Before browsing the Soko Glam website, I can honestly say I didn't understand just how massive the world of K-Beauty truly is. There's an immeasurable amount of incredible skincare and makeup products with the K-Beauty stamp of approval just waiting to be explored on the site, and founder Charlotte Cho's quotes about bringing K-Beauty to the U.S. are so telling in terms of how hard it was for a now-so-popular branch of beauty to break into the American market initially. Cho is so much more than a ~girl boss~; she's a passionate entrepreneur who stopped at nothing to make her K-Beauty e-comm dreams a reality. Now, that reality is even more grand than she'd ever imagined.
With 102K Instagram followers and a thriving K-Beauty retail business, Soko Glam, Charlotte Cho looks like she won the dream job lottery based on a scroll through her social media posts. In reality, her success is the result of years of hard work and dedication, which were detailed in a profile for Bustle's latest Rule Breakers 2019 Issue. The journey began when Korean friends introduced Cho to the world of K-Beauty skincare routines, and Cho found herself hooked, not on the products themselves, but the overall concept of embracing your skin versus striving to look perfect. “I loved how the beauty standard was about skin, which everyone has, versus features like round eyes or a really high nose,” Cho told Bustle. “It was just 'skin is skin' — it doesn't matter what color or what age.”
With that, Cho made plans to start an e-commerce platform for all things K-Beauty, and her Soko Glam dreams were born.
As Cho detailed to Bustle, though, it was far from easy to get the American beauty sphere's attention. “When I first started speaking about K-Beauty, people assumed it stood for 'Kardashian Beauty,'” she said, adding, “I had to start from the ground up.”
“Everyone said that it wasn't going to take off,” Cho said. Fast-forward to 2019, and business is booming — there's even a Soko Glam pop-up store shoppers can visit IRL:
In fact, nowadays, you can't bring up anything beauty-related without a friend, shopping consultant, or bystander bringing up K-Beauty products or practices that will supposedly change your life. When Cho first started out, she said Americans didn't even know what the "K" in K-Beauty stood for, and it's now become a household term, thanks, in large part to her efforts, and Soko Glam's great curated offerings. "Back in 2012, when no one was educating and selling skin care online, Charlotte was determined to start Soko Glam, even in the midst of everyone telling her she would fail," Dave Cho, Soko Glam’s CEO, told Bustle. Looks like that mindset paid off.
If that's not an inspiring story, IDK what is! Cho put in years of work, and thanks to her, myself and others have been able to get our hands on K-Beauty products that have really changed the game:
Now, Soko Glam thrives as the largest K-Beauty site in America, and Cho has even created her own beauty brand, the oh-so-Instagrammable, periwinkle-packaged Then I Met You. Cho really is an icon in the beauty sphere, as well as an inspiring success symbol in terms of how much you can achieve when you ignore the naysayers and prioritize your end goals.