This interview series features inspiring female entrepreneurs who have launched and run successful businesses. Through our peers’ experiences, we can learn practical lessons and insights to empower us on our entrepreneurial paths. Crucially, storytelling de-risks entrepreneurship so we believe it is an essential pillar in closing the opportunity gap for female founders.
Emilie Le on…
- Finding validation for your business idea
- Making mistakes takes you closer to finding the right method
- Giving voice to female ambition
Hello Emilie! Tell us a bit about you.
I’m Emilie Le and I’m the founder of Luckyface. I love Korean beauty, tech, photography, videography, music, startups and inspiring books!
And tell us more about LuckyFace.
My business is called Luckyface and it’s a Korean beauty startup. I founded it because I absolutely loved the innovative KBeauty products that were coming out of Korea after I discovered it in 2008.
I fell in love with KBeauty because you can get incredibly high quality, effective skincare products at really affordable prices. I couldn’t find KBeauty in the UK high streets so I wanted to bring more KBeauty trends to the West.
A lot of people ask me if it’s aimed at just Koreans or Asian people. Luckyface and KBeauty is totally inclusive and the products are suitable for all ethnicities.
What was the moment that everything changed for you? Describe that moment when you decided to fully commit to your idea and the first few steps you took to make it possible.
Everything changed for me after I held a pop-up at Blooming Founders’ networking event last September. Before the event, I had talked about the idea to a lot of people, but at that point, I didn’t have validation yet. I remember actually feeling quite anxious the day before because, in my mind, I felt like I had spent so many months working on this idea, talking to so many people, and then I felt this looming anxious thought of ‘what if I’m all wrong and nobody likes what I’m doing?’.
When I actually went to the event and met all the lovely ladies, I was able to see that there was so much curiosity around
What were the initial challenges you came up across and how did you overcome them?
Finding suppliers was tricky. There are minimum order quantities if you want good prices, and that’s tough when you’re starting out.
Learning about beauty regulations was another challenge. For any challenge that comes up, you just need to do your research and ask for advice from people in your network.
What was the first win that made you feel you were onto something?
I felt like I was onto something when I received reviews from some early customers. They personally emailed me to say they loved a particular face sheet that they received in my beauty boxes. To me, that meant a lot.
What has been your best investment?
My best investment is investing in myself and my skillset. I use my weekends to learn new skills so that I can create content myself. My DSLR has been invaluable to me over the years.
Have you made any mistakes or faux pas? If so, can you share them with us?
I don’t believe in mistakes. If something didn’t go right the first time, you now have the knowledge that that particular method didn’t work so you should then try another method. Mistakes guide you closer to the solution that will work better for you.
What’s been your greatest lesson you’ve learnt since starting your own business?
Starting a business is really difficult. You put in a huge amount of work and you don’t know if people even want what you’re offering. I’ve learnt that passion is so important. If you truly enjoy every part of building your business then you don’t even feel like you’re working.
I also learned that
Have you had any role models or mentors along the way?
I’ve been lucky enough to have great mentors throughout my life. Sometimes I lack confidence or I doubt my skills and my mentors boost my morale. My favourite mentor is Boel who I meet once a month. I’d like to give her a shout out because she is a great mentor who really pushes me in the business and supports me too!
What’s your experience of being a woman in the start-up ecosystem and what in your mind needs to change?
I love that there are more female venture capital firms. It’s great to bring more diversity to the world of VC. It is really important to have them because women understand women’s business better. Sometimes I find it difficult to explain my business to men because they might not have had the same pain points so won’t be able to fully understand my business solution. This is why we need more female venture capital firms.
I also think that as women, we are quietly ambitious and I think we need to be a bit more vocal in our ambitions.
Having strong, female role models is great but role models aren’t enough. If the road has multiple barriers, it’ll be hard to break through all those barriers alone. That’s why we need successful women who’ve made it to reach back and help other women and guide them too.
What books or podcasts would you recommend?
I’ve read countless business and personal development books so here’s a few of my favourites:
1) Lean Startup by Eric Ries
2) Hooked by Nir Eyal
3) Girl Boss by Sophia Amoruso
4) Purple Cow by Seth Godin
5) The One Thing by Gary Keller
1) Marie Forleo
3) Jay Shetty
4) Tom Bilyeu
5) TED Talks
What advice would you give anyone about to start a business?
Get validation very quickly. Stop talking about your idea and get to work showing people your idea.
How can readers get in touch with you?
Receive 15% off your Luckyface order by joining their mailing list.
Thank you Emilie! – Frankie & Lara
About the Author
Lara Sheldrake is an entrepreneur and co-founder at Found & Flourish. Lara writes and speaks on the topics of entrepreneurship, motherhood and social media for business. She also hosts the Bossing It podcast, aimed at empowering the next generation of female founders in the UK. Send Lara an email.
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