Located close to Tanjong Pagar MRT station is Envy Hair and Nails, which is owned by an accomplished individual in the finance industry who decided to start this business because she couldn’t find a salon which met her needs of being spacious and with affordable pricing. She is none other than Fon Ho, the bespectacled lady with the short cropped hair you see in the picture below:
5 Questions for Fon:
1) You work in the finance industry but you’ve started Envy Hair and Nails. Why venture into this industry that seems so different from your work?
There are some overlapping skills even though they appear to be entirely different industries on the surface. Because of my many years of working and management experience in MNCs, I am able to understand operations, finance, human resources which help me run this business well. Also, this business grows on me because I get to talk to our customers and I enjoy speaking with them, especially over a glass of wine (which we provide free-of-charge at Envy). I find this interaction very meaningful, keeping in touch with people from all walks of life and hearing first hand about varied experiences.
2) You’ve done extremely well in the banking industry, and you have described yourself as a perfectionist. So is it easy to work for you?
I respect people for who they are. It is important not to think that everybody is like you. My stylists’ strength is in crafting hair and making people look great in their mane. That is their strength. For me, I may be successful in banking but at the salon, I sweep, man the drinks bar and wash cups! When there is nothing for me to do, we can have a chit-chat over wine, of course.
It’s important that we work together as a team and respect my staff and their opinions. For our recent Spring Launch Party, I gave my staff a ‘wardrobe upgrade’. They already look good, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that as a team, we want everyone to ‘shine’ together, and be at their best especially for such events. Truth be told, I don’t think that clothes have to be expensive; they just have to be stylish and express your personality. Ours is a service-oriented industry and looks help; because my staff are happy at work, they keep our customers happy too.
3) You used to own a boat, then sold it so you could start this salon. Any regrets?
Yes, I used to own a boat because it was all about the “lifestyle” then. After some time, you will realize that the lifestyle can only be so lifestyle. I have to choose between spending my weekends in a boat or shop so eventually I made up my mind to sell the boat. As many have said, the two happiest days in a boat owner’s life are, namely, the day he buys the boat and the day he sells it. So true! Setting up a salon means time and money can be better spent on improving the lives of others. I believe I’m blessed and giving back makes my life more meaningful and purposeful.
4) Were you born into a rich family, so you felt that you needed to maintain that lifestyle?
No, on the contrary, my family used to stay in a 3-room flat and everyone ate from one bowl of rice. I have very good people guiding me along the way and I am grateful for that. To me, it is not what you have but what you are content with. A lot of life is about perspective and you have to be able to see beyond that.
For instance, if possible, I’ll wear $2 t-shirts all the time. I don’t want to waste time choosing what to wear. $2 t-shirts are not very different from $100 t-shirts. The $98 difference goes to marketing, models, advertising, etc.
5) Final question: While other salons serve tea, coffee, and perhaps, water, your salon serves wine too. What has been the response from customers?
As you know, people in Singapore can be a little skeptical. They will question me about the wine, and whether it is indeed provided at no extra charge, before they take a sip. And yes, it’s free! I believe that when you’re getting your hair done, it should be a chill and stress-free environment. This is why you’ll find a wide aisle here, lots of space so customers can rest and relax, and wine is especially effective in helping them unwind after a stressful day at the office.
Also, we don’t advocate the selling of packages here. We don’t provide packages unless our customers themselves ask for one. We want the customer experience here to be a happy one – relaxing, stress-free, no selling of packages. And everyone walks out looking good, thanks to my capable team of stylists who are passionate about their craft.
Satisfied clients at Envy (*And at least one has had a glass of wine)
Besides its enviable (pun fully intended) location close to the MRT station, I think Envy Hair and Nails offers a very comfortable environment for customers to relax (and enjoy some wine) in a chic and spacious setting. So if you work or live in the Tanjong Pagar area, pop by for a pampering session.
*All pictures in this blogpost are courtesy of Envy Hair and Nails
Envy Hair and Nails is located at 46 Peck Seah St. Tel: 6221 1220.
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*Promotion ends 30 June 2016. Subject to changes w/o prior notice.