Shanghai's Most Stylish Foodie

By 2019-12-02 11:42:09

Entrepreneur and author of 'Hungry in Shanghai', Mona Weber, talks about her experiences of Shanghai.

Where are you originally from?

I was born in Helsinki Finland, before moving to Switzerland where I studied and lived for 15 years. I also spent a year in Los Angeles where I completed my final year of High School.

What is your main occupation?

I’m an entrepreneur at heart. I have founded several companies over the years, from fashion labels, design and consulting to product development and interior design and lifestyle services.

What first brought you to Shanghai?

My husband got offered a new position here in Shanghai just over a year ago, so we decided to take the opportunity and see a new part of the world. Being only the two of us, we had a lot more freedom choosing where in Shanghai we wanted to live and it has been a whirlwind of amazing experiences thus far.

What were your first few weeks in Shanghai like?

I think a bustling and vibrant city like Shanghai is going to be an adjustment for anyone, especially coming from Switzerland. But I did enjoy exploring and ‘finding my feet’ here and making it my new home, so I think I adjusted quite quickly to life in Shanghai. We didn’t take any of our furniture with us when we moved, so I had to buy a lot of things to make it feel more comfortable.

How did you go about starting your book ‘Hungry in Shanghai’?

Being an interior designer and buyer, I often draw inspiration for new ideas from the restaurant world, especially the type of restaurants found in books as many of them having beautiful and unique interiors. I met two ladies who had already started the “Hungry in” series and partnered with them to bring Hungry in Shanghai to life.

Were there any friends, in particular female friends, who gave you a lot of support?

Yes, the support has been overwhelming. Living in Shanghai has been amazing experience and I can say that I haven’t had so much support living anywhere else in the world. The people are open and always happy to help, which I am so grateful for.

Was it easy enough for you to make friends?

Yes, there is so much going on in the city. I’ve found in Shanghai you just need to go out of the apartment and take part in what’s happening outside. There are different events almost every evening of the week, if you put yourself out there it’s pretty easy to meet different people and make friends.

Do you feel you had any moments when things were particularly difficult while living here?

Not speaking the language has made it quite challenging to get a new business off the ground, the culture has also been something I’ve needed to adjust to, but the people have been very supportive and helpful when I’ve run into obstacles.

Are there any positive experiences you would like to share?

The most amazing experience has been how helpful expats and Chinese people are in China. Being a foreigner in such a big city, I didn’t expect such a welcoming reception but everyone has shown an abundance of kindness to my husband and I.

What advice would you give to another female expat who is new to Shanghai?

Simply to just put yourself out there and get involved in new things, whether its pursuing a business dream or just to do something different, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how quick people are to support you and how easy it can be to network, even if you are worried about the language barrier.