How Glue Guide turned from a curation site to a beauty product brand.

Did you know that the current US cosmetics market is worth more than 95 95 billion?

With the rapid growth of the cosmetics industry, it has become competitive and saturated – especially for startups. When you’re trying to sell a product, it can be even harder to break the industry that your audience is less familiar with.

With that in mind, the Glue Recipe, founded by Sarah Lee and Christine Chang, aims to bring American beauty to the forefront of Korean beauty (or K-beauty) trends, as well as its own line of natural, fruit-based cosmetic products. To deliver

But, before Glue Hidayat sold thousands of cosmetic products and had an audience of over 1 million social media followers, it actually started as a simple product curation site aimed at highlighting other beauty brands.

In a recent episode of The Shakeup, Alexis Gay and Brian Camille sat down with co-SEOs Sarah Lee and Chang to learn how they built a well-known beauty brand and marketed their products in the US and other global markets. Kept for

Below are some great highlights of the episode, as well as an audio player for you to listen to as you read.

Now listen to the shows on HubSpot's podcast network.

Glue Guide Highlights

How and why the glittering recipe started with curation.

[00:18:54] Lesbian: It sounds like the work of many companies, but they are especially aware of the glue recipe, the American beauty and the philosophy behind it. … I’m wondering if you can tell us more? What are the real key markers of K-Beauty?

[00:19:17] Chang: The real motivator for us to start it was the realization that there was a growing interest in Korean beauty at the time. It all came back in 2014. We were seeing not only consumers but also global companies looking for Korean manufacturers and Korean labs for innovative inventions and skin care, ingredients and technologies.

… WE was also seeing that a lot of attention was paid to Korean beauty subjects. [K-beauty] As a 10 to 15 step procedure … it would be almost a bit – in terms of content – very click byte, vs. getting to the heart of the matter, which is about a philosophy of Korean beauty. … This is something we have learned from the knees of our own mothers and grandmothers.

We both have these wonderful memories … Our grandmothers use watermelon peels and rub them on the skin according to the heat, or our mothers just march on the pantry. And I know Sarah’s mom – one of her favorite ingredients was a slice of cucumber. Or my mother would like to use more potatoes. [00:20:30] The only comprehensive approach that is easily accessible to natural ingredients, which you incorporate into your care routine. We often used to watch TV and wear masks with our mother. And it was no use. It wasn’t a difficult 15-step thing you had to go through.

[00:22:19] Complete: Can you tell us a little more about the evolution from becoming a trusted source for K-Beauty products in your friend group to this amazing new experience that is an amazing community in a huge market? I have changed

[00:22:45] Chang: We flew to Korea in 2014 without a website to bring some brands on board. And we set footpaths to find brands, many of which we are still very close to today. The common denominator was that they were all led by passionate brand founders who had unique products, really clear product design philosophies, and we realized that these are the brands that are in the United States and other global markets. Need to be introduced – Because of the amazing innovation, beautiful textures, and component stories we were seeing. … After much reassurance … We managed to get eight or nine brands on board.

On this trip, we immediately kicked our own site. … There were many accidents along the way. I get a little annoyed when I see the initial iteration of my site, because at the time you were like, “Hey, that sounds great.” … Now, looking at it, there were some obvious opportunities for improvement, but it was a lot of fun.

… Every day, we were creating emails ourselves. We were calling the journalists cool. We were looking for social media content. … Okay fine

Christina Chang discusses the early days of Glue Recipe as a startup.

… We knew that eventually, we would have to take this step ourselves because we had internally found the philosophy of the formula that we really wanted to show through our brand and the right time for that. Finally came So a few years after launching RSP as a curation site, we launched the Skin Care brand for food at home that you see today, and on the shelves in Sephora in mid-2017. … And that was … a very close partnership with the retailer to make sure we were able to launch the brand.

Why the glue guide has been shifted from curation to product creation.

[00:26:29] Lee: I think the first reason we started as a curvilinear business model was because we wanted to give the platform and these great founders and brands a chance to go global by providing content and education and marketing.

Once we have achieved this reputation in the market, I think at that time we really needed to think about what we as founders wanted to do.

All we wanted to do was connect them. [Korean beauty] Tenants and their own brand because we did not really think that the American consumer fully understood the whole of Chinese and Korean beauty innovations. We felt the urge to break that barrier and build our own brand, which is actually very easy.

[00:28:12] Chang: With Glue Prescription Skin Care, it felt perfect. Our community could not get enough. People were DMing us, asking about our brand, ours, our personal Instagram non-stop … next lottery, product tips, ideas. There was just so much passion and resonance around this brand. And we knew we’d be tough on it because it was a balance – yes – Korean philosophy of beauty, but also results. …

Also, [one thing that drew audiences was] The fact is that we are talking about fun skin care. For the longest time, I think skin care has really been dominated by many clinical brands. … Of course, many of the brands in this space are also really amazing. But I think that sense of sensory reality وہ the extra moment that this touch made a habit of taking care of yourself یہ was all really, really appreciated, and we felt it was ours. [It was] Most of all, our duty to the community is to make sure we are giving them what they want.

How Glue Hidayat maintained the brand relationship.

[00:29:45] Complete: How did you think of the early community that you built around curation? Were there any special ways that you were able to learn from these founders or will you continue to build relationships with them once you have moved from curation to glue recipes?

[00:30:12] Lee: Some of the founders of coverage brands are still our friends. So there is a lot of harmony because we can always pick up the phone, call them and ask them for their opinion on some things.

… WBoth are brand makers and creators, right? So we have a lot in common. We ended our curation business model, but the relationship and friendship continues to this day. We’re still in touch with them for a while, making sure that if they have any questions about visiting the US market, we’re there for them because we want everyone to know. Be successful at the same time.

When we were moving into the creative business, we were not just giving them connections to the networks that were with our retailers. But, we were telling our customers not to forget these products or brands. We were giving them site links to these products to keep buying because we curated them for a reason.

Why is Marketing Product Differentia Key?

[00:31:40] Lesbian: Did you ever doubt at the time that this was the right move, or were you 100 confident?

[00:31:53] Chang: I don’t think we had any doubts about ourselves, but then it’s really hard to gauge a brand’s level of success. There are many brands in the industry. We’ve had a lot of conversations with a lot of people in the industry about how saturated the market is. So every brand that comes into existence must have a real point of difference and a real reason. I think with Glow Recipe Skin Care, we were able to really point out some of these personal experiences, these personal passions to the brand.

How do we provide products that are different and really add value? [the customer’s] When they buy it and make it part of their skin care wardrobe? I think this approach has continued to serve us. And it goes back to the early days where we were responding to each customer’s emails and writing notes to each person who made a purchase from our site.

Christina Chang on the Cosmetics Industry's Satisfied Market.

Balanced community and product management.

[00:33:32] Lesbian: I’m wondering how you balance the customer’s first, the community’s first mindset with some less glamorous aspects of product creation.

[00:33:46] Lee: We are business for the first time. One of the things we have learned, and is still learning, is how we balance everything when we, as founders and co-CEOs, oversee everything. I think the biggest advantage we have today is that we have such an incredible, talented team. … I can say with confidence that they only understand the social space. Many members of our team are actually relatively young and very much engaged in tic tac toe. So they only have ears and eyes … on the social media scene in real time. Because of this, we are not only able to react quickly, but also actively share what we are doing with our community.

This communication aspect has been very important for business as well as internal decision making. … We consider every team member as a content creator. When we hire people, we always ask about their storytelling skills, or their photography skills.

And we often have brainstorming sessions with our team members, just assigning people to think about the challenge we’re facing, whether it’s a marketing initiative or a new campaign idea where we Are trapped and we want everyone to do their part,

Chang and Li’s Top Leadership Challenges

[00:37:49] Alexis lesbian: What do you keep awake at night? What is difficult now? What challenges you as a co-CEO?

[00:38:06] Lee: This is indeed a timely question because there are some major challenges that we are facing today, as a company, we are growing very fast. We are very grateful for that, but it comes with a challenge of how to ensure that everyone stays active and that our culture is maintained.

I think any business person can be involved in such things. Whether or not your team achieves the most successes at any point in your business journey. … I think people are everything. And so we’re trying to figure out how to hire because we need our team and at least 10 people in the next few months.

[00:38:52] Chang: We have a lot of brainstorming sessions because the team is full of ideas and we love these creative conversations and really give everyone a chance to express their thoughts and opinions.

… Go ahead, it’s really in the air, right? Because in life that day is going to be in the office, will it continue to work from home? These are the questions that I think every founder, every company owner, is fighting as we move from 100 hours of work at home to what we all had to be.

To listen to the full podcast as well as other episodes, watch The Shakeup on the HubSpot Podcast Network.

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