You must be the change you want to see in the world


Helly Tong

Helly porte le modèle Origins Wild Brown 40mm

Meet Helly

Helly Tong is beautiful inside and out. Beyond fashion modelling, she’s the Founder of The Yen Concept, Co-Founder of Lai Day Refill Station and an environmental speaker. From Vietnam, Helly’s mission at the core is to help people find connection. Learn why the young entrepreneur calls herself ‘a gardener’ in life and business.

There was a turning point in my life. In 2011, I accidentally watched a video about how animals are killed before put on our tables. I was so hurt. Since then, I cultivated a love and care for everything in life. ‘Sustainability’ might be the concept, but behind that is this need for human connection. It’s about mindfulness and happiness. I had travelled to many countries and discovered how societies are educated differently. I will never forget talking to the Bhutanese and seeing in their face that they really are ‘the happiest country in the world’. See, some countries’ goal is to grow the economy, some countries’ - like Bhutan - is to grow happiness. I took this inspiration with me back home.

In Vietnam, it’s easy for the government to say “protect the environment”, but why and how? That’s the gap I fill with holistic wellness retail spaces The Yen Concept, Lai Day Refill Station and speaking at universities and conferences such as the ‘Minimalism Talk-Show’ at RMIT or ‘Finding Balance in The Digital Age’ at TEDx. I see myself as a gardener who ‘waters the plants of life’, helping others do the same.

Many ask, “Where do you get your energy to juggle everything?” There are days when I feel exhausted, but my spirit remains because I choose to live a life from my heart. I’ve also questioned whether I should still be modelling as business grows, but I’m motivated to stay in the fashion industry to steer the focus on “which bag should we buy?” to “how can we make the world a better place?”

Fashion is one of the biggest environmental polluters. That’s why it was a special moment when I received my beautiful AWAKE watch. AWAKE is a symbol of connection to nature. When it’s recharging in the sun, I look at it in awe and can’t help but feel that everything is utterly beautiful. 

You can follow Helly via Instagram @HellyTong