Toni Ko, founder of NYX cosmetics and owner-founder of Perverse Sunglasses, worked as an employee (on an allowance) at her family’s cosmetics business from ages 13-25. Today on the EO Podcast, Toni discusses the challenges of working at her family’s shop as a teen and young adult but also how her experience there acted as a springboard to start NYX. Tune-in to learn how Toni handled the sale of her business after 15 years and what catalyzed her next business move.
Time Stamped Show Notes:
00:19 – Habits that make Toni a successful entrepreneur 00:33 – Having a routine is very important, especially in the morning for health and body care 01:27 – The book “From Good to Great” by James Collins inspires her and transformed her life 01:40 – Core values for NYX and Perverse are honesty and sticking to what you promise 02:18 – When she was little she’d volunteer for everything and was very enthusiastic 02:46 – She grew up in South Korea in a rural area; she’s a country girl 03:30 – Her family moved to the U.S. in 1986 (7th grade) 03:50 – She’s happy that she grew up in nature 04:22 – She had to learn a new language and culture, she had to be creative and hypersensitive of her surroundings to understand what was going on 05:20 – This hypersensitivity has helped her in business; she can pinpoint situations quickly 06:03 – The “gut-feeling” comes from the ability to analyze body language, energy 06:58 – Her family owned a small business selling cosmetics and she’d always work there 07:30 – She’d go to school and work at the store with customers, merchandise, POP; she experienced business from the point-of-view of an employee 08:20 – She started looking into how things could be done more efficiently 08:38 – Her older sister did her own thing and her brother, being a boy, was exempt 09:00 – She didn’t like being at the store all the time, her mom was the scariest person at the time 09:23 – Her mother was very strict: she couldn’t chew gum or sit down in the store 10:00 – There were fun moments, too; cleaning up, inventory, and displays were fun to do 10:30 – She worked with the family business until she was 25 years old and she lived at her parent’s house with an allowance 11:00 – This was normal to her; it’s a cultural thing 11:23 – She told her mom that she wasn’t going to work at the store anymore and was going to get a job 11:42 – She decided to start her own business with a loan from her mother and started it at 26 years old 12:10 – She birthed the idea out of need; she didn’t have money to spend on high-end cosmetics when she worked at the family store 12:44 – Her friends would buy department store products and she would buy drugstore products; she was embarrassed 13:35 – She knew some of the ins-and-outs of business, suppliers, and how the industry worked; she knew that high-end products were expensive due to $ spent on marketing 13:55 – Instead of spending on marketing, she wanted to put the money back into the product and depend on consumer’s word-of-mouth marketing 14:20 – She started a one-woman cosmetic company: she delivered, packed, designed, created invoices/orders, in a 600 square foot showroom 14:50 – In the first year, she sold $2 million worth of wholesale cosmetic pencils, which is $4 million in retail and she packed and delivered each box 15:27 – Her mother was her first client and she got the rest of her clients through word of mouth; people had never seen something of such quality at that low of a price point 16:00 – She made “sleek” packaging inspired by higher-end brands 17:00 – In 1999, when there was still a chain in business (wholesalers to retailers), even retailers wanted the product, not just drugstores 17:50 – She did a lot of tradeshows; they were the way to get your produ