Welcome to our monthly series, In the Skin. Each month, we will speak with an expert or influencer, disrupter or trendsetter in the wellness industry to glance into their journey around health and wellness
Patrick Chan is the CEO and Chief Product Development Officer at LING Skincare. Patrick’s mother, Ling Chan, opened her first spa in 1984 after immigrating from Hong Kong to New York City. She became a sought-after facialist attracting skin conscious people including celebrities, Barbra Streisand and Alexander Wang. Her own skincare line followed a year later. Patrick joined the family business, and with his combined curiosity for innovation and respect for traditional Asian beauty practices, he continues to grow LING Skincare’s devout following. Their tagline, “Beauty Wisdom since 1976,” says it all. Enjoy the wisdom Patrick so graciously shared with us.
Nollapelli: What was it like watching your mother, Ling, build LING Skincare?
Patrick: I grew up in the business; it was always a part of my life. Watching her evolve, it’s all I knew. I knew she was different from other parents and mothers, especially of Chinese immigrants. She is going to work and meeting Madonna, Mariah Carey, Barbra Streisand. It was the norm for me. She would be at the prestigious locations in New York, like the first floor of Barney’s and her first spa was on 57th Street & 5th Avenue. The older I get, I think, wow, that is really remarkable what she did as a Chinese immigrant with no higher education and no money coming to this country. The chances of success to get to her level is a real American success story. I am very proud.
Nollapelli: It truly is. She has guts, that’s for sure.
Patrick: People ask my mom that, and she will always say “I had no other choice.” You have to move ahead in life. We had eleven people living with us. There were four generations in one household. She had to support all of them. My father had a more traditional restaurant management job. The brunt of the prosperity fell on her esthetic business. We always laughed with her; she had her own dynasty. It was a unique household built around my mom’s business.
Nollapelli: In the mid-90’s you and your brother, Edward, started working for the family business, did you always know you wanted to do this?
Patrick: Not actually. I grew up in the business, always around the product, getting facials, I didn’t have good skin, but I didn’t feel I had to open a spa. I think it was just an inner purpose of mine to help my parents, I have to protect what they built. It was, maybe, subconscious. When the opportunity arose after college, my mother asked me to come make a product catalog. When mom asks, you can’t say no. Who else would help her? That was the first step, and then I couldn’t get out. It [the business] kept growing.
Nollapelli: What does a day in the life as CEO of LING Skincare look like?
Patrick: I do more of the creative stuff – product development, training, sales, team-building – just being the heart and soul of the company and leading the direction of the company. Every day is different, sometimes I work from home, sometimes I travel, sometimes I go to the spa’s office. I have the perk of traveling to luxury resorts around the world, so I can’t complain. My first forte is product development; making great skincare products that transform people’s skin.
Nollapelli: Do you work with your mother on product development often?
Patrick: As of now, I am taking over product development, that is really my special niche. Occasionally, my mom gives me ideas and it is always helpful to get her professional perspective. But she groomed me to do this. I always keep up with latest technology, the latest ingredients, and she is more of a traditionalist.
Nollapelli: LING Skincare products merge modern, high-quality ingredients with traditional Asian beauty principles. Can you elaborate on traditional Asian beauty principles and what they are?
Patrick: The Asian beauty principles, or the Chinese beauty principles, are more focused on prevention and holistic care. And, holistic is an overused word nowadays. Holistic means a whole view perspective, from beginning to end, not just the symptoms, but the causes. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is based on a diagnosis of the whole body, not just the symptoms. When we specifically think about the skin, the West tends to focus on the symptoms and how to get rid of or mask the symptoms. The Asian beauty principles focuses on the cause first, and how can we start there to prevent it. We pride ourselves on merging both. We merge Asian beauty secrets with a western technology and the latest ingredients. It is a confluence of the traditional and the latest breakthroughs.
Nollapelli: You share our passion for skincare. Why do you think is skin care important?
Patrick: Well number one, it [skin] is our largest organ. It’s our external organ that protects us from the environment. Specifically for the face, that is where people look first. It shows our health. We judge each other on the impression of our complexion. Sometimes it is not 100% accurate, but it just gives off a certain impression. It is also how you feel about yourself. Beauty is not just topical, but it is also how you are as a person inside. We want to age gracefully. We want to look our best. A lot of it is about self-care, feeling good about one’s self and minimizing skin problems, aging gracefully and protecting our skin from the sun and the environment. It something very necessary but sometimes overlooked, or people are not educated on how to properly take care of their skin. It’s a must.
Nollapelli: LING Skincare’s approach to holistic care is very similar to how we, here at Nollapelli, view comprehensive wellness and our mantra: When you look good, you feel good. And when you feel good, you can be good at what you do and in turn do good for others around you.
Patrick: Yes, they go hand-in-hand. I coined a phrase: cultivate your inner spa. Spa is also spa of the mind, how you feel, the ambiance. Why do we go to the spa? You want to feel good; you want to relax. It’s a state of mind. For Nollapelli and LING, it’s really merging outside and inner and how you view yourself. That’s really the purpose of our products, if you have the right intention, it can bring a sense of well-being.
Nollapelli: For someone new to LING Skincare, what is a product you would recommend as an introduction and why?
Patrick: Our number one best-selling product is the Dual Moisture Emulsion. The Dual Moisture Emulsion is a drink for your skin. A priority in life we need to survive, number one, we need oxygen, number two, we need water. Within the LING Skincare philosophy, how to achieve healthy skin is really based on those principles: getting enough oxygen, getting enough hydration. Our Dual Moisture Emulsion is full of Squalane Oil from olives and has Hyaluronic Acid and Rose Water. These things quench the dehydration in the skin. You can put any lotion or cream on your skin, and that is equivalent to eating food. But if you don’t put on the proper hydrating tonic, it’s like you didn’t drink water. If you can prevent dryness and dehydration, most skin alignments are prevented.
Nollapelli: Any emerging trends or developing products you can talk about in the works at LING?
Patrick: There are a lot of trends toward gemstones rollers. It is becoming very popular here in the West. For myself, I’m working on a gemstone cream that will be launching this summer. I am also working with negative ions and infrared energy. I am trying to pioneer this into the spa and esthetics industry.
Nollapelli: Interesting! What is the benefit of negative ion technology?
Patrick: Negative ions are equivalent to Vitamin O, Vitamin Oxygen. In the West we hear about it, but we don’t really know what it is- it sounds new age, or like it is not proven, but it is. For example, when you walk out into rain, it feels fresh and the air is dewy, that’s negative ions. Nowadays with all the electronics, anything with electricity, that is positive ions, which is unhealthy. I am working on promoting this type of technology [negative ions] and products in the spa environment.
Nollapelli: With June home to Father’s Day, we would like to wish you a Happy Father’s Day! What lessons from fatherhood have benefitted you in work?
Patrick: It 100% relates to everything. It’s being a better person, a better leader, being selfless. Being a CEO is almost like being a father to all the staff. I feel a personal obligation, like, okay, you are under my wing now. It’s also developed empathy. I was taught by another CEO, and he said being a CEO is like this- holding the ladder so everyone can go up. Since then, I frame my work around that state of mind. I am trying to make you successful. It’s just like being a father, being a CEO, you are just trying to serve.
Nollapelli: And, are you grooming your child, similar to how your mother groomed you, to work in the family business?
Patrick: My daughter is only six years old, so I have time. As time goes by, I see she is really into beauty already. Her Chinese name is Ling. I named her after grandma, so when she grows up, she has a brand named after her. We’ll see.
Nollapelli: We cannot thank you enough for your time. One last question, what is one thing you do for your skin every day?
Patrick: Dual Moisture Emulsion. If I don’t use it, I feel like I didn’t brush my teeth.
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