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Summer Latino: “Beautiful from the inside out”

If you want to find beauty, find your happy. We have all heard the expression “beautiful from the inside out”. I get it. If you do good in the world, good comes to you. We all get down and go through hardships. The most useful people in this world are people who have gone through […]

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If you want to find beauty, find your happy. We have all heard the expression “beautiful from the inside out”. I get it. If you do good in the world, good comes to you. We all get down and go through hardships. The most useful people in this world are people who have gone through hardships. I’ve found when I connect to gratitude, it’s an instant lifting of my spirit. In Chinese medicine the body is all connected- body, mind and spirit. If you don’t know where to start, start by giving your physical body love. When you heal the physical body, your mind is more clear and you feel more connected to your spirit.


Asa part of our series about “Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Modern Beauty Industry”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Summer Latino- CEO and founder of Chi Works: an elite, herbal infused skincare and herbal supplement line. Summer has been in Chinese medicine for over two decades. She coached + supported tens of thousands patients and students, held 122 holistic wellness retreats. and hosted over 200 workshops & seminars.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Ihave been in Chinese medicine for over twenty years. A few years ago my bestie in NY styled the owner of Birchbox. I saw an opportunity to get my favorite “ancient Chinese secret” face cream out into the world. Except, their team didn’t see the branding as a fit. I asked Katia (founder of Birchbox) if she had any advice on branding…she kindly gave me inspiration.

Days later I had lunch with one of my favorite people, Bill Weiller. He invented the air purification system protecting the artwork of the world’s major museums (think Sistine Chapel). Bill has the golden touch and brilliant ideas. He mentioned companies where you can make your own skincare. He also told me not to get overwhelmed with the amount of things I would need to do to start my own natural skincare line. “Write a list of everything you need to do. Put timelines on everything. That way you can see where you need to put more focus.”

With everything I learned about the ingredients in everyday skincare, I became OBSESSED with making an elite formula using only “good for you” ingredients. I was inspired to develop a holistic wellness line of herbal supplements and natural skincare.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

I have a picture of it hanging in my office!

When I was in my 20’s, I broke my foot 10 days before a national kung fu competition. After 3 days of 2–3 acupuncture treatments daily, moxa, patches…EVERYTHING I knew Miyagi style to keep going, I fell into disbelief. Sitting on my bed with a tear in my eye, I said outloud, “I can’t do this.”

The phone rang. It was my Sifu. “Stop it. Stop it right now. You are going to win two gold metals and have a great story to tell your grandchildren.” …not only did I win two gold metals, I won them against men. Giggling thinking about it, I had a real life karate kid moment. I even did his famous crane-style move.

Kung fu has two meanings: always learning and young wood. With my skincare I took it to scratch learning every single ingredient. Young wood means you will last if you are flexible. If a strong tree breaks with the wind, it dies…but a young tree is flexible and moves with the elements. Both have served me well developing a natural skincare line from scratch. My preservative is Aspen Bark Powder. One of the coolest characteristics about aspens is they are all interconnected by roots. It’s kind of like all of us, our families, our world. When you heal the root of the problem, the symptoms go away.

Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?

My tipping point came when I started working with Rachael Bozsik. I met Rachael through a secret group of 120 brilliant women- Fran Hauser’s “Nice Girl Army”.

I was kindly told “no” (a second time) to my product from the Birchbox team…because of branding and packaging. I needed help, a lot of help…and I got it! Rachael helped me elevate my brand, and therefore my business, to a whole other level.

Passed down for 2,600 years through my Chinese lineage, there are 4 “Keys to Success”. Initiative, progressiveness, supportiveness, persistence. …Rachael gave me all four.

A fun note- I met Katia, Fran and Rachael all because my connection to the best celebrity stylist in NY, Sarah Rex (aka my bestie). She styles me for all my photoshoots, television appearances and seminars. It’s incredible the confidence you get feeling good in your clothes!

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I am so fortunate to have so many great mentors and remarkable friendships. There is one above them all, my dad. He is my superhero. He taught me I could make a career out of what I love. My dad taught me how to drive a boat, read a map, scuba, help your neighbors and friends, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all”, to ride a bike, catch fish, find my way when I got lost, to enjoy nature, and how to have fun and travel the world. On top of unconditional love, he taught me adventure and hard work pays off. The biggest thing he taught me- how to be happy. I’m a daddy’s girl for life! Love you dad!

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. The global beauty industry today has grown to more than a half a trillion dollar business. Can you tell us about the innovations that you are bringing to the industry? How do you think that will help people?

People are starting to realize what they put on their skin gets absorbed into their bloodstream. My intention is to take my muse of a 2,000 year old ancient Chinese skin rejuvenating formula and bring it to life with every single ingredient being incredible! I made it every day for over a year until I found the golden formula.

Chi Works is innovating the beauty industry by uniting ancient healing and modern life. On top of infusing Chinese herbal knowledge into skincare, one of the most recognizable facets we do is use aloe instead of water. Look at any skincare and water is the first ingredient…seriously go look. If water makes up the largest majority of your product, image what replacing water with the “plant of immortality” will do for your skin.

A long time ago my teacher told me, “If everyone in the world felt a little bit better, could you imagine how much better the world would be?”. Our skin is our largest organ on top of being the largest breathing organ. The love we put on our skin shows in more ways than soft skin, anti-aging and hydrating. Combined with our herbal supplements, our goal is to make the world a better place through wellness and loving our bodies.

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the modern beauty industry?

Simple and easy- ingredient education, eco-friendly and cruelty free!

Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to improve the industry, what would you suggest?

The BIGGEST one- care about the people who use your product. A long time ago a man who took companies public told me, “40% is a good business plan, 40% is executing the business plan and 20% is if your product is any good.” That always bothered me. I have built business over how great my product is, a lot of hard work and making the next right move.

If I could implement positive movements in the beauty industry, it would be…

1. Care about the people using your product. Use ingredients that are good for them and most importantly stay away from questionable ingredients.

2. Use a beautiful rainbow of people in both marketing and people you employ. Be good to your employees.

3. Care about the environment. I want to make this world a better place for my daughter. There are an infinite amount of ways to do this.

You are an expert about beauty. Can you share a few ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”?

If you want to find beauty, find your happy. We have all heard the expression “beautiful from the inside out”. I get it. If you do good in the world, good comes to you. We all get down and go through hardships. The most useful people in this world are people who have gone through hardships. I’ve found when I connect to gratitude, it’s an instant lifting of my spirit. In Chinese medicine the body is all connected- body, mind and spirit. If you don’t know where to start, start by giving your physical body love. When you heal the physical body, your mind is more clear and you feel more connected to your spirit.

Here is the main question for our discussion. Based on your experience and success, Can you please share “Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Modern Beauty Industry”. Please share a story or an example, for each.

5 Things You Need to Succeed in the Beauty Industry

1. Connect with your intention. When you start don’t get overwhelmed with everything you need to do. Map out a time line of every project you need to get done. That way you can see where you are lagging behind and put energy there. …remember you don’t eat an apple in one bite.

2. Find your formulas and ingredients. Get a heat plate/stirrer, scale, measuring equipment, beakers and a commercial mixer. Commercial mixers go from $700-$250,000. I learned about them and found a new one on eBay for 80% cheaper than the mixer salesman quoted.

3. Branding is a MEGA huge deal. You can’t do a one size fits all. Get super clear on your target market. 99designs has incredible freelancers for logo, labels, style guides and websites. Look at different profiles, see which ones connect with you and your vision, and reach out to them for a quote. Negotiate.

4. Packaging is a whole crazy ride. Most places are 20,000 per sku. I googled “best cosmetic packaging”. I found the 1 who won 1st place internationally for their air pumps. Since mine is natural, that sounds like it would keep it fresh and happy! Here’s what I learned- my customers want glass, the process takes a good 6+ months and it’s super easy to screw up (I left out the very 1st ingredient of aloe on the ingredient list). I do have new branding so working on new packaging that is made from glass using windmills in Italy to power their production.

5. Don’t give up. Keep going. It’s crazy, it’s hard, it’s fulfilling. Whatever is your heart’s calling, there’s always a way to make your dreams come true. Work smart. Work hard. When you want to give up, let yourself feel however you feel, pick yourself up and write a list.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Be good to each other. Do 3,000 good deeds. Wake up in the morning and connect with 3 things you are grateful for and 3 things you want to happen (pretty sure I got that from Tony Robbins). Find a way to help and give back. Speak words of kindness. It’s OK to see the good in people, but that doesn’t mean you ignore the bad (experience talking). Slowly incorporate good habits while slowly decreasing bad habits- it will help make them last. Always be teachable. The ripple effect of your actions, both good and bad is your thumbprint in this world…be mindful of your words and actions.

How can our readers follow you online?

My website chiworks.com has several links…my fave social media is Instagram (@drsummerlatino), there is a happy, simple wellness quiz and my youtube has some fun chi gong and meditation practices.

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

Thank you so much for the opportunity! I wish everyone success, love and happiness!

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