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.
For our first interview, we are honoured to have Grace Ahn, founder and CEO of Ceramine, share about her experience with starting Ceramine. Ceramine is a Korean skincare brand that combines safe and mild ingredients from nature with the efficiency of science. This brand is well-loved not only in Korea but by clients in Singapore, Indonesia and around the world.
Grace Ahn, founder and CEO of Ceramine
When and how did you start Ceramine?
Instead of taking over my father's business, I chose to embark on my own journey to find the answer to skincare for the most sensitive skin. My skin became more sensitive and the redness became more severe after repeated laser treatments at dermatology clinics and hospitals. Even after trying most of the well-known cosmetic brands, it didn't work for my skin. While I was in New York and experiencing recycled and natural cosmetics from all over the world, I thought about what genuine skin regeneration cosmetics are, and decided to make cosmetics that my family and I can use for a long time.
Photo credit: Ceramine
Ceramine has a brand concept of nature. How did you decide on this?
In general, natural skincare that most know of are extracted from plants that are cut and harvested, and therefore are already dead, and through organic ingredients such as ethanol. Therefore, they are not actually natural and has little effect.
We started to research by recruiting outstanding researchers, focusing on the pharmaceutical use of natural effects in cosmetics, and developing them based on the natural concept to create "safe" and "healthy" products that can be used by children and mothers as well.
How do you develop new products? Where do you get your ideas from?
Through collaborations with hospitals and skin clinics, we gather comprehensive opinions on skin issues and inquiries through both offline and online means from consumers. With the feedback, we constantly renew or develop new products.
Ceramine's redevelopment of all products and planning of new products come from the voices of consumers.
How is Ceramine perceived in Korea?
Ceramine is a brand with a high repurchase rate, and is perceived to be "comfortable" and "rejuvenated" like Ceramine's values of solving the fundamental skin problems that recur despite many treatments in hospitals and clinics.
Photo credit: Ceramine
What are Ceramine’s steady bestsellers?
Our current bestseller is the Time Solution Cream, containing patented ingredients to promote skin regeneration and collagen synthesis that's unique to Ceramine. Customers see real skin improvement and it keeps them coming back.
Do you have any advice for aspiring female business leaders?
I don't really distinguish women from men. I don't think women should have any restrictions in business. By worrying about such restrictions, you already have a preconceived idea of inequality. If your values and goals are right, don't give up and keep at it. There's a lesson my father taught me.
You're bound to face problems with everything in life. If we acknowledge the problem and think of it as a task to be solved rather than something that makes you give up, all the problems you face in life will seem like they're merely tasks that we have to solve.
"Do you want to be a business leader?"
There will be countless unimaginable problems in business. Don't give up or get frustrated with the problem. Think of it as just a task that you can solve.
Whatever solution it may be, the one you choose is the answer.