The founder of EightyEight tells us why she always prefers to go with the flow

Stephnie Shek—not Stephanie, isn’t afraid to stand out from the crowd if her name’s unique spelling is anything to go by, she’s always dared to be different. A graduate from London’s Central Saint Martin’s, Gen.T lister Stephnie always had her sights set on the art and design industry, but instead of becoming of pursuing a career in fine art, she turned her focus to her fingertips, specifically nail art.

After returning to Hong Kong in 2014, Stephnie opened EightyEight nail salon on Wellington Street and she quickly upped the mani/pedi game in the city, thanks to her team of experienced staff, a chic salon that feels like home, and her can-do attitude. 

She also harnessed the power of social media with EightyEight’s Instagram account that she built organically, thanks to her eye to detail and her love of all things artistic and cute. In our latest edition of the Tatler 10 where we pose 10 questions to Hong Kong-based entrepreneurs about their businesses, we asked Stephnie about the perks of running your own business and why it’s important to have a plan, but also to have fun.

What does Hong Kong mean to you or what is your first experience of Hong Kong?

Hong Kong is home and it’s a place I love—all my loves ones are here and my first business, my nail salon Eightyeight started here.

Summarise your business in one sentence.

Eightyeight is a nail salon that caters to making women happy by creating tiny works of art on their fingertips. 

See also: The Tatler 10: Christy Liang

What is your proudest accomplishment?

My proudest accomplishment was when one of our early customers, I think she was a walk-in customer who wasn’t a friend or a friend of a friend—she tagged us on Instagram, she genuinely loved her nails and wanted to share it on her social media, and at that moment I knew I was on the right track, and it motivated be to really drive EightyEight’s own social media accounts—I think in the past, people always underestimated the power of social media.

What do you love most about running your own business?

The aspect that I most enjoy is watching my staff grow, some of my staff have been with me since the very beginning and looking at how they and the business have grown and changed makes me feel a sense of pride, it’s a really humbling experience. I also enjoy seeing our client base has expanded and changed, I especially love dealing with clients who are very particular as these are often the ones who you can learn the most from. 

What advice can you offer budding entrepreneurs?

My advice to any would-be entrepreneur is to do what you love and to always treat people the way you want to be treated.

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

I think it’s important to have a good attitude and to always approach everything with a plan and an idea of what you want to accomplish.

Who inspires you and why?

I’m always inspired by my parents, I admire my father and his business acumen and my mother, for her impeccable style. 

See also: The Tatler 10: Cynthia Mak

Looking back do you wish you had done anything differently?

I don’t have any regrets.

What's your end goal?

I don’t have a particular end goal but I just try to go with the flow and see where life takes me, I’ve been fortunate enough to meet lots of really intelligent young entrepreneurs who are also in the beauty industry—and we’re in talks to collaborate, but more on that later. 

What are your words to live by?

My words to live by are simple and fun: “Why be moody when you can shake your booty!” 

See other Tatler 10 interviews with Kayla Wong, Harris Chan and Carmen Choi.