Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Peach & Lily‘s CEO Alicia Yoon. I’m sure many of you know I’m a big believer in taking care of your skin. I’ve always stated that ‘No amount of makeup can cover up bad skin’. This is one of the reasons why I believe investing time into finding the right skincare products for you is an essential process.
As of last month I have officially become a Peach & Lily Ambassador. Peach & Lily is an online store that focuses on curating a perfect skin routine tailored for each individual. Today I had the honour of interviewing Alicia Yoon, the founder and CEO of Peach & Lily. Let’s take a look at what what we got up to in those 10 minutes
1. What inspired you to start Peach & Lily?
Alicia: Growing up in Korea, skincare was a regular part of self-care, but it was only when I was 18 and happenstance started going to esthetician school that I became completely immersed in the world of skincare. I spent a lot of time experimenting with products, learning about ingredients and digging into how various formulations worked. This stayed a hobby of mine for the next twelve years or so until I started Peach & Lily! The immediate trigger in starting Peach & Lily was when I was a consultant for large beauty brands while at the Boston Consulting Group, one of the cosmetic chemists remarked in passing that Korean beauty products had some of the most innovative formulations. That caught my attention as I thought perhaps I gravitated towards Korean beauty because of my background, but hearing a scientist in the US tell me this, I felt this urgency that these amazing Korean beauty products needed to be available Stateside asap! So I started the company in 2012 to make the best of Korean beauty widely available here in the US.
2. Why is the Korean beauty regimen different to the normal regimen?
Alicia: Korean skincare philosophies focus on prevention and long-term results; therefore, products and application ends up being gentler, less stripping, and there’s less need for immediate dramatic results. There’s a huge focus on consistency and achieving truly healthy skin, which takes place over time and good skin habits — and importantly, extreme personalization of the routine. This ends up in regimens that might have more steps because each step is supposed to be gentle on the skin, and the steps can be quite personalized. For example, double cleansing versus cleansing in one step is commonly thought to be better for skin because it gently removes the oil-based impurities first without tugging and pulling, and that’s followed up with a gentle water-based cleanser that gets the residue off. The serums, ampoules and face oils step (which comes after cleansing, toning and applying essence) is typically quite customized for specific skin types and skin needs at that particular time of year or stage of life.
3. How is Peach & Lily different from other online stores?
Alicia: It’s hard to compare ourselves to other online stores without knowing too well what other online stores offer. What I can say is that we’re extremely careful about our curation — it takes many months for us to vet brands by visiting the company and understanding their commitment to quality, by focus-group testing products, and assessing how efficacious and thoughtfully formulated the products are. We’re also incredibly committed to helping our customers really find the right products for their skin type and needs. We offer complimentary skin consults where only our in-house licensed estheticians are allowed to answer customer questions about skincare and product recommendations. This was a big investment for our company, but I believe this is critical for customers to see real improvement on their skin — and I think it’s important for experts to be on-hand to help. It’s so easy, all you need to do is email email@example.com and an esthetician gets back to you with really personalized responses. It’s a real esthetician, a real person, you’re speaking to about your personal skincare needs, which i think is pretty special. We also have Peach Points which is our customer rewards program where you’re earning cash to shop Peach & Lily as you shop. And finally, we also have our brick-and-mortar stores in Macy’s — one in Flushing, NY and one in Santa Anita Westfield Mall in the Macy’s there. There’s nothing like seeing and feeling the products in person, and in Flushing, you can even get your skin analyzed by our skin imaging device, so those stores are something that offers our customers an offline and online experience at once for those who are in NY and in the LA areas!
4. What’s your favourite product from your store and why?
Alicia: So many to pick from! Currently, these Shangpree Gold Black Pearl Hydrogel Eye Masks (https://www.peachandlily.com/
5. How has korean beauty regimen changed your life personally?
Alicia: I’ve always struggled with eczema. The Korean beauty regimen helps me keep my skin healthy as best as I can. And starting Peach & Lily has been all-immersive, so K-beauty in general has definitely shaped my life through working on this business!
6. What does skincare mean to you?
Alicia: Skincare is a form of self-care. I don’t think it’s a vanity thing where it’s about looking pretty or chasing some beauty ideal. It’s understanding that skin is your body’s largest organ that should be cared for in the same way you might think about oral hygiene or a good fitness plan. I feel empowered and healthy when I’m taking good care of my skin — and the radiance is rewarding because it’s something that is achieved over time and with consistency. In general, in the same way being on top of your life makes you happy, for me, knowing that I’m empowering myself with knowledge about how to care for my skin then actually applying what I know to be good for my skin makes me pretty happy.
7. How has the response to Peach & Lily’s #AskLily segment been?
Alicia: It’s been really positive! People do want to know more about how to care for their skin — but sometimes it can be overwhelming. So people really respond to the fact that there are experts on hand to provide the guidance needing in learning about how to best care for their skin. Our estheticians are really amazing and I’m really moved when I see that they genuinely care about our customers and providing the right guidance. Our estheticians are not currently commissioned, so their motivation isn’t to sell product; it’s really to help. We screen carefully for this quality and I think that’s why the feedback we get for our #AskLily program is so consistently positive!
8. How do you hand select the products that go into your store?
Alicia: We do a lot of work in Korea to make sure that we’re staying on top of trends and finding the best. That’s the first step. This involves near-monthly trips back to speak to the top dermatologists, estheticians, spas, makeup houses, makeup artists, celebrities, consumers, editors (long list!) to keep our finger on the pulse. Things move fast in Korea, so this is a constant activity for us. Then, it’s meeting each brand and speaking to their executive teams and understanding their philosophy and commitment to quality. Then there’s a Stateside focus-group testing of the products. The cut-off for what ratings are required is high. All of this can take many months, so it’s a long process, but it’s worth it to make sure everything is vetted and only the very best is offered to our customers!
9. Was there anyone that inspired you to invest in improving your skin?
Alicia: My momma…and my grandma! ; )
10. What can we expect to see in the future from Peach & Lily? (any growth plans etc)
Alicia: We’re hoping to have more brick-and-mortar stores so that more people can enjoy the offline + online experience, and of course, our own sheet masks are launching soon. It took three times longer than expected to formulate because we were extremely picky about what we wanted included and excluded, but it was worth the wait. You know a product is good when you keep reaching for it over and over again, and now that I have our sheet mask samples that will soon launch, I’m addicted. I can’t wait for them to launch and to share them with you all!
That’s all for today with Alicia Yoon – CEO and founder of Peach & Lily. I hope you enjoyed the read of the interview and feel free to comment below and let me know if you too experience skin concerns! Next up I will review my favourite picks from Peach & Lily ! Can’t wait to share them all with you!