In this episode of “Behind Her Empire,” Alicia Yoon, the founder and CEO of Peach & Lily, shares her inspiring journey from being a corporate consultant to establishing her successful skincare brand. Alicia Yoon emphasizes the importance of a well-defined business model in achieving entrepreneurial success.
A Personal Journey to K-Beauty
Yoon’s personal struggles with severe eczema led her on a quest to find effective skincare solutions in the United States. Her breakthrough came during her high school years in South Korea when she discovered K-beauty brands with ingredients that were a better fit for her sensitive skin.
In 2012, Yoon founded Peach & Lily, a leading Korean skincare website, with the mission of helping others regain control of their skin. Her positive experiences with K-beauty formulations inspired her to introduce these products to the United States, offering effective ingredients that were previously foreign to Western beauty brands.
Transitioning from Corporate Consulting to Entrepreneurship
Before embarking on her entrepreneurial journey, Yoon worked in the corporate sector as a consultant for The Boston Consulting Group and Accenture. However, her passion for skincare and entrepreneurship drove her to make a pivotal decision. She left her corporate role to attend esthetician school in South Korea and study K-beauty alongside trained chemists. Yoon emphasizes that passion is a critical element when starting a business, as it demands one’s full dedication and commitment.
The Significance of a Solid Business Model
Yoon stresses the importance of thoroughly ironing out the business model before diving into entrepreneurship. She believes that entrepreneurs should continually evaluate and refine their business models, especially if the cost of goods becomes a hindrance to maintaining a profitable business. Yoon’s firsthand experience with her initial startup, a Korean fashion import firm, taught her that having a scalable business model is vital for long-term success.
From Existential Moments to Entrepreneurial Resilience
Yoon’s time at Harvard Business School, coinciding with the financial crisis, exposed her to valuable networking opportunities and candid conversations with fellow founders. These experiences instilled the confidence to launch Peach & Lily. She acknowledges that challenges and tough decisions are inevitable in the entrepreneurial journey but believes that these moments serve as a source of motivation and drive.
The Multifaceted Role of Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurs often find themselves juggling multiple roles within their businesses, making it challenging to see the direct impact on customers. Yoon’s strategy to reenergize herself involves connecting with her personal support group—friends and family whom she fondly calls her “personal cheerleaders.” Their encouragement serves as a reminder of her goals and why she embarked on her entrepreneurial path.
The Power of Customer Feedback
Yoon draws inspiration from customer reviews, allowing her to witness the transformative effects of Peach & Lily products. She highlights the significance of reading reviews where customers share how her products have positively impacted their skin, reinforcing her sense of purpose.
A Decade of Success
In just over a decade, Peach & Lily is on its way to becoming the fifth-ranked skincare brand at Ulta Beauty. Yoon’s unwavering dedication and the positive impact her brand has on customers fuel her determination to continue making a difference.