Name: Alice Kim
Location: Honolulu, HI
Education: Rhode Island School of Design (BFA, jewelry), Parsons School of Design (AAS, Fashion Marketing)
Job title: Founder of Lash Card
What she does: Living in New York equals a constant, on-the-go lifestyle, which also means never having enough time to go home and freshen up before going back out again. A New Yorker, AIice Kim became obsessed with time-saving beauty tricks so that she would look presentable from 7 am to midnight. “The business card trick, aka Lash Card, was an old makeup artist trick that was used to prevent mascara smudging and clumping,” says Alice. “I made my own DIY Lash Card out of index cards, and people would stop me in the bathroom asking me where they can purchase it.” After giving enough impromptu tutorials, Alice realized that her trick could be turned into a business. That’s when she founded Lash Card, the company that produces disposable mascara guards.
How she got her gig: Before she recognized her passion for great on-the-go lashes, Alice was always a fashionista, which led her to work as a jewelry designer for brands like Forever 21, Macy’s and Claire’s Boutique. “I enjoyed the artistic process of creating something beautiful, but yearned for something more. I knew that I always wanted to start my own business, but wasn’t sure in what yet,” says Alice. She decided to take time off and head to Asia so she could learn about manufacturing and the business side of the fashion industry first hand. After returning to the U.S., Alice went back to school to study Fashion Marketing. Her hard work paid off, and she ended up working for top brands like Calvin Klein, Mulberry, Aeropostale and Club Monaco. Still, Alice didn’t feel completely satisfied with the course of her career. “I studied the market and realized that there were not many companies focusing on beauty products that were convenient and time efficient for the everyday female,” says Alice. “I decided to quit my corporate job to start my company.”
Jane of all Trades: To save on costs, Alice does all of her own sales, PR, marketing, and everything in between. “The work is busy and hectic, but I enjoy every minute of it and can’t see myself doing anything else,” says Alice.
Live in the Moment: When something isn’t working, Alice acknowledges that she has to be flexible with changing her plans. Often times this requires making an on the spot decision – and not feeling afraid to do it.
Wigging Out: The most memorable change that Alice made happened exactly one year ago, when she was standing in line for the Open See interview at boutique department store Henri Bendels. The Open See is Henri Bendel’s version of American Idol for new products. Hundreds of vendors stand in line for an entire day to meet with the buyer who picks only a select few products to feature in their store. The interview is intense, with many vendors are sleep-deprived, nervous as a result of waiting in line since 5 am. “While I was waiting in line rehearsing my pitch, I felt like something was still missing. I was competing with so many other products, so how was Lash Card going to stand out? It was then that I remembered a friend had given me a pink wig as a joke, the pink wig color was dyed to match my logo color. Surprisingly every time I wore that wig the response was positive, who doesn’t love someone in pink hair?” says Alice. “I asked my friend to run back to my room, grab the wig and bring it back to Henri Bendel. I wore the wig and confidently went in to pitch to the buyers.” The moment Alice entered the room, there was an eruption of laughter. “People were smiling, laughing, and even touching my wig inside the conference room. The buyers loved the overall presentation, and Lash Card was accepted into the Henri Bendel lineup on the spot! “To this day, I still wear the pink wig to select events for Lash Card. Some of my customers recognize me from my pink hair, and it has become something that really sticks with the Lash Card image,” says Alice.
This job’s for you if: you have “patience, perseverance, and adaptability. Entrepreneurship is an emotional roller coaster ride with intense highs and lows,” says Alice. “Making good contacts and being efficient with your time are also characteristics that will help smoothly transition your company to the next level.” Also, occasionally wearing a pink wig certainly doesn’t hurt!