Glow Recipe Founders on Building a Digital-First Brand

When Glow Recipe founders and co-chief executive officers Sarah Lee and Christine Chang are looking for new hires, there's one thing that's key — digital savvy.
The pair — whose K-beauty-commerce platform-turned skin-care brand incubator has grown triple-digits every year since its 2015 appearance on "Shark Tank" — look for natural content creators with a knack for telling stories via social media. "We were really born and based on an e-commerce business model all about curating the best of K-beauty innovations and trends," said Lee. "Connecting digital content and social is key. We think of every team member as a content creator — we love people who love to tell stories and share photographs of their skin-care journeys, and that is core to our growth strategy."
With Millennials serving as 71 percent of Glow Recipe's customer base, "it's especially critical for our talent to be digitally native," echoed Chang.
To that end, digital is a major component on every decision Glow Recipe makes — from product development and packaging to pop-ups.
It starts with the product — Chang and Lee choose concepts that will look good on Instagram, and design the packaging and formulations with texture and visuals in mind. "Packaging is digital-first," said Chang. "How will it look in her hand? In a flat-lay? How will she interact with it on social, with the bathroom selfie and the skin-care fridge?"
Content is another component to Glow Recipe's digital strategy — the brand is aiming to "lead the digital conversation," said Chang, noting that consumers are looking for "skin-tertainment." The brand finds trends from Korea such as "glass skin" and the "seven skin method — applying toner in seven layers to achieve a plumped, radiant effect — that they know will go viral with consumers, and create content on Glow Recipe's channels on how to incorporate the trend into a skin-care routine. After content around the seven skin trend went live, Glow Recipe routinely sold out of toners multiple times on its website for several months.
When it comes to making decisions, the brand often consults its consumers — for example, a Lee and Chang took to Instagram to decide where to build their next pop-up. Los Angeles was the resounding winner, and in September Glow Recipe set up shop at The Grove.
In closing, Lee reiterated that digital touches every aspect of the consumer experience with the Glow Recipe brand, keeping the following questions in mind at each point. "Is she inspired? Is she curious about what is going to happen next? Is she really excited? Is she educated? Does she feel like she understands everything about this product and the philosophy of the brand to be devoted and committed?
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