Hong Kong is a place brimming with talented and intriguing people. Each week in 27 Questions, we get up close and personal with the city’s notable personalities, learning about their whims, aversions, pivotal life moments, and hopes and dreams — all in roughly the same duration it takes to sit through a two-minute speed date. This week, we speak to Lisa Cheng, founder of Sheer Lingerie.

With the sophisticated digital economy we have today, anyone can easily shop for almost everything from any part of the world, whether it’s a dress from an independent designer halfway across the planet or an Instant Pot to fulfil all your quarantine cooking dreams. However, there are certain things that are deemed more personal, where the fit is crucial, and where most of us would prefer heading into a store to try it out in person before we make the purchase.

By ‘things’, we mean lingerie.

While we have international brands such as Intimissimi and La Perla that have expanded into Hong Kong today, it was not the case eight years ago, when Lisa Cheng left her life in Europe and New York City to relocate back to the city she calls home. With the eye of a business developer, perhaps honed from her previous jobs in global marketing and product development for beauty giants Shiseido and L’Oreal, she quickly spotted the lack of proper lingerie boutiques in Hong Kong — one that offers a curated selection of beautiful, designer lingeries for modern, sophisticated women.

With a dream of opening her own business and the vision of providing women with the joy and confidence of looking their best literally from the inside out — both for themselves and their partners — Cheng launched Sheer Lingerie. And almost a decade on, Sheer is now a widely recognised Hong Kong premier lingerie boutique, offering a range of stylish undergarments from international designer labels (with more than 10 exclusively stocked at Sheer) in an inclusive range of cup sizes from A to F. There are maternity options, too, another product that remains lacking in lingerie stores across Hong Kong.

We caught up with Cheng to learn more about what she’s like when she’s not busy being an inspirational girl boss. Scroll down to read what she has to share, from her guilty pleasures to the most important life lessons she’s been taught.

Name: Lisa Cheng
Age: 39
Neighbourhood: Mid-levels
Occupation: Entrepreneur — Founder of Sheer Lingerie

What is your life motto?

Take a deep breath and remember the big picture.

What is the best meal you’ve ever eaten in Hong Kong?

Definitely my mom’s home cooked meals with her famous spring rolls. It’s a secret family recipe that is always on high demand at family gatherings.

Who is your role model?

My dad. He built his business up from literally nothing, against all odds, and worked tirelessly to provide us with all the opportunities he never had privilege to. His story inspires
me to do better, be stronger, and to strive for more.

What was your first job?

I was an Administrative Assistant/Receptionist/Customer Service Officer at a small beauty company in New York! Needless to say, it wasn’t the most glamorous job in the world. I had a degree in Finance but was passionate about beauty and it opened the door to Shiseido and L’Oreal where I worked afterwards. I laugh about it now, but is one of my fondest memories of living in New York.

What is your drink of choice?

I’m a wine girl, through and through.

When was the last time you drove a car?

Funny you should ask! Getting my driver’s license is my 2020 New Year’s resolution!

What is the best thing in or about your apartment?

My husband and I got married at a beautiful Mediterranean-inspired hotel in Southern California, so I wanted to bring a bit of that vibe to our new apartment. My interior designers sourced beautiful porcelain tiles from Naples and we built an island table with it.

How often do you prepare your own meals?

CoVid-19 has forced me to get in the kitchen and actually cook! I used to just tolerate it but now I’m actually enjoying cooking a lot more. Everything has a silver lining.

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Night owl! When I’m focused on something, I can pull all nighters just to get it done. Then, I enjoy the pleasure of sleeping in.
27 Questions: Lisa Cheng, Founder of Sheer Lingerie

Which phone app could you not live without?

Google Drive and all the Google apps! My business runs on Google, we can’t live without it.

What do you hate most about living in Hong Kong?

Why won’t taxis take electronic payments! It’s my biggest pet peeve about Hong Kong because I often don’t have enough cash on hand.

What is the top destination on your bucket list?

I would love to visit Argentina! Beautiful scenery, good food, good wine. I need nothing more.

Which moment in your life would you most like to relive?

It’s a toss up between the day I got married, and the days my son and daughter were born. Those were the three happiest days of my life and I wish I could bottle those days up.

What is your biggest guilty pleasure?

When I was pregnant with my first child, I had an in-house masseuse come every week. I justified the splurge because I was pregnant, but once I started I couldn’t go back. It’s such a guilty pleasure and I feel so spoiled.

If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?

I would love to live in Switzerland. It’s such a beautiful country.

If you could invite any five people in the world to your dream dinner party, who would they be?

Queen Elizabeth I, Cleopatra, Serena Williams, Meryl Streep, and last but not least, Ryan Reynolds for comedic relief and eye candy.

What is one song you know all the lyrics to?

One Moment in Time by Whitney Houston. Is that cheesy? I love the message of this song.

If you had to describe Hong Kong in one word, what would it be?

Resilience.

What is your typical Sunday like?

I have two toddlers… you can imagine.

What’s your favourite childhood memory?

I have three siblings and we used to take ginormous bubble baths with my dad. All I remember is us laughing in the midst of bubbles up to our necks.

What is your favourite scent in the whole world?

Jasmine flowers in Thailand.

What is your greatest fear?

Lying on my deathbed feeling regret.

Are you a good cook? What is your best dish?

I cook a lot of Korean food since my husband is Korean. He’s told me that my Yukgaejang, a spicy beef stew, is better than his mom’s. Haha!

Who is the best teacher you’ve ever had, what is one important lesson that they taught you?

I had a great Economics teacher in high school, Mr. Nichols. He taught me the term “there’s no such thing as a free lunch”. Back then I didn’t realise the significance of the idea, but it has been so applicable throughout life!

Have you ever experienced love at first sight? Tell us about it.

I’m not sure if it’s love at first sight but it was close! My husband and I were set up on a blind date at the old Lily and Bloom bar. We met at 8pm on a Thursday night and we didn’t leave the bar or our seats until it closed. I barely have any memory of that night (too many drinks!) but I know I was happy and allowed him to take me to dinner that weekend.

How many pairs of shoes do you currently own? Which do you wear the most often?

Um… not enough according to me! Too many, according to everyone else. My favourite heels are my beloved Gianvito Rossi pumps.

Would you rather never be alone for a single moment, or be alone for the rest of your life? Why?

I would rather never be alone for a single moment. Life is too short to live without the love of family and friends.

Cindie Chan
Style Editor
Fashion blogger turned editor, Cindie has spent over seven years covering all things stylish in the digital world. When she’s not busy poring over the latest covetable releases or attending the most talked-about fashion events in town, you’ll find her enjoying some precious downtime with her newborn son and sweet dog Rosy.