A head for finance with the face of a model?
Indeed Audry Ai-Morrow is brains with beauty… perhaps one of the most potent of combinations! If you take one look at her photo you can see why. A graduate of the University of Chicago, this former investment banker has made Hong Kong her home for the past 15years. It was in this city of ours where she met her husband Tom, and after marriage, had their 3 beautiful children, Luke, Annabelle and Scarlett.
Today Audry is a partner in Central Weddings, and a dedicated wife and mother… How does she do it?
GLAMAROSS SPEAKS WITH AUDRY AI-MORROW
Audry Ai-Morrow speaks with GlamarossTV (Photo @Glamaross)
GR: What brought you to Hong Kong?
AM: After university, I was working in investment banking in New York and was asked if I’d like to transfer to the Hong Kong office. I thought it sounded exciting and would be an incredible opportunity so I took it.
GR: At what point did you know that this city would be your home?
AM: Home is wherever I live, yet during my first year here I worked on a project in Jakarta where I spent all of my time so didn’t get a chance to settle in to HK. Once I was really here, I made an effort to make this my home and signed up for canto lessons and started making friends. I met my husband and had my three children here. I was born in the US and love it there, but Hong Kong is where we call home.
Scarlett, Annabelle and Luke in Montana
GR: Describe your professional journey before starting Central Weddings.
AM: After university, I worked in Corporate Finance at Bear Stearns in New York and Hong Kong. After that, I went to work at Lark International an entertainment company that does cinema operation, movie production & distribution, game centers, & online and telephone ticketing. I was mainly helping to set up the companies and build multiplex cinemas around China and Taiwan. It wasn’t a glamorous job, yet I learned a lot from my experiences and worked with some wonderful people who are still our best friends today.
[What Audry didn’t mention was that while she was a hard nosed investment banker, she was persuaded by the modelling companies to compile a composite card. She has graced the pages of Marie-Claire, walked the runways and all the while kept her investment banker persona! Darn her for being so smart, beautiful and humble!]
On her wedding day with her husband Tom
GR: How did CW come about?
AM: I think Yolanda and I were taking a walk with our big bellies (pregnancy #1) when we discussed possibly setting up a retail business together. I had just ‘retired’ from my corporate job and wanted to look into different business options. I was so excited to become a mom so wanted to start my own thing and have time to spend with my son as well. We had both recently married and remembered the lack of wedding gown options in Hong Kong. We thought what a beautiful, happy business it would be! We did more research, put a business plan together, flew to Paris and New York to meet some designers and went from there.
Audry Ai-Morrow & Yolanda Choy Tang
GR: There are four partners in Central Weddings. What are their different roles?
AM: We all work together, but our main responsibilities are:
Audry Ai Morrow – finance & business
Yolanda Choy Tang – business development, marketing, PR
Carolyn Chow- operations
Michelle Leung Sulger- strategy
Annabelle choosing her princess gown at Central Weddings
GR: What makes Central Weddings or Vera Wang HK so unique for each future bride?
AM: Not only do we endeavor to offer brides a stunning selection of gowns to choose from, but we also hope our service and comfort gives them an experience as exciting as the proposal itself.
Audry with daughter, Scarlett
GR: Have there been any obstacles to your business? If so, any you would care to share?
AM: As is the case in any retail shop in Hong Kong, finding the right location and negotiating the lease (and a reasonable rent) with the landlords is always a challenge.
GR: How do you balance your days between home, kids, work & Tom?
AM: My children are 8, 7 & 3 now so I like to work & have my ‘me’ time when they are in school or at their activities. I often take at least one of them to an activity or lesson so we can spend time together… I love being a ‘soccer mom’! My husband and I spend our time together and with friends after the kids go to bed. We try to keep the weekends free for family, sport and fun!
The Morrow family Ski trip
GR: Would you consider yourself someone who can have it all? Work life and play?
AM: If ‘all’ is happy family, good friends and a small business… then I must say I am content and feel truly blessed.
with her eldest, Luke
GR: What are the most important values you try and instill in your children?
AM: Kindness, humility, empathy, respect, wisdom, integrity….
Audry at Central Weddings (Photo @Glamaross)
To hear more about Audry Ai Morrow (in mandarin) please watch GLAMAROSSTV