Wellness curator Kaye Dong on a mission to drive social change
By: Yana Fung
August 27, 2021
Whether managing her family, her foundation or her various businesses, Hong Kong-born Kaye Dong is committed to making a positive impact in her community
As founder of a design studio, wellness company and non-profit organisation – as well as being a mother – Kaye Dong takes on more roles in her life than most. While some of her ventures may seem to be worlds apart, there is a common thread that ties them all together.
“Connection is a core human need,” she says. “Genuine connections, whether with the self, others, community or the planet, can really nurture and heal us. So I think the connection is innately and subconsciously woven into everything we do.”
Dong, therefore, sees no need to compartmentalise her various roles. “I’m me and I’m whole. Everything I do is connected by the same values – being kind to each other, creating a more compassionate world, doing things that are meaningful and purposeful, always being there to serve others.”
Moved by tragedy
It’s this desire for positive impact that led Dong, who has two daughters of her own, to become a foster mother and start K for Kids Foundation. Her foundation organises activities for children in foster homes. It all began when she came across an article about a child who died at home while waiting to be taken out of his unsafe living environment. Moved by this tragedy, Dong decided to get involved with the foster system in Hong Kong.
Curated wellness items
That same can-do attitude also resulted in The New Moon, a one-stop destination for wellness, style, beauty and self-care. Dong started this venture after being unable to find wellness products that suited her own aesthetics. It features everything from crystals and candles to journals and jewellery alongside wellness-focused editorial content.
An expert in incorporating wellness into the home, her advice is simple. “Don’t be too overwhelmed,” she says. “I would say you really need to trust your intuition. See what you are drawn to. I also strongly advocate for quality. I believe we need to invest in things that are of quality.”
“There’s always a ‘why’ behind it,” she says. “For us to be able to design something that’s meaningful and impactful, it’s important to understand what’s driving it.”Kaye Dong
That is not to say it’s imperative to purchase the biggest, most expensive diffuser on the market. Rather, as Dong says, invest in pieces that will be treasured for a long time: “When you do your next Marie Kondo decluttering exercise, they are not something you would throw away.”
At the intersection of style and self-care lies real wellness that is achieved by collecting quality items that speak to your unique energy.
The power of good design
Even outside the wellness sphere, Dong has always had an eye for good design. The mother and entrepreneur maintains a clear picture of what she believes design should do. “Good design is really, really powerful,” she says. “It needs to be meaningful, impactful and it needs to move you from within.”
Despite loving design from a young age and establishing The Good Studio (which offers branding, interior design, consultancy, strategy and design management services), Dong didn’t follow the typical designer’s path. She first travelled the world and worked in different businesses. It wasn’t until her second child that she began to seriously consider what she wanted in her career. Without a formal education in design or any work experience in creative industries, Dong relied on her passion. She took a leap of faith and plunged headfirst into the industry.
Now, 10 years on, she learned the value of her unconventional start in the industry. “I think all these different life experiences enabled me to keep inspiring, motivating and leading the team and being able to see much bigger than just design. What we’re doing here is design, but there’s a much greater purpose to everything that we’re doing,” she says.
With The Good Studio staff, who consists of nine nationalities, she aims to harness and guide each individual’s skills and design potential toward a collective vision. When it comes to design, she always makes it her priority to understand her clients and their vision.
“There’s always a ‘why’ behind it,” she says. “For us to be able to design something that’s meaningful and impactful, it’s important to understand what’s driving it. When we design, we need to think about how this impacts our physical and emotional health.”
This attention to a greater purpose echoes her connection to the community and a duty to serve others. “I think everyone can do something. It doesn’t matter if the act is big or small,” she says.
“We are quite powerful. Design can be quite powerful and can create a really positive impact in the community and to others,” Dong always reminds her designers. “Don’t underestimate the power of what you are designing because it can really change lives.”