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This female founder launched her beauty brand on Tiktok, now she’s got more than 50M+ views, Youthforia’s Fiona Chan shares exactly how she did it (part 1/2)

by Female Startup Club
January 21st 2022

Hey everyone! Doone here. Your host and hype girl. Today on the show we’re learning from Fiona Chan, the founder behind a brand called Youthforia. While they’ve only launched just last year they’ve... More

Oh my goodness, it is 2022. I cannot believe it and I don't know about you, but january is a time for me when I'm feeling so invigorated for the year ahead. I'm full of energy. New goals, dreams, excitement. It's a time for me to learn new things and set my intentions for the rest of the year. And with that in mind, I love to dig into new podcasts like success story hosted by scott D Clary and brought to you by the hubspot podcast network. This is truly one of the most useful podcasts in the world featuring conversations about sales, marketing business and startups with super successful people in the industry. So if you're in the mood for some fresh energy, I would highly recommend starting with episode 189 called How to build an iconic brand with joe Foster, the founder and Ceo of Reebok. It is a pretty wild ride. You can listen to success story wherever you get your podcasts. This is Fiona chan for female startup club.

Hey everyone, it's dune here, your host and hype girl today on the show, we're learning from Fiona chan the founder behind a brand called Euphoria. Now, while they've only just launched last year, they've managed to build some crazy Buzz in the beauty industry. Garnering more than 50 million views on Tiktok and growing at euphoria. They believe that makeup is an extension of your skincare. All of their products are formulated to be so good for your skin, You can sleep in it and Fiona actually tests all of their products by sleeping in it for an extended period of time and so does her husband. Most conventional makeup brands formulate with fossil fuels and liquid plastics which can be harmful or irritating for the skin. So instead euphoria use skin friendly plant based ingredients to provide luxurious textures and targeted treatments for your skin sounds like heaven. Right In this episode we're chatting about the beauty industry as a whole and Fiona's advice for standing out in a saturated space, how she harnessed the power of Tiktok to get traction and commits to creating two videos a day at least and why you should get on to super great if you're in the beauty industry.

Now, before we get into the episode and just in case you haven't heard me talking about it yet. I have my very first book coming out at the end of feb featuring the stories and learnings from 51 of these brilliant women from the first year of the show and I am just over the moon to be sharing this with you. If you are someone who might be able to help me get the word out or you know someone that I should talk to to help me get the word out. I would love to meet you. So please slide into my I. G. D. M. S. And let's have a chat, you can find me at june routine which is D. W. N. E. R. O. I. S. I. N. Let's get into this episode. This is Fiona for female startup club customers want more from brands, delivering more means owning the customer experience, taking control over data acquisition analysis, creative and delivery.

Clay vo calls this owned marketing and believe it's the best path to growth for more visit Clay vo dot com slash F. S. C. That's clay vo dot com slash F. S. C. Female startup club precincts. Fiona. Hi, welcome to the female startup club podcast. Thank you so much for having me. Happy New Year, by the way. Yes, it's an exciting new year. I'm so excited to finally be done with 2021 and I'm so looking forward to 2022. Oh my God, I hear that. I'm like done with 2021, Bring on the new energy and the new vibes and all the good stuff that's gonna come from 2022, but you had a really big year last year. I'm actually surprised that you say that because I imagine for you, you launched this new business, you skyrocketed with it and you've had so many exciting things on the go. Yeah, 2021 has been a fast year for us. We launched the business in April um not really knowing you know how to launch a business and we kind of just learned on our way.

So I'm excited for 22 because we kind of have, you know, a few months under our belts. We know a little bit better how how to do certain things. So it's kind of exciting to see um us launching new products with kind of that skill set, find out some of the creases and kinks. Now you're, you know what I'm trying to say, you've had success now, you're on the way to the next level the sky, the stars. I don't know what I always love to start each founder startup story by going back to the origins of when you were kind of thinking about starting a business when you were thinking about, you know, becoming an entrepreneur and how you kind of launched the brand, how you kind of came up with the idea. Yeah, so we came up with the idea for youth for you. I mean right when the pandemic hit and for those of you guys who don't know euphoria mix make up the Active Skincare, we test all of our products by sleeping in it because for me, I wanted to make make up that was so good for your skin, you can sleep in it. I am someone who sleeps in my make up a couple of times a week and now, you know, I sleep in my makeup because I'm testing new products, But this was something that I was doing since I was 18 and there have been so many experiences, I want to say like, you know a handful of times where I've ended up in the hospital with these crazy allergic reactions because I slept in my makeup, my skin is incredibly sensitive and this is just something that is such a big part of our process where we test everything by sleeping in it.

I recruit my husband to test a lot of products also overnight and it's because for me, I really wanted something, I really wanted a brand that had done this for me. A lot of the ideas for you for your kind of came about during the pandemic. I mean at the time I was living in Hong kong, kind of got stuck there because of pandemic and I was just thinking, okay, well what can I do from my apartment? I just wanted to start a business and I think it was like that first week of not being able to see anyone that I realized that for me, the best part of wearing makeup is the fact that I got to go see people. I know I'm gonna, I'm going to have a good time and I am literally someone who wants wine. I will sleep in my makeup that night. And so you know, I really envisioned this as a post pandemic come company. Something that was going to be really fun. But yeah, it was really, I think I was just in the closet of the apartment that I was living in thinking about, okay, what can I do? What's really resonating with me, what will make me happy in terms of what, you know, once we get out of the pandemic, what does that look like.

But yeah, I think, you know when when you start a company during a pandemic, I'm sure it's incredibly different. There's a lot of things you can't do but a lot of the early days was just googling how to do certain things and so like I guess you can't visit manufacturers, you can't, you know, go out and meet with potential partners, nothing. You've got to be doing it all from the house. Can you kind of go a little bit deeper on what your day to day like was kind of like in those early days of trying to figure things out, trying to meet with manufacturers, suppliers and get those early samples ready. Yeah, so for our manufacturer there's one that we use that's in Korea, we actually were able to fly to Korea before the pandemic hit and during that trip, you know, we just, we literally just googled like makeup manufacturers. I mean I'm sure there are better google terms. I think we set up meetings with Maybe 10 that we met in person and for me it was just like you know, the person that I ended up choosing to go with initially was it was because we just, you know, clicked very well, we do things kind of differently in terms of manufacturing, there's definitely easier ways of going about it and for me, I needed someone who really understood my vision and knew that they were going to make these crazy custom formulas for us?

Um normally the way that you would do it is you would go to a manufacturer, they would kind of give you a book of like, products that you can select. Um for me, I wanted to do something just so different and they would have to completely just, you know, rethink the formulation process. So for me, it was just important to find someone that understood that vision and would work with me and it was an incredibly long process to make some of these formulas as well. How long did it take from kind of like meeting them and starting those early conversations around what you wanted to, having the finished sample ready to go with packaging with packaging. Well, packaging takes its, I think packaging usually takes a lot more time just because it's like, our packaging is incredibly customized and that was not an easy process. I don't know that I would recommend doing that on the first go because it was very stressful. But I think like from initial concept to When we finally launched the business, it was about like 13, maybe 14 months your packaging and kind of like product design with the little lego eclipse the things, I don't know what you call them is so much fun.

I love looking at them and I'm just curious to know, like, how did you come up with that idea and how did you actually get that to fruition? Like what do you have to like? It's not obviously stock, standard packaging, it's very out there. Yeah, so for for me, I just remember looking at this messy apartment that I was in and you know, when we started the company, we didn't expect the pandemic, it was a very messy apartment that I was in, and that's kind of how we came up with our tagline, life's messy, but your makeup isn't, and I took that concept and brought it into, you know, our packaging, that's why it stacks it, like is nicely organized if you play around with it, and also like our ingredients. And for me, I wanted you for you to kind of emote a emotion. So euphoria kind of means when you're really happy in your adult life, it just reminds you of your favorite childhood memories. For me, it's when I'm at a music festival reminds me of the first time being at Disneyland and I wanted to bring that emotion into our packaging in our products. So that's why, you know that our containers, they have this lego s throwback concept and that's also why like, our formulas are a little bit unexpected.

You know, there there is like a nice element of surprise to the, to the experience of our products do you get a lot of feedback from customers about your packaging? Like, is that a big part of what other people talk about for the brand, Like I assume it is, but I think so and also the formulas itself, I think I get a lot more feedback about the actual formulas because it's so different. Um Our best selling product is B. Y. O. Blush. It's a color changing blush oil and I think people love just seeing like the color changes on their skin or how it looks on their skin. So we get a lot more feedback about that actually. Hmm. That's so cool. I love that kind of like those perfumes that change based on you know who you are, it changes the smell, I love that the beauty industry is notorious for needing a lot of startup capital and a lot of working capital as you get into it. How much money did you need to invest in the beginning to get the brand kind of like your first order and to launch and how are you thinking about the money piece and like the funding path in general.

We self funded the company, I think I spent about like mid six figures, it was a lot more than I expected. Um But a lot of the costs went into, we did custom molds um that actually cost quite a bit of money and then we did a lot of custom formulations. So our M. O. Q. S. There were a lot higher than what you would typically order just because I wanted that customization. So it was, I don't know that I would go about it actually no I think I would go about it the same way um if I were to do it again. But those were the two pieces that I really wanted to invest into. There are other places where I will try to like cut costs just because for me formulation ingredients is like the most important and I really wanted that customization for our components. And were you kind of self funding through like savings or grants or loans or like how are you approaching that? Yeah it was literally my life savings. I remember paying for that first bill for your components and your, you wonder how many of how many units am I actually going to sell?

And it is incredibly expensive to do custom components because you know in a like for example like a lip gloss container that's like six molds or six or 10 molds that you have to make and it is so expensive to do. And I remember just thinking like is this is this really what I want to invest in its packaging? So important that I have to do this And I think I just had a gut check of like I really want to do this and to go back to your earlier question like how do you actually make components like this? I don't have like a technical design background. I literally drew out things with a ruler on a piece of paper and I took a picture of it on my phone, WhatsApp or we chatted to our manufacturer and they kind of have the drawing and the three D. Printed like different options that are very early designs of this. There are so ugly like all the proportions are really off because I'm not actually a designer by trade, but they, you know, they do help you and it's actually incredible. You can just draw things on a piece of paper.

The manufacturers are really good, they have technical design teams that will, you know, kind of three D. Render it and then they will send you examples before they actually go into making the molds and then once you get the mold you realize okay the edges are not as smooth and it's a it's actually a pretty long process. Oh my gosh, that sounds like so much fun. It's incredibly stressful because I think the first time doing it, you don't know, you're like, oh my God is the quality going to be good? And then you kind of realized, okay, this is actually part of the design process where you know, by the second round they smooth out the edges or like the actual dimensions gets, they look a little bit more even, but in the beginning, like I really had no idea of like proportions, like the curvature of these edges, like how to make things actually look and feel really nice. Have you kept the same packages from like your first approved kind of concepts or has it already evolved into different things? Like further down the track? Yeah, we've we've changed packaging for B Y O blush, we added a green tint to the bottles.

Originally, it was like a clear bottle on the bottom and I think what I realized is that a lot of people like to put make up next to the window and that was really affecting the formula. So I added a green tint to it to protect the formula, but this was something where we figured it out right away pretty much a month into launching the business and I was already thinking about, okay, how can I improve the packaging this next go around, But that's kind of like my process, if there is an improvement that I can make, I will try to make it as fast as possible. Does that also mean you were kind of doing like your, you said you had to do bigger minimum orders for the actual like formulation itself. But for the packaging, you were doing smaller orders so that you could iterate or were you kind of like doing big orders and then having to like throw it away? No, it was, it was always big orders. I mean we didn't throw it away, we ended up selling through all of it, but when you decide to do custom packaging, like even using standard molds, but just like your, your label screen printed on it. It's usually the M. O. Queues for that is 10,000. So packaging mots are always going to be larger than many formula mots.

But when you make a mold you, you kind of think about, Okay, how many units I am, I am I going to sell more than 10,000? Like that's kind of my thought process for it hey, it's doing here, I don't know about you but every january I think I'm going to change into this totally new person like Dune Version 2.0 but instead it's just me with a fresh take on the world around me. Same but different hubspot Crm platform helps you notice the subtle changes in your customer behavior that make them the same but different, helping you to give them the best customer experience possible With powerful new marketing operations, service and sales tools, hubspot is ready to help you transform and grow your customer experiences in 2022 from conversation intelligence tools to automated marketing campaigns and even data quality tools that automatically merge, duplicate customer records, hubspot tracks every teeny tiny detail so you can fully optimize your customers experience even when you haven't done something like capitalized a customer's name, like that level of detail, learn more about how you can transform your customer experience with a hubspot Crm platform at hubspot dot com.

This is a nice segue into like the lead up to your launch and how you were planning to sell out of, you know, thousands and thousands and thousands of units. What was your thoughts in the lead up? What was the launch plan and how did it go? I had no plan. It was, it was an incredibly stressful launch week. I had just moved from Hong kong to the U. S. I moved because I knew that I needed to be on Tiktok from the early days of starting the business. I knew I just wanted to be on Tiktok and to make a product that would work well for Tiktok. And so I moved back from Asia just really to be on Tiktok. So I had no furniture. I had um, like a folding table trying to launch the website and I was thinking like, should I have a launch plan? And for me, I was just ready to turn on the website and see what happened and when you do that and you have no plan, you launched your crickets and you start wondering, oh my God, did I make a big mistake did I spent like literally all of my life savings to do something. And I wasn't sure about it. It took about like two weeks to kind of pick up some traction.

But yeah, we didn't really have like a major launch. I do remember that press was starting to pick it up, kind of organically not that that translated into a lot of sales in the initial days, but what really popped for us? Or you know, a mini pop was um, we actually had a customer post about us on Tiktok. And I remember one day I was like, I'm getting more than one order. I wonder what's going on. Like something must be going on. And then that's when I realized, okay, I should probably be on Tiktok and start, you know, making content consistently. And is that when you're saying like the after about two weeks you started getting traction. Is that because you were showing up on the platform every day? Or that was because other people were also starting to talk about it. Yeah, that was because other people were on the platform. I think as soon as I saw two people post about us on Tiktok, I was like, okay, let me just make a throwaway Tiktok. And I think it was like my third one that went pretty viral. And then, and then we had a series of videos that go viral and other people going viral on it. And then it became a really big marketing channel for us. But it took about, you know, a couple months for us to kind of figure that out, wow.

And so is your Tiktok strategy now focused more on like you creating content as the founder and face of the brand? Or is it focused on other influences and other Tiktok creators talking about the product or is it a mix of both? Definitely a mix of both on our account. It's, it's me creating content. It's something where I block out several hours a day just so that I have, you know, the time to create content and then, you know, it's just part of the ecosystem. We have influencers on details that, that like to talk about it. And of course, like our customers, sometimes we find that they also post on Tiktok as well. And it does help just to have a lot of people creating content all at the same time. And I think you guys have something crazy like 50 million views or something like that on Tiktok. Yeah, that was, that happened pretty quickly. Not all of it is from the user account. It's definitely a mix of us and influencers. Holy moly, that's so crazy. How have you started to like diverse via channels and what else are you using to, you know, drive customer acquisition or is Tiktok the go to channel Tiktok mostly.

But we also repost a lot of our Tiktok onto reels and reels is a great channel. I think for us just because our products are so visual, just the use of social video, whether it's on Tiktok or on instagram reels. Um, it's just been so beneficial for us? Um gosh, that's so exciting. What's your marketing plan kind of for Q1 of this year and moving into this year in general, does it change? Does it stay the same? Are you kind of bringing on new channels? What else are you doing? I think it's still going to be mostly Tiktok and instagram reels. Um, you know, we've been experimenting with paid instagram ads. We haven't found a ton of success yet, but you know, we'll experiment with different things. We might try. Youtube adds a different mix of pay channels, but they too, be honest, haven't really been that beneficial for us. Most of our customer acquisition is organic through social. Um, we're actually preparing for a new launch and this is the first time where we have a few, you know, we have a lot more experience under our belts. We know, you know how to look for influencers, how to seed, we're going through this with a slightly different approach.

Like the last time I launched a product, I just turned on the website and it was very stressful to do it that way this time. You know, we're building hype going into this product launch. I'm creating a lot of contents and I think about launches now in a way where I'm like, how many Tiktok's can I make about a product before? It used to be like, okay, like what are the benefits? But now I'm thinking about it in a way that's like, what can I storyteller, I can talk about why I decided to make a product here is like all these ingredients that are really great about it? So I'm pretty excited for 21 launch. I mean it's going to look very different just because it's the first time we're adding a new product to the mix. How long in advance are you kind of building the hype like before it actually launches? What's that kind of time period? Well this time we're gonna do it for about like 20 days I think just so that we kind of know what's going to land. But you know, it's pretty exciting because for me, I'm at this point I'm making two tech talks a day just to see what's going to resonate with our social audience and I never really know until I actually do it and in hindsight, what is it that resonates?

Like what are the kind of videos that have worked really well for the euphoria channel or rails on your instagram channel? I think people like to know why I created a product. Um what was my thought process behind it? A lot of people love watching the blush change on, on different skin tones, like why I created something like that because it was so different. So I do a lot of storytelling of like why I wanted to create this product or how I went about testing it and things like that and like just ask one more question on this, How do you actually map out what you're gonna do, Like, do you just make a plan the day before or do you have like a month worth of content ideas like in a spreadsheet or is it literally just like show up and see what you're in the mood for? Like how do you kind of, and I'm asking for other brand owners who are listening, who are like, oh, you know, maybe getting a bit stuck on the Tiktok and the reels kind of journey. How do you approach this strategy and planning for it? I don't actually have a big plan for Tiktok. Tiktok is a little bit more reactive for instagram. We plan about like one or two months ahead with knowing that we're going to slot into talks that I'm creating just because like, you can be very topical.

I created this series of um y de que makeup trends that are making a comeback and that is very topical based off of either, it's like the met gala and I'm doing it the morning of and I'm, you know, staying up the night before, looking at all the looks to know what I'm going to talk about. Um that's what is very reactive, but there's other things where I know I'm always going to talk about certain ingredients or you know, I have these content pillars that I know I can go back to or like why I created this or I talk about like, I don't know, making my husband also tested these products or situations when I was younger where I wish this product existed. Um, there's certain pillars I always go back to, but it's usually like morning of, I will know generally, you know, I might do a Y G. K. Makeup trends video. I might do a, let's talk about this feature, I might do a makeup tutorial but it's very dependent on, you know, what's going on that week. I make, you know, kind of like to 2 to 3 day plans. I don't do anything further out just for Tiktok mm hmm hmm hmm hmm wow, that's so interesting. And how cool, wow, two videos a day is a lot to be doing that and like posting on other channels and everything like as the founder.

Yeah. I think for me, um you know, my, my biggest advice is if you're going to create this much content, picking content style that is very easy for you to do and produce. For me, there are certain styles where I just know I'm not good at, I can't make these like fast cuts, these crazy edits and there are other people that can do it in like five minutes or less. So for me I just pick a style that I can do easily and I can do consistently. I won't try to change my style because it just doesn't come naturally for me and I think it's so important to be able to audit yourself and be like I know what I can do and what like my strength first. My weaknesses are and like lean into what you're able to commit to. Yeah, exactly. What do you think is your best piece of advice for beauty entrepreneurs coming into this year? I think you know, just get started. I think the for me um the entrepreneurial journey has more has actually been a bigger mental health journey and you find out so much about yourself going through this journey. So you know, I wish I had just gotten started.

I'm a very different person now than I was even like a couple of months ago and it does get very, you know, if I feel like you just developed like a resilience over time with dealing with these different situations. So you know, it's something where there's no reason to wait, I love that. Thank you. Thanks for listening to this amazing episode. We are testing out something new here for the next while and we're splitting up each Episode into two parts, the Main interview part and then the six quick questions part to make them easier to listen to. So that's part one done. Tune into part two To hear the six quick questions. Hey, it's Doom here. Thanks for listening to this episode of the female startup club podcast, if you're a fan of the show, I'd recommend checking out female startup club dot com where you can subscribe to our newsletter and learn more about our D I. Y. Course. The ads, N B A. I also truly appreciate each and every review that comes our way. It might seem like such a small thing, but reviews help other heirs find us. So please do jump on and subscribe rate and review the show.

And finally, if you know someone who would benefit from hearing these inspiring stories, please do share it with them and empower the women in your network. See you soon. Mm hmm.

This female founder launched her beauty brand on Tiktok, now she’s got more than 50M+ views, Youthforia’s Fiona Chan shares exactly how she did it (part 1/2)
This female founder launched her beauty brand on Tiktok, now she’s got more than 50M+ views, Youthforia’s Fiona Chan shares exactly how she did it (part 1/2)
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