All you need is a willingness to succeed, the knowledge to back it up, and a unique concept to build dreams into a reality — all lessons I learned from my time with Christine Chang and Sarah Lee, Co-Founders and Co-CEOs of Glow Recipe!
Where did their journeys begin? Christine first wanted to become a visual artist, spending most of her time painting, which helped in her transition from Louisiana to Korea. Once she moved, she struggled to adapt to the language differences and academic standards. However, as you’ll see as a common theme throughout both of their stories, Christine didn’t let this defeat her. On the contrary, she ended up attending business school at Washington University in St. Louis where she developed a love for entrepreneurship, and eventually worked as an intern at L’Oreal. Sarah’s story follows a similar cadence — from age 5, Sarah dreamed of becoming a pianist until she moved to Hong Kong, where she learned that she’d have to relearn the entire curriculum. Instead of continuing, Sarah decided to switch gears and interrogate her passions. What she discovered was a love for beauty, which she followed into her internship at L’Oreal. Can you guess what happened next? You guessed it! Sarah and Christine ended up meeting on the job. This, as well as a number of years of marketing experience, brand building expertise and a desire to introduce Asian beauty products into the United States made for the creation of their own brand, Glow Recipe!
As is true with any new business, Christine and Sarah were met with criticism. However, Sarah didn’t let up, insisting they focus instead on the positives. Her belief is that it’s okay to fail if you’re doing something that you love, because no matter what you’ll always win! Christine holds similar beliefs. Instead of being led by a fear of failure, she chose to lead with confidence even in the face of not knowing what to do next. It was fascinating to hear how they managed to teach themselves about the legal and accounting side of entrepreneurship, all on their own! This hands-on learning gave them a more intimate understanding of their brand and what it needed to thrive.
There used to be a time in which smaller brands couldn’t survive without the help of bigger, more established ones. We discussed how the beauty industry has changed to accommodate more than just the big names. What prompted the change? Social media, of course! With the introduction of a widely accessible platform came the ability to establish one’s own brand and connect with a community. It comes as no surprise that because of this change, bigger companies are starting to take smaller brands under their wings — to which Christine had plenty of thoughts. For one, bigger companies can prepare to take on smaller brands by setting up resources and systems (such as legal teams and artwork routing processes) for smaller brands to make use of, whenever they need. As well as this, finding a way in which to integrate (not eliminate) the larger companies’ culture with the culture of the smaller business allows for the smaller brands to retain what makes them most unique. And as we know, authenticity and uniqueness is what sells! Both their journeys are so refreshing — there’s so much goodness to soak up here.