Chrissy & Nicole: “We think it is important for women to create businesses that they can be proud of. Many doubt their abilities but there are so many talented, smart and creative women who no doubt could rule the world. It also empowers our daughters, cousins, friends and the youth to look up to boss babes and know they can do it too!
Veronica: “Why shouldn’t they? Women are incredibly creative, adaptable and nurturing. They tend to set up business structures where others can grow and reach their potential resulting in a more successful enterprise.
As a part of our series about “Why We Need More Women Founders”, I had the pleasure of interviewing a diverse team of women who founded Aloisia Beauty with one shared passion: to create clean, effective skincare that delivers exactly what your skin needs to help you look and feel your best.
As the co-owner of a highly successful medical diagnostic testing device company importing and selling products from South Korea, Veronica Konecke became passionate about the philosophies, efficacy, and quality standards of Korean skin care after working with the country’s top manufacturers for over 15 years. She is thrilled to partner with one of Korea’s leading skin care labs to develop skin care products for Aloisia Beauty. “We created Aloisia Beauty to embrace healthy, high-quality skin care as an affordable luxury.”
GG Benitez is a leading public relations expert at the helm of her own agency. Her dynamic background also includes a highly successful career in pharmaceutical sales and the launch of a notable fashion line. As part of the founding team, she unites her deep expertise in advocating for brands with a personal obsession for healthy self-care to help build Aloisia Beauty from the ground-up. “Taking Aloisia Beauty from concept to an in-demand skin care brand has been one of my most exciting endeavors.”
CHRISSY KLING AND NICOLE LEVINE
With a shared passion for forging relationships through strategic marketing, sisters Chrissy Kling and Nicole Levine have built one of the most unique agencies known for connecting brands, celebrities, and consumers. Their deep-rooted experience in the fashion, celebrity, wellness, and marketing worlds has led them to help shape the Aloisia Beauty brand. “Creating clean beauty with a purpose that withstands the test of time and allows consumers to feel good about their skin is a dream!”
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?
“What led me to this particular career path started out as a summer marketing internship at a fast-growing Biotech company after college! My plan was to go to Law School, but this opportunity quickly changed the course of my career and my life. I continued with the company, quickly learning, and working my way up to an executive sales position. I participated in every stage of a product’s life cycle, from working closely with R&D, Quality Control, Manufacturing, Regulatory and eventually overseeing the Sales & Marketing Departments. As Sales Director, I worked with companies such as Pfizer, Bayer, Abbott and others where I learned first-class business practices and contract negotiation skills. I eventually shifted to owning a Medical Device wholesale distribution company with my husband where we focused mainly on importing and marketing Medical Devices primarily manufactured in Korea. This path eventually led me to meet the people that would introduce me to K-Beauty and ignite my passion for skincare.”
“After graduating from UCSD, I found a long, successful career in pharmaceutical sales, where I called on doctors from all different fields, having to understand and be able to clearly communicate the features, benefits and differentiators or my company’s offering vs. competitors. Although I loved the sales aspect of my job, I did NOT enjoy having a boss, and ended up founding a clothing brand with my best friend that we landed in Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, and dozens of boutiques nationwide. Through my experience of handling our PR, I found my passion and decided to start my own PR company in 2008, which I am continued to head up. I enjoy helping brands share their story with their audiences through the media, as well as through celebrities and influencers, and now I’m able to do that with our Aloisia Beauty, as well.”
“My career path has taken me through many windy and curvy roads leading up to this moment. From working with a famous celeb stylist in the early 2000’s to designing a cotton basics and ready-to-wear clothing line with my sister Nicole, then coming full circle opening our agency Good Carma Studio in 2008. Branding and marketing is our passion and allows us to help our clients create their vision for success. Relationships are extremely important to us and creating strong ones throughout the years with people who at any point you can create magic with is imperative. GGBPR owner and our strategic partner came to us and introduced us to Veronica, and we met for coffee to discuss Aloisia Beauty, and we never looked back. It was a relationship that was meant to be and a team we knew was the perfect fit!
“My background has many facets that I have been so fortunate to experience and implement into my current endeavors. From going to makeup school for film and tv to working at a product placement agency then designing clothing in my 20’s allowed me to put my marketing background to work. It is with that experience that enabled me to join my sister at Good Carma Studio as co-owner building brands. Joining the Aloisia Beauty team has allowed me to truly tap into my love of design and branding.”
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
“The most interesting story is the realization that everything in my career path had actually been preparing me for this moment. Every failure and every success has taught me something that I can apply here.”
“The most interesting story is that I am back doing what I have always been obsessed with since I was a little girl: understanding ingredients in products, and what their benefits are. I used to read medication and vitamins’ package inserts obsessively as a little girl, and now that is a huge part of what I enjoy learning about with Aloisia Beauty.”
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
“Going back to the biotech company where I started, I am grateful to the founder of that company, Dr. Robert Chang. He was a great mentor and placed a great deal of trust in my abilities. He took the time to explain different aspects of the business starting from the manufacturing, supply and the importance of building strong and long-lasting business partnerships with your customers. All of these lessons have been helpful in building Aloisia Beauty.”
“I’m genuinely grateful for my partners, Veronica, Chrissy and Nicole. I cannot imagine wanting to work with any other people on this brand! In addition to being smart, hard-working women, everyone on our team has a good heart, and that drives us to continue to care about each other during this experience.”
“I worked for a celebrity stylist who will remain nameless as an intern in college. I was treated so poorly one day while at a celeb’s house dressing her for an award show. It was at that moment of him calling me names for no reason and being unkind that I decided the importance of treating everyone we work within a respectful and understanding manner. It was a moment of empowerment for me to dig deep and find the boss inside of me. It has allowed me to lead my companies in a way that allows everyone an opportunity to learn and grow from all the experiences while on the job. It was also a moment of creating boundaries so that one’s talents are not taken advantage of and confidence wasn’t destroyed.”
“I am so grateful to my dad for all he has shown me in creating a solid business, nurturing working relationships and really understanding that NO is not the END. You can ask for something and think big and outside of the box and the worst thing some can do is pass or jump in and collaborate. It has been the best lesson as it allows me to push through big ideas and not being fearful of the outcome. “
Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. According to this EY report, only about 20 percent of funded companies have women founders. This reflects great historical progress, but it also shows that more work still has to be done to empower women to create companies. In your opinion and experience what is currently holding back women from founding companies?
“Of course access to capital and societal hurdles hold women back from founding companies. But personally, I can attest to fear being the greatest holdback because with so many startups failing in the first year of business. Founding a company is a daunting undertaking, but you just have to persevere and push forward.”
“I believe that women still aren’t taken seriously enough in business. I am intent on changing that with whomever I come across.”
“I feel that FEAR holds us back and taps into our insecurities but the time is NOW. It is time to create, build and show the world that we are capable of great things. Women run households with multiple children, pets etc. and still manage to get shit done! This is proof that any woman can create what they set their mind to. Shine bright!”
“I agree with Chrissy that fear can stop you in your tracks, and it is so important to empower women to create, stand tall and not be afraid to succeed in business. Men have always been the breadwinner and made more in the workplace but as of today we have been able to push down walls and surpass the executives that we never thought we could.”
Can you help articulate a few things that can be done as individuals, as a society, or by the government, to help overcome those obstacles?
“Provide access to capital is critical as well as providing opportunities for women to network with others that have been successful in launching their own companies. Building connections and learning from other entrepreneurs is such an important part of your success. “
“Check yourself when dealing with a woman founder. Ensure that you are communicating with her as you would with a man in the same business. Be aware of how you treat women, and understand, WE MEAN BUSINESS!”
This might be intuitive to you as a woman founder but I think it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you share a few reasons why more women should become founders?
“Why shouldn’t they? Women are incredibly creative, adaptable and nurturing. They tend to set up business structures where others can grow and reach their potential resulting in a more successful enterprise. “
Chrissy & Nicole:
“We think it is important for women to create businesses that they can be proud of. Many doubt their abilities but there are so many talented, smart and creative women who no doubt could rule the world. It also empowers our daughters, cousins, friends and the youth to look up to boss babes and know they can do it too!
What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a founder. Can you explain what you mean?
“That building a business is easy. Building a successful business means late hours, working in all departments of the company, blood sweat and tears and hard work. It is important that communication is integrated throughout all you are doing especially with many personalities between partners and associated. “
Is everyone cut out to be a founder? In your opinion, which specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful founder and what type of person should perhaps seek a “regular job” as an employee? Can you explain what you mean?
“I don’t think everyone is cut out to be a founder. Just like not everyone is cut out to be a research scientist. Yet, you both need each other to be successful. A few character traits that I’ve seen in founders is certainly drive and passion, but also adaptability and perseverance, vision and fearlessness. “
“No, they are not. Each person has their own set of priorities, values, and dreams. And, we each have our own strategy to achieve our goals. Some prefer to work 9–5, others, such as myself, could never work in an office or for someone else. We are each individual, and our differences are what make the world whole.”
Chrissy & Nicole:
“Not everyone is cut out to be a founder, but everyone has the ability to thrive in a positive working environment. If the culture within the workplace is positive the outcomes could be phenomenal.”
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)
“1. Trust your instincts — I saw a tipping point in my career when I began to trust my instincts and the decisions that I made, instead of being afraid of failure. On two separate occasions, I have had to choose to change my career path because I was no longer fulfilled in that role. Each time, this was an extremely scary choice to make; but, on the first occasion, it led to me meeting my husband; and, the second led to the founding of Aloisia Beauty — two of my greatest experiences.
2. You don’t need to be the smartest person in the room- you just need to find the smartest people to collaborate with.
3. Do not be afraid to ask questions. Asking questions doesn’t lessen your credibility.
4. Pay attention to details.
5. Learn to delegate.”
“1. That there will be highs, and there will be lows. Somedays, you will secure something amazing and it will create such a positive vibe. Other days, there will be challenges that make you almost want to quit. Remember the highs to get through the lows.
2. That you will be working endlessly. There are no “weekends” when you are an entrepreneur.
3. That it takes time to turn a profit, and probably longer than you even expect.
4. That you need to learn every aspect of the business.
5. To learn how to communicate in a way that those you work with appreciate.”
Chrissy & Nicole:
“1. It’s ok to make mistakes
2. Relationships are everything –
3. Don’t be afraid to speak your truth or share your ideas
4. Be Bold
How have you used your success to make the world a better place?
“Along the way, we have had opportunities to work on programs where we have donated product and proceeds to breast cancer charities. Aloisia Beauty is still in start-up mode, but we have already promoted initiatives where we have donated products to healthcare workers in appreciating for their sacrifices during the pandemic. This is something that we plan to continue to expand on as we grow.”
“Yes. My daughter, Daniella Benitez, actually inspired my entire family to use our successes to help others by building homes for the homeless through a nonprofit she volunteers with, called Build a Miracle. You can learn more about her at DaniellaBenitez.com.”
Chrissy & Nicole:
“ Creating success has allowed us to give back and create products that can help others.”
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
“Support Small Businesses.”
We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
“Sir Richard Branson, after reading his autobiography in my early 20’s, has been a continuous source of inspiration, not only for his business savvy, but also for his spirit and humanity. “
“I would love to meet with Angelina Jolie. She is an artist, businesswoman, mother, and humanitarian. She inspires me with the legacy she is creating.”
“I would love to chat with @melrobbins and @garyvee @seancombs”
“I would love to chat with @garyvee @sheamcgee @jayshetty”
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.