Watch the video of Emily Chang, founder and CEO of cosmetics marketplace Beautegrity
1. Could you briefly introduce your business?
Beautegrity is an online marketplace specialized in organic and natural skincare products, with the best quality but affordable prices. I started the business last November; we are now a team of six people in Hong Kong.
2. How and why did you start your business?
I started the business for myself: I worked out a lot, I had a lot of activities, and after I had kids, with hormonal changes, my skin condition changed and no conventional skincare products were solving my skin problems. So I started looking out for more organic and healthier products for myself. I was working for Goldman Sachs at that time. It all started with an anchor brand of one of my school’s alumni friends.
3. How did you finance your business?
The business is self-funded; I started it thanks to years of savings from my finance job.
4. How do you select your brands?
We basically get in touch with hundreds of brands from all around the world. We contact them, request the products to test, not just myself but my close friends, my family and my team. We gather all the information and look closely at the ingredients’ list; we interview the brand’s product development team as well as the founder. We tend to be more interested in brands that are not mass production.
5. Who is your target?
To be honest, when I started the business, I thought my target would be women that are from 30 to 40 years old, more expats, and English speakers but actually, it turned out to be 45 to 60 years old Hong Kong women that have really suffered for years using conventional skincare products. People with skin problems are much more receptive to organic and natural skincare products and they are even more open to understand the logic behind these products.
6. How do you attract new clients?
We have a very clear digital marketing strategy. We use mostly social media, namely Facebook to reach out to our target audience. We tend to drive our target to our website where they can find articles with more content.
7. How do you plan to develop the business in the near future?
As a short-term perspective (year 2017), the goal is to strengthen the relationship with our target audience and to bring more brands in. We have brands from the UK as well as from the US that we are ready to launch next month. We also want to help our customers understand what products are suitable for them.
As a long-term perspective, I want Beautegrity to be one of the leading go-to marketplaces in Asia, not just as a local player but as a regional one. Being able to provide that type of variety in the skincare industry is really what I am aiming for.
8. As an online company, what are your thoughts on doing business offline?
I am not going against the idea but I would like to think more strategically. I might do it when we will have a better understanding of our target audience. Pop-up shops are something we might consider and if so, we will start in Hong Kong.
9. Do you think there is a difference between female and male start-up founders?
Definitely! I realize the society is still showing that males can go conquer the world while women stay at home taking care of the kids.
Women tend to be better at multitasking. At home, when you have 5 kids screaming out in the background, you still have to cook and clean up the house and I also think that in general, women deal better with stress. The natural abilities of women to pull different resources and put things together are extremely helpful when it comes to entrepreneurship. In terms of work, women are much more flexible and communicative than men. Male entrepreneurs have fewer things they have to juggle outside of work.
10. Do female founders require special set of skills to get prepared for the start-up world?
There are quite a few things I acquired along the way but there are still a lot of skills that I want to acquire. For me, there is a skill that you cannot learn from school or any other courses: problem-solving ability. As an entrepreneur, you really need to have the desire, ability and patience to solve all the daily little problems that pop up unexpectedly. It is very different from small problems that happen in large organizations that I think, are easier to manage. An entrepreneur should also be able to prioritize.
11. What would be your best piece of advice for aspiring female entrepreneurs in Hong Kong?
Life is short; give it a try so you will never have any regret when looking back.