In celebration of International Women's History Month, we're starting a new series where we interview female founders in K-Beauty Industry to learn about their entrepreneurial journey and how their beauty brand was born.
Customizable skincare has been gaining traction in the global beauty community recently, with brands like Skin Inc and Curology becoming well-loved by many. Let's dive into a K-Beauty brand that offers customizable sheet masks, Yourfit by Whom, with its CEO and Founder, MJ Shin.
MJ Shin, founder and CEO of Yourfit by Whom
Could you introduce yourself?
Hello, I'm MJ SHIN, CEO of Yourfit, a brand specializing in customizable skincare. Before starting Yourfit, I worked as an online marketer in an online game company in Korea, and I became interested in business in China. I took up an MBA at the Shanghai Fudan University and upon graduation, worked as a brand manager for Mamonde at AmorePacific's Shanghai headquarters continuously.
When and how did you start Yourfit by Whom?
When I quit my job at AmorePacific in 2015, I realized that it was time to realize my dream of starting a business. I had been drawing the picture of customizable skincare in my head during my time in the cosmetics company, and I thought that it was time for me to begin the sketch.
Yourfit by Whom has a brand concept of cosmetics that fit each individual's skin. How did you decide on this?
While working in the global beauty industry, what hit me the most was that although the promotions always claimed to consider the customers' skin, in actual fact, the products were sold in large quantities based on popular concepts and bestsellers rather than the customers' skin.
I wondered, "Is there any way to provide optimal skincare for each customer's skin?" Yourfit was started with this question in mind. Yourfit's ultimate goal is a world where smart cosmetics are consumed solely for the benefit of your skin, without relying on advertising or word of mouth.
How do you develop new products? Where do you get your ideas from?
What is the most important thing when developing a new product that even customers don't know about? It could be the product itself, the way it is used, or the package design. To unravel the mystery, the Perfect Custom Ampoule & Mask Dual Solution Kit, which was released last year, is the first product to show advanced cosmetics consumption methods that allow you to get a better understanding of your skin and choose products that fit your skin.
How is Yourfit by Whom perceived in Korea?
In Korea, Yourfit by Whom is still a small but unique brand that is gaining recognition. In particular, 1:1 customizing services are provided using skincare that fit you and skin type analysis algorithms from Korea. We have an image as a smart beauty brand that combines AI technology with beauty, when compared to other beauty brands.
Did you face any challenges as a female business leader?
I was concerned about energy and time distribution between family and business, as both cannot be neglected as a married woman. My husband is currently in Singapore, and I live and run a business in Korea. As my business is based in Korea, the most difficult part is the long distance relationship at the beginning of marriage, but now we've seem to settle down a lot after some time.
Do you have any advice for aspiring female business leaders?
It doesn't have to be perfect! Hit the market first when your thoughts are 70% complete!! That's my advice to you. There are really no answers to the market, and even with the most elaborate products and services, we can't be sure of their success out in the real market. If you look at female entrepreneurs or prospective entrepreneurs around you, they seem to have a strong tendency to prepare everything 100% before starting, because they're meticulous and perfectionists. I would like to emphasize that we can first create a prototype, get feedback from the market, before making the finished product.
Which is your favorite mask kit?
Hahaha. Rather than my favorite, I use a customized kit for my skin. I mix the purple ampoule which has anti-aging effects with the sebum control ampoule, for my oily-combination skin.
Beautiful artwork on the Yourfit mask kits and sheet masks
The packaging of your products are so beautiful. How did you come up with the artwork and does it have any meaning to it?
Since this product is a kit that contains the individual's skin personality, we designed the packaging with the concept of 'gift for myself'. I wanted to invoke an emotional feeling when people received the product, like receiving a postcard with a pretty picture on it. I hid the images of the cosmetics and the information of the product and highlighted the emotional aspects. The illustrations chosen are images that best match the four representative skin types (dry, oily, combination, and sensitive).
What's the reason behind making the kits customizable?
I wanted to broaden customers' options when choosing cosmetics. The skin changes slightly depending on the menstrual cycle, skin condition, and lifestyle, so I want to help you take the lead in skincare.
What are some upcoming trends you foresee in the K-beauty industry?
I think K-beauty is not just a hot trend but a global beauty domain with recognized product power and ideas. In many countries, people are already showing their preference for Korean skincare products, regardless of K-wave, and the market continues to grow.
The markets have slowly expanded from China to Southeast Asia and North America, which accounts for a large portion of cosmetics exports in recent years. The global market for K-beauty is expected to grow in the mid- to long-term.