The Glow Recipe founders discuss building their brand, the empowering effects of skincare, and staying positive and proactive under pressure.
As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither was the success of Glow Recipe, a clean beauty brand inspired by fruit and fun. What initially began in 2014 as a curated site of top K-beauty products became its own cult skincare line in 2017. (Also impressive was also a successful pitch on Shark Tank along the way.)
We chatted with Sarah Lee and Christine Chang, Glow Recipe founders and co-CEOs, about the brand’s journey and skincare as self-care.
Q&A with Glow Recipe Founders
What’s the Glow Recipe mission?
Sarah: At Glow Recipe, we aim to make skincare effective, easy, and fun. It shouldn’t have to be a chore, but one of the most enjoyable self-care moments of your day. We’re passionate about pairing superfruits with effective ingredients and sensorial textures. With every launch, we want to continue to provide exciting, game-changing products for our beauty community.
In what ways do you find skincare empowering?
Christine: I love that skincare truly has something for everyone, regardless of race, background, and gender. Inclusivity and diversity are core to our values, so we make a conscious effort to feature models of all different skin types, tones, and textures in our visual campaigns.
Next, we’re inspired by the approach to skincare we grew up with in Korea, where skincare is a daily self-care moment. With Glow Recipe, we wanted to provide products and in-depth ingredient education that could help everyone on their personal skincare journey.
That said, it’s rewarding to see our community build a relationship with their skin and its ever-evolving needs outside of a set skin type. We love offering our community opportunities to make the best choices based on how their skin feels on a day-to-day basis.
What’s been your proudest moment thus far?
Sarah: When we launched our Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask, we were so shocked and humbled by the support. We sold out multiple times and amassed a waitlist of thousands. To have our namesake brand launch be so well received was beyond our wildest dreams. The reactions from everyone truly validated our purpose and formulation philosophy.
Since the beginning, we’ve been lucky to work with amazing retail partners both in the US and internationally. It took a lot of hard work and wearing multiple hats from the start, but we’re fortunate to have an amazing team behind us now.
What’s been your biggest challenge?
Christine: Given the world events in early 2020, retail storefronts closed shortly before our product launch for the Watermelon Pore-Tight Toner. Our collective team had put so much work into bringing this formulation—a true labor of love—to life, and we wanted to make sure that the launch did this justice!
As a digitally native brand, we were fortunate to be able to pivot quickly. We adjusted our content strategy and maximized our brand friendships to provide consumers with timely, out-of-the-box content they were looking for. As a result, our team was hyper-focused on a digital strategy that actually made our Watermelon Pore-Tight Toner launch the most successful one to date.
How do you stay positive in times of uncertainty?
Sarah: During trying times, it’s really important to be a source of positivity for yourself, and especially for the team that looks to you for leadership. Even while the pandemic has affected our daily lives, we make sure to check in with each other constantly and do our best to create a semblance of normalcy. We still celebrate team birthdays and happy hours virtually. We also make sure that our team members feel supported and heard; it’s essential to stay united when faced with adversity.
Work aside, self-care remains extremely important. Of course, my skincare routine is a big part of that. It allows me time at the end of the day to check in with myself and focus on the moment. It’s truly a therapeutic way for me to stay positive.
What are your go-to remedies to beat stress?
Christine: I love taking hot baths whenever possible, and I usually apply a face mask and a hair mask. (Multi-masking with the Watermelon Glow Mask on my T-zone and Avocado Melt Mask on my U-zone is my go-to recipe!) I also like to read a book or listen to a podcast. Alone time is precious to me, as it allows me to relax and unwind. I’m not only away from my computer and phone, but I also have a moment to think and create.
What simple pleasures keep you happy?
Sarah: Every day, I set aside time for my husband and I to cook together. Making dinner every night is comfortingly routine while still offering the opportunity to be creative. I love trying new recipes. Most importantly, it’s wonderful to do this daily small project together—something that we hardly did before quarantine.