Stephanie Zheng on Self-Care and Honoring Her Grandmother

This Women’s History Month, we’re shining a spotlight on the women behind some of the biggest brands in the beauty and wellness industries. Today, we’re sitting down with Stephanie Zheng, the founder behind Mount Lai, to learn more about the brand’s inspiration and everything Stephanie has learned from the women in her family.

To those who may be new here, could you share what led you to create Mount Lai?
Absolutely! Mount Lai is a skincare brand rooted in Traditional Chinese rituals, inspired by my grandmother. We’ve crafted an assortment of facial tools like jade rollers and gua sha tools as well as nutrient-dense biocompatible skincare products formulated with botanicals used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. So much of this knowledge around herbs, gua sha and facial massage has been passed down through the generations and I wanted to be able to combine this ancient wisdom with a modern approach for results, efficacy and holistic wellness!

Mount Lai was inspired by your grandmother, who has been jade rolling and practicing gua sha for over 50 years. Can you talk about what it’s like to honor that influence through Mount Lai?
It has truly been so rewarding to be able to honor my grandmother’s influence through Mount Lai. Growing up, my grandparents took care of me while my parents were at work and they are a huge part of my life. I have learned so much from their wisdom and I love being able to share all that knowledge with others.

What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned from the women in your family?
I come from a family of strong women and I’ve learned so many lessons! One of the most important things they’ve instilled in me is tenacity and grit and the belief that I can overcome obstacles and do what I put my mind to! This has been incredibly important throughout my entrepreneurship journey as starting a business has its challenges, especially as a young boot-strapped founder. In terms of skincare, they’ve taught me from a young age to always protect the skin and wear SPF!

With the ongoing pandemic, a lot of people are experiencing additional stress and burnout. How can remedies like gua sha and facial rolling help create space for more self-care in these moments?
With everything going on, I truly believe that self care is more important than ever. It’s essential to make the effort to intentionally slow down and take time for ourselves, and these practices like gua sha or facial rolling help with that! One thing I love about these rituals is that they actually help activate the parasympathetic nervous system. There’s the sympathetic nervous system which can be described as “fight or flight” mode and the parasympathetic nervous system which can be described as “rest and digest'' mode. When the parasympathetic nervous system is activated, this is when the body truly heals and rejuvenates.

What impact do you hope Mount Lai has for future generations?
My hope is that Mount Lai continues to inspire the creation of daily self care rituals. I also hope that it continues to support the idea that we can always learn from our past and utilize the knowledge of all the generations before us.

Can you tell us a little bit about a woman who inspires you this Women’s History Month?
I’m inspired by all the women on the Mount Lai team! Everyone is incredibly multifaceted and talented and they inspire me to strive to be a better leader and human.