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Glow Recipe founders share career advice on starting a business

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Each week of Women’s History Month, we ask beauty founders to reflect on a memorable incident that challenged them to rehabilitate and helped shape their vision for running a business. This week we chat with the founders of Glow Recipe, Sarah Lee and Christine Chang. After meeting as interns at L’Oréal, they launched their top-rated sleep mask in 2017 and have since grown to a team of 40 (and growing!). Read on to find out how the founders embraced the power of delegation to grow their business.

When fruit-based skincare brand Glow Recipe was preparing for its first launch, their small team of six (including the two co-founders) had to meet big, really big demand. Before the Watermelon Glow sleep mask went on sale in 2017, 8,000 people eagerly signed up for its waitlist. Then, once released, it sold out seven times in the first few months of its availability. “There was a request from our community that we could not meet. We had to resolve our Sephora order request, while trying to manage other business functions,” Sarah Lee, co-founder of Glow Recipe, told Coveteur. “You can imagine the amount of work and the [limited] bandwidth we were dealing with between the two of us and a very small team.

Before launching a brand together, Lee and his co-founder Christine Chang rose through the corporate ranks from interns to executives at L’Oreal. Within a decade, Chang was the assistant vice president of marketing at Kiehl’s and Lee was the assistant vice president of marketing at L’Oréal Paris. After bonding over similar experiences and sharing beauty passions, they left L’Oréal in 2014 to create a K-beauty e-commerce marketplace, which laid the foundation for the launch of Glow Recipe three years later.

Given Lee and Chang’s background in the fast-paced beauty industry, they were comfortable wearing many hats. Before their first launch, the founders did everything from product development, to marketing and public relations, to managing customer service. But it quickly turned out to be overwhelming. “We thought we could handle too much on our own instead of delegating and finding people to help us in the early stages of growing our business,” says Lee.

For entrepreneurs, this is not an uncommon scenario – doing it all might seem like a prerequisite for founders. There is also the old proverb that says that you should not delegate any part of your business until you have mastered all the facets of it yourself. The expertise a founder can gain from it is obviously a win for the company, but the burnout it often engenders can derail any chance of growth. Basically, doing everything is in theory admirable, but doing too much is a trap.

“It’s so natural for you to want to be a part of everything because you’re so passionate about the company and the mission,” Chang says. “You feel like you’re the best and you want to be in control of everything, but as you grow you quickly realize how much help and expertise you need to keep moving down this path. .”

Despite the lack of delegation, the launch of Glow Recipe was a success and scaling the team quickly became a non-negotiable. “We realized how crucial it was for the business to find and hire the right talent for various roles,” says Lee. “As the founders of the company, we were taking so much.”

Today, Glow Recipe has a team of 40 people, including a senior executive who Chang and Lee joined last year. It wasn’t just about adding more seats to the table, it was about having a bigger table. “At first it was Sara and myself in a room trying to figure things out. But now more minds are coming to the table and our rockstar team is part of that brainstorming process,” Chang says. We are finding these solutions together and it has been really rewarding.”

As Glow Recipe’s in-house team has grown, so has its online community. “I remember when we started we had about 20 followers. It was a small but very engaged community,” Lee recalls. “Now we have over a million followers on Instagram alone. Seeing this is so gratifying and we don’t take this lightly.