have just launched your own beauty-service business, Sponge! Congratulations! Can you tell us what Sponge offers and how it came about?
Diane: I created Sponge because I realised that everyone felt like I did: we want to have a beauty routine in Hong Kong that isn’t so expensive and that doesn’t take us away from our work, our family, our friends, our daily lives… Sponge is an on-demand and mobile beauty service that comes to you: your home, office, hotel or an event. We currently offer hair styling, makeup and eyelash extension services, and we will be adding other beauty services very soon! And what’s great is that prices are affordable: so Sponge is an affordable habit, not an indulgence.
And because we know you’re busy, we make it simpler for you: we have a Menu of signature Sponge makeup and hair looks that you can choose from. For hair, customers can choose from “the boss,” a straight blowout with a smooth and silky finish, “the weekender,” cool waves with a perfectly undone look, “the life of the party,” bouncy curls for day or night, “the jet-setter,” a customised modern or classic updo, or “the athlete,” a customised braid perfect for any event.
Model above is rocking “the life of the party”
Gorgeous special occasion or everyday makeup looks include “the achiever,” a cat eye with a pink lip and a pop of colour on the cheeks, “the dreamer,” a sunkissed complexion with copper eyes for a golden glow, “the go-getter,” a classic and glam red lip paired with subtly enhanced eyes for an elegant look, “the inspiration,” a radiant and fresh complexion with highlighted cheekbones and champagne shimmer eyes, “the leader,” a natural daytime look with subtly enhanced eyes and delicate cheeks and lips, or “the influencer,” sultry and smoky eyes paired with sculpted cheekbones and a creamy peach lip. Our eyelash extensions Menu includes a natural look or a more glamorous look.
Model above is rocking “the achiever”
B&B: Since this concept of an on-call beauty service is relatively new here in Hong Kong, can you tell us how Sponge works exactly?
Diane: Sponge is an online service, which means you book appointments on our website in just a few clicks! You choose a hair, makeup and/or eyelash extensions service from our Sponge signature Menu, enter the date, time & location, enter your payment details – and you’re done! So you don’t even need to carry cash for your appointment. And you can create an account to make the whole booking process even faster.
We come to your location in as little as two hours, or you can book an appointment up to one month in advance. We also do beauty parties, weddings, events and the like. Who can say ‘no’ to getting pampered at home after a long day at work, or getting pampered with friends while sipping champagne and watching your favorite movie at home?
B&B: There’s a range of fun makeup and hair looks offered on the Sponge menu, which looks are your personal favorite and why?
Diane: It’s hard to choose, since there are so many choices. My current favourite combination is “the life of the party,” bouncy curls for day or night, with “the go-getter,” a classic and glam red lip paired with subtly enhanced eyes for an elegant look. Because the Holidays are coming up!
Model above is rocking “the go-getter”
“I believe there are different kinds of “beautiful” – there isn’t just one standard. And what also makes women beautiful is what they actually do with their lives” – Diane Younes
Our Menu includes current and classic trends that you can wear every day or for special occasions, so there’s something in there for everyone. What’s really special is that the models who appear in our Menu aren’t real models — they are everyday women who are achieving great things in different industries. This was very important to me, because I believe there are different kinds of “beautiful” – there isn’t just one standard. And what also makes women beautiful is what they actually do with their lives – hence the names of the looks in our Menu.
At the end of the day, Sponge’s goal is to help women feel like the best version of themselves, help them feel pampered, and help them get back to what they need to do as fast as possible.
B&B: What would you say is the biggest beauty-trend of 2016 and what are your thoughts on it?
Diane: Non-touring was particularly big in 2016. The reason I like it so much is that it lets one’s natural beauty shine as opposed to covering it up with contouring techniques. Add some highlighter on your cheekbones and you’ve got yourself a winning look.
B&B: Last but not least, do you have any beauty philosophies or rules that you live by?
Diane: One word: be-you-tiful!
Hey Beauty-Bestie! Sponge offers a ‘Lip. Rewards’ program where you can enjoy HK$50 off your first appointment by using promo code FIRST50, as well as enjoy discounts for your birthday!
Get glam with Sponge at: http://gosponge.com/