Toni Ko is entrepreneur, fashion maven, beauty guru, and the ultimate girl boss. After launching and selling your favorite drugstore beauty brand, NYX, she dedicated her skills to creating a line of affordable sunglasses that showcase a designer vibe. Introducing, PERVERSE. We took our chance to chat with Toni about her new venture and that business savvy brain to inspire all you other girl bosses out there!
What was your key to launching a successful sunglasses line?
The key to launching a successful sunglasses line, or any business in the consumer goods space, is to first identify a great supply source because without the supply, there is no business. The next key is building a rockstar team that believes in the product and is excited about the company. As for the entrepreneur his/herself, it’s imperative to stay sharp, focus on the goal and always stay hungry.
We are all too familiar with your previous cosmetics line (we love NYX!) -was it hard to give it up?
Words cannot describe the separation anxiety I felt during that whole process, but I really felt I was ready to let go and find balance in my life. We constantly hear about the importance of work-life balance, but it was after I sold NYX that I realized this is my life and this is my balance. I feel most the fulfilled and happiest when I’m working, which eventually led me to starting my second company. However, I think selling NYX to L’Oreal was the best decision I made for the brand. L’Oreal is truly the best custodian of the brand and I know they will nurture and grow NYX into a true global brand and I could not be happier or more proud of that fact.
How do you balance your business and personal life?
I thought I had to give up my work life to find my personal life, but for me, my work and personal life is so intertwined that they become one. It took me some time, but I realized that work life is my personal life. Now that I’ve accepted that, I find peace and happiness within that chaos and I LOVE it!
Where does your passion for fashion accessories come from?
I’ve always advocated putting your best foot forward no matter the occasion. Perhaps I adopted this mindset from my mother. For as long as I can recall, she has always taken special care of her skin, applied makeup, done her hair and carefully selected her outfit every single day. My mom is now 72 years old, but looks 20 years younger and still takes care of herself impeccably. I think it’s very important that we all do. I believe that caring about your appearance is a step towards improving yourself. I’m aware it may sound shallow to focus on someone’s outer shell, but if we take care of our inner self AND outer self impeccably, isn’t that better than just letting the outer shell go? My point is that improving inner beauty is a given, but let’s now add outer beauty to that mindset to make it better. Gorgeous accessories are like the cherry on top!
Do you have any plans for launching a new brand?
Yes! I just soft launched my new company, PERVERSE sunglasses on March 15th, but our big official launch will be at Coachella. PERVERSE is the official eyewear sponsor of Coachella and we’ll have a super fun activation center on the grounds of the festival. World, get ready to be PERVERSIFIED!
Do you have any advice for women entrepreneurs like yourself?
Absolutely! Here are my top four tips:
1. Stay solely focused on your goal. Everything else is just a noise.
2. Eat well and exercise to keep stamina. If you are tired or constantly sick, you won’t be able to outwork your competition.
3. Don’t ever settle for good enough. Good is the enemy of great (this is my favorite quote from the book Good to Great).
4. Don’t be afraid to bend the rules. Our greatest business minds have gotten where they are because they disrupted their industries. Rules are made to be bent.
Photo by David Zentz
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