This week's mega-inspiring #HerHustle interview is with Ju Rhyu, the founder of the cult favourite blemish-blaster Mighty Patch! Read on to discover the many hurdles the Hero Cosmetics team overcame when developing, launching, and growing their skin saving solution (including selling out within 3 months!).
What inspired you to start Hero Cosmetics?
I moved to Seoul, Korea for a job and was always battling acne breakouts possibly due to change in environment, pollution, and/or stress. I used to use benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid-based products but they would always turn my skin red, dry, and irritated. When I discovered acne patches in Korea, my first reaction was, "Why didn't I know about these patches ten years ago?" They absorbed all the pus from my zits and gently helped heal my pimples quickly and prevented me from picking and touching. I started to wonder why acne patches weren't available or widely used in the US. I knew they would do so well. So, I decided to start my own brand, make my own product and it became my mission to make Americans aware of this alternative solution that helped me so much and to also make it widely available.
What challenges have you faced since starting the non-toxic acne fighting product Mighty Patch?
A few things:
- Now that we're doing well and growing like crazy, we're seeing copycats out in the market. We saw a literal copy of our box of Mighty Patches that were made in China (I think it was a bad copy) and sold on Amazon. We're battling new competitors all the time so it takes a lot of playing offense and defense to maintain the integrity of our brand.
- Since we are growing so quickly, managing our cash is always tricky. Fortunately, we are profitable but with our fast growth we're spending a lot to maintain it.
- Maintaining inventory has also been a little tricky. We were out of stock of our Mighty Patch Original 3 months after launch because we didn't realize it would be a hit so quickly. Also, we manufacture in Korea and with manufacturing lead times, shipping times, clearing customs, we underestimated how long it all takes. We're still trying to find our rhythm but I think we've found it now.
"I don't really have a typical day. I think that's why I love being an entrepreneur so much. Every day is different. Entrepreneurs should dream big and have a bigger vision.
If not them, then who will?"
What does your typical day look like?
One thing about me is that I live and am based in Paris but Hero Cosmetics is based in NYC. I go to New York once a month for a week to see the team and take meetings. Otherwise, I'm working from Paris and working remotely. With the 6-hour time difference, I wake up to a slew of emails that I missed while I was sleeping. I eat breakfast (I always eat breakfast) with some coffee and then I start looking at and responding to my emails and do a few hours of work. I also look at how we finished the previous day's sales. I think it's important to have your finger on the pulse of the sales of your business. Then my official "work day" doesn't start until 3pm Paris time (which is 9am NYC time). So until then, I may run errands, go grocery shopping, work out, grab lunch with friends. After 3pm is when I take US-related calls, conduct team meetings, communicate with my team.
What was the worst piece of advice you've ever received?
I think the worst piece of advice was to go slow. Speed is part of this game so you have to go fast. I think you can go fast and be really methodical about it if you know what your goals and priorities are. Entrepreneurs should dream big and have a bigger vision. If not them, then who will?
Do you have any morning routines or evening rituals to help you stay balanced?
As mentioned, since I'm based in Paris, the 6-hour time difference could mean I work throughout the night. But I'm pretty strict with not taking calls or meetings after 8pm my time. That's when my office is "closed". I love a good bath at night with epsom salt. I read a lot before bed and my husband and I are always watching something on tv to help wind down.
What’s one skincare product you can’t live without (other than the Mighty Patch)?
I love my Biologique Recherche P50W Lotion. They're a Paris-based spa that's really well known for their skin treatments and, of course, their P50 Lotion has cult status. It helps with gentle exfoliation, which is so important in skincare! Since I live in Paris, I'm lucky because I can easily buy the products. They don't have wide distribution elsewhere.
If you liked this interview, you might like our recent interview with Taran Ghatrora, founder of Blume.