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Up Close With Diane Younes

Posted on 03 September 2018

Up close with Diane Younes Sponge beauty service

Voted as one of the “Top 10 Female Entrepreneurs in Hong Kong" by Hong Kong Tatler, Diane Younes is a double law graduate who founded Sponge, Hong Kong’s on-demand beauty service.

Tell us a little about yourself and Sponge.

My parents are Lebanese and German. I was born in Paris and grew up in London. When I was 16 years old, I moved to New York. I have also lived in Montreal and now in Hong Kong. I have two law degrees – US and Canada – and I used to work in Investment Banking in New York before I started Sponge in Hong Kong.

Sponge offers professional on-demand beauty services, including hair, makeup and eyelash extensions, to your home, office, hotel, event – wherever! Women today are busy with work, family and life in general. Sponge makes women’s lives easier by bringing their beauty routine to their doorstep in just a few clicks.

We’re sponsored by Benefit Cosmetics and Amika, and we’ve had numerous partnerships with international brands including Sephora, Uber, Zalora and Yeechoo.

Up close with Diane Younes Sponge beauty service

Has beauty always been a big part of your life and who is your style inspiration?

From a young age, I was obsessed with makeup. I am of Lebanese origin – all you have to do is travel in the Middle East to see just how beautiful the women are and how expertly they apply their makeup. I used to watch my glamorous aunt get ready for the day and for events, and think just how gorgeous she was. From her makeup to her fashion, she was and still is my inspiration.

Up close with Diane Younes Sponge beauty service

Knowing that you’ve lived in London, Canada and New York, what sets Hong Kong aside from those cities? And where do you see yourself living in the future?

There’s something about Hong Kong. The people, the pace, the lifestyle, the buildings. It’s beautiful and challenging, all at the same time. It keeps you on your toes. I think that’s what makes people fall in love with it.

I see myself living anywhere. We live in a world where that is, in fact, a possibility, and I am truly lucky to have lived in numerous cities already.

From your experiences in Law school and the banking industry, what skills or knowledge has helped you with running Sponge?

I was trained in tough environments. This helped me deal with running a startup. A startup doesn’t come with a manual; you have to figure things out yourself, roll up your sleeves and get work done. Knowing how to draft contracts, understanding contracts and knowing how to negotiate definitely came in handy.


The concept behind Sponge is relatively new in Hong Kong, was it well-received in the beginning and how did you grow your audience locally?

Sponge provides a solution to already-existing problems that many women deal with: they’re busy, it’s hard to book appointments at salons and spas, and they’re tired of paying high prices for beauty services. They also want convenient services to fit their increasingly hectic lives.

Women were ecstatic when I told them about the idea of Sponge and have been loyal clients since the launch. Word of mouth makes it easy to increase the number of clients – who can resist trying out a service when your best friend tells you how awesome it is? We’ve also built a community on social media where we post our clients’ looks and post fun content to interact with our followers.

Up close with Diane Younes Go Sponge beauty service

Where do you see Sponge and yourself in 3 years time? What’s your next goal?

Bigger and better. That goes for me too! We’re listening to client feedback closely to know just what they would like us to do next. Watch this space, we’ve got some exciting things coming up.

Even though it looks like a dream job, you must need a break. How often do you give yourself ‘me time’ and what would you do?

I tend to go on short breaks here and there. It’s not very often, but I try to take advantage when I travel by being in the moment and going to places I haven’t been before. I find that doing something every day that is completely unrelated to work helps when I’m unable to travel. I love to lift heavy weights – it’s so hard that it becomes impossible to think about anything else.

What's one of your most memorable trips and which city/ country is on the top of your travel bucket list?

My honeymoon to the Maldives was my most memorable trip. My husband kept our destination a complete surprise until right when we were at the airport check-in counter. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was.

I travel to Morocco often and have visited a lot of the country. Dakhla is at the top of my bucket list. It’s made up of turquoise lagoons surrounded by the Sahara Desert. I am adamant about planning a trip there in 2019!

Being a beauty guru, if you are only allowed to pack 5 make-up items on a trip, what will those be? 

Wow, that’s tough! I would pack my BECCA Ultimate Coverage Complexion Crème, which is the foundation I’ve been using for the past six years. My Bobbi Brown concealer, Guerlain Terracotta bronzer, Benefit Cosmetics’ Ka-Brow eyebrow gel, and any one of my highlighters – BECCA, Huda or Fenty Beauty. Thankfully I don’t need to pack mascara because I wear eyelash extensions!

Website: www.gosponge.com
Instagram: @gosponge
Facebook: @gospongehk

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