To beauty insiders, Charlotte Cho is an icon. And now thanks to the launch of her own skincare brand, Then I Met You, Cho’s business savvy is also getting its much-deserved time in the spotlight.
Named among WWD’s “40 Under 40” in 2017, Cho pivoted from public relations to beauty, when along with her husband she launched the e-commerce site Soko Glam, dedicated to all things Korean beauty. A firm believer in the power of rich content, Cho launched The Klog (an editorial sister site to Soko Glam), and published her debut book, The Little Book of Skin Care: Korean Beauty Secrets for Healthy, Glowing Skin.
The next natural step for Cho? Creating her own line of skincare, which she launched in mid-October of this year.
Named Then I Met You, the premium skincare brand consists of a two-step cleansing process, which includes the Living Cleansing Balm and Soothing Tea Cleansing Gel. As opposed to using terms like “quick and easy” as a selling point, Then I Met You’s ethos is all about the importance of taking one’s time, enjoying every minute of one’s skincare ritual, and “glowing deeper.”
The double cleanse process is inspired by the Korean concept of jeong, which Cho defines as “deep, emotional connections with people, places and things.” (Cho’s second book will dive deeper into the concept of jeong and is set for a 2019 release.)
When it come to Then I Met You, the devil — or better yet, the beauty — is in the details. Cho was deliberate and intentional about every decision when it came to the development and production of Then I Met You, from the bright yellow shade of the cleansing balm and periwinkle blue tone of the packaging, to the scent and ingredients of the products.
I spoke with Cho about her evolution from e-commerce and curation to skincare brand creator, why she’s pushing #SelflessSundays as a movement instead of #SelfCareSundays, and why she’s all about “glowing deeper” in everything you do.
Karin Eldor: Congrats on the launch of Then I Met You! What inspired the idea to develop your own brand of skincare?
Charlotte Cho: Thank you so much! In 2013, when Soko Glam was only a year old, everyone was asking me when I would develop my own products. I could have easily white labeled products and called it “Soko Glam,” but I wanted to take my time to do it right. In all, it took about a decade of testing, discovering new skincare innovations, getting my aesthetician license, and speaking to the Soko Glam community to understand how and what I would create.
I created Then I Met You because I reached a turning point in my life where I wanted to challenge myself to create beautiful formulations, with premium ingredients that would enhance my skincare routine. Another goal I had was ensuring that this luxurious experience would be available to the community, at an accessible price point.
Eldor: I love that you are intentional about everything you’ve done with Then I Met You and focused on creating less items but making them unique. Why was this important to you?
Cho: Intentionality is a major part of my philosophy with Then I Met You, because I believe you can create something meaningful and substantial if you take the time to go deeper.
One example of this is when I was making the Living Cleansing Balm: the cosmetic scientist I worked closely with cautioned me to use less of the sea buckthorn oils in the balm, because at the current formulation, the product would have to retail at around $150. But I persisted and made sure I created a cleansing balm that was to my highest standard, and gave me the experience and results I wanted. He didn’t know that we always intended to go direct to our consumers and cut out the middlemen (retailers), and that I would be able to price it so that my community could get access to premium quality without an exorbitant luxury price tag.