Powerful Women in Business: Health, Fitness & Wellness Entrepreneurs - Vanessa Cheung, Nan Fung, QUO, Hong Kong

Powerful Women in Business: Health, Fitness & Wellness Entrepreneurs - Vanessa Cheung, Nan Fung, QUO, Hong Kong

A full-time job and 4 other side projects? Meet Vanessa Cheung - an Executive Director of Nan Fung Development Ltd, a real estate / property developer in Hong Kong. She is also the Co-founder of:

  • CrossFit Asphodel, the first CrossFit box in Hong Kong.
  • QUO . Kefir Believers - a Hong Kong-based health food company, specializing in young coconut based water kefir products (Kefir contains probiotics that helps support a healthy gut!).
  • The Keep Moving Project - a non-profit that provides fitness / wellness services, with the mission "Healthy should NOT be a luxury, it is a basic human right."
  • NarrativeHK - an initiative started in 2011 to encourage positivism in HK.

Read on for Vanessa's tips on the pursuit of wellbeing, as well as advice for aspiring wellness entrepreneurs.

"...if I try it out - it could succeed and go places, but if it fails, I'd be convinced that it didn't work for me, or it's just not meant-to-be! No regrets!"


What is your typical day like?
A typical work day begins with CrossFit Workout of the Day ("WOD") at 6am, then I go to work. Sometimes, I fit in another short run or swim after CrossFit. I usually get off work at around 6:30pm - 7pm. During the day, it's generally filled with meetings, but in between meeting times and working on my real job, I try to take care of errands and side projects. Commute time is when I work on side projects the most, actually. After work, I meet up with my husband for dinner, or with family or friends! If I get to leave work earlier, I try to go to yoga.


Is being ‘Busy’ bad?
No, being "busy" is not bad until it imposes negative effects on your health - chronically feeling stressed out / anxious, etc. So I would say, the right amount of "busy" keeps one feeling productive and accomplished, especially if you're busy with things that matter, and using your time wisely and efficiently.

Do you use any mobile apps to support your day-to-day routines? To-do lists - both on my phone and hand-written ones, and my phone calendar.

What drives you?
Curiosity and fascination of living things, I believe, are two that things that drive me. I'm generally interested in many things, and that keeps me wanting to learn, and ask questions, research, and just talk to people. I'm also a big believer in trying out different things that I'm interested in as soon as I can, because if I don't try, I know it'd always be in the back of my mind. But if I try it out - it could succeed and go places, but if it fails, I'd be convinced that it didn't work for me, or it's just not meant-to-be! No regrets!

What are some of the values you and/or your brand go by?
Being genuine and caring to the products / services, and to all the members / customers. We're adaptive and forward thinking. We never stop learning and we always try to improve and innovate. Bringing something that is practical to enhance and improve people's lives. Show appreciation, and also be open to share.


How do you continue to be inspired?
Staying curious, being open-minded. Always reflect on myself, and be mindful and grateful of what's around. Pay attention, listen, and observe.

What are your tips on the pursuit of wellbeing?
For many of us who like to do many things in life, work-life balance is important for being a healthy individual. I believe in setting priorities - daily, monthly, yearly, etc. And realize that priorities change with the context of your life. So be adaptive.

I don't think it's necessary to spend loads of money to be healthy. I think that as people get quality information about wellness, increased body awareness and lifestyle changes, it’ll become part of their daily practice. Every individual is different, so there isn’t a prescribed formula for all. It’ll have to be choices they can make based on the accessible education and information received / ingrained.

Have you ever experienced gender-related challenges being a female business owner in the industry?
Yes, my background is in landscape architecture, which is generally more male-dominated especially in higher levels, because of the long work hours. Usually, women tend to shift their priorities to families, when they build one some time during their career. So we've actually been "warned" in design school and taught / advised in ways to be female leaders in the field. And now, in real estate / construction, which is a very male dominated field, it can get somewhat intimidating at times. However, I think once I've established myself and earned respect, there isn't many challenges around being female.


Do you think women support each other in HK (more or less than in the West)?
I think they do, but you'll need to be proactive in looking for those networks. I think it's getting stronger especially in the expat community here in HK. I can't comment on the local women community. I think culturally, HK women are still not quite as vocal as in the West, so seeking help (which really is the first step) or voicing out an issue could be a hurdle.

What advice would you give aspiring wellness entrepreneurs looking to get their business off the ground?
Do insightful and comprehensive research, and do not make assumptions and hold strong to them. Really go out, ask and understand the particular field you're interested in. Talk to people, and be collaborative. Talk to your competitors, but also understand and find your competitive edge. Be ready for people to copy your business, and it's actually a compliment that they do, because that means your idea is good, and is needed. However, you'll need to always be slightly ahead of the game, and you can only do that by being adaptive to changes to the wellness industry amongst your target audience locally / geographically.


What is the biggest learning point that has impacted your life recently?
Be prudent and careful when you're hiring.

Looking to kickstart & sustain your health journey and goals? To make healthy living easy & efficient for the Busy, we have launched Broc & Bells! The name is short for Broccoli & Dumbbells - this web app will allow you to discover* curated boutique fitness gyms, healthy eats cafes & wellness experiences "near me" + Find Your SweatBuddy.

To easily identify & support For Women businesses, we've included a 'For Women' badge for businesses that are majority Women-led, owned, and/or has specific programs tailored for ladies. Let's support fellow Women who are pursuing their passions and empowering others to live better!

*Discover currently available in Singapore; Find Your SweatBuddy available in Asia