My Magnificence Break: Soko Glam’s Charlotte Cho on Entrepreneurship

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Our mission is to help all people to believe that only good (skin) days are ahead. This whole trip has allowed us to double the training through The Klog and create our Skin Concierge which is our personal SMS consultations.

Many people have said, “It’s not a good idea to create content on a separate website because you don’t want to distract them from checking out.” We were sustained by the fact that there is this bigger mission – let’s follow the bigger mission. This will help our community grow authentically and really help people. That has allowed us to make the right decisions instead of trying to achieve something more short-term, like trying to get as much sales as possible.

ALLURE: Was there a brilliant moment of special recognition?

CC: There was a time in the early days of Soko Glam that we were introduced [the newsletter] Daily sweets. They just wanted the little blurb about us. Our website was sold out after the newsletter was published. Granted, there were only a few products back then and we were very new and there was little inventory – but when we saw the new customer names coming through they weren’t Asian. The last names weren’t your typical Kims, Parks, or Lees. It really gave us the opportunity to see that so many people are interested and not Koreans, not Asians. I think a lot of people in the beginning – when K-Beauty didn’t play a role in the US – were surprised that most of our customers, over 80 percent, are non-Asian. And there is a clear interest in this skin care culture, philosophy and products.

ALLURE: Let’s talk about funding. How the hell do you get money to find out? You have this idea. How did you manage that? to Bear fruit? Did you save a nest egg?

CC: Overall, I think people are very surprised at the size of our company. [Editor’s note: Soko Glam has just over 40 employees between the US and Seoul.] It’s been eight years now and we didn’t rely on it [venture capital] or private equity. This has helped us make decisions that have allowed us to focus on the community because once you accept funding, especially a large amount, there is the misconception that you are going to have all of that money and all of your problems will disappear. And that you have so much credibility, but the bill actually comes. Most of the time, you are out of control and you end up making other decisions. You are gradually losing control of what is right for your community. I feel very happy that we cannot accept money, we have for the most part strapped it through.