From working as a corporate attorney to becoming a mom of two, Susie Yoon created Skinesque out of necessity: cruelty-free Korean skincare for the busy, modern woman. With products sourced out of an exclusive relationship with esteemed laboratories in Korea, Skinesque carefully crafts to provide clinically-proven results for all skin types, making it dermatologist tested, non-toxic, and paraben free. As a female-founded and female-led company, Susie has advocated for clean and approachable Korean skincare as a lifestyle. Who doesn’t love gentle products that can be used everyday that are interchangeable for a.m. and p.m. routines?! I can’t wait to share Skinesque with you in this Kalon Queens interview!
Have you always known what you wanted to pursue?
I attended a college prep junior high and high school, and then went onto college knowing that I would enter law school after I graduated. It was a very planned route, but also one that I enjoyed.
When I left the practice of law and leapt into a completely different industry, it surprised a lot of people around me. However, this did not just come out of nowhere. I have always been passionate about proper and tailored skincare. When introduced to the technologies of South Korean skincare, as well as the different approach Korean women had toward their beauty and self-care regimen, I truly believed that sharing Korean skincare with our friends and family in the states was something I wanted to be a part of.
Who do you look up to?
My mom and grandma have always been really significant and impactful influences on me. They are a part of the reason why I pursued skincare so passionately throughout my entire life. As of right now though, I really look up to my kids, Juliet and Ethan. I learn new perspectives from them every day. Their tenacity at this age is so fun to watch and it really inspires me to keep pushing.
Other really big influences are Asian female leaders and women entrepreneurs in this industry. In a way, their wins are all our wins. It is an honor to be a small slice of the bigger picture that’s paving the way for businesswomen.
What advice would you give your teenage self? How do you take care of yourself?
Take it slow and steady. During our teenage years, we want everything to happen quickly–– instant gratification. Sometimes the best things come down the road when you least expect it. When things don’t always go your way, it’s usually for a bigger and better reason.
In terms of taking care of myself, I am extremely vigilant about not getting sick. I am a wife, mother of two, and I run a startup. Simply stated, no one has time to get sick!
I am trying to be better about getting a consistent amount of sleep (6 hours at the minimum, since 8 doesn’t seem like a reality for me at this point). Every morning, I start my morning with a warm ginseng/jujube cinnamon tea and every night, I take a medley of supplements.
What’s your favorite self-care practice?
I love taking small weekend trips with just my husband or with my family. Sometimes, I feel that we’re afraid to leave because the work just continues to pile—so much so that it’s almost stressful to think about taking a vacation (ironically). No matter what, though, when I do take those small trips, it is a big reminder for me to not miss out on the moments with my family. Being present with my kids and husband is always a great way for me to refresh/reboot.
Of course, it’s almost impossible to book a trip consistently, so I really do believe that masking in the morning–whether it’s 3 minutes with our Wake Up & Makeup Sheet mask or “divulging” in a 20-minute mask while doing school drop-offs is a form of self-care.
I also think food is a GREAT form of self-care. A good meal surrounded by good friends and conversation.
What’s next for you?
At this point in Skinesque’s growth, I am really focusing on perfecting the incredible teams that we’ve built. I feel that we’ve finally found our flow, we’ve got a great product family that I am extremely proud of, and we’ve got the best group of women working together. It took a couple years to achieve all those milestones, so now that we’re officially here, I want to take some time to soak it in and establish an even stronger foundation.
What do you think are the biggest issues Asian-American women face?
I think a big part of what Asian-American women face is underrepresentation and being lumped into one category (“Asian”) versus being celebrated for our individual cultures. I love that we are starting to see others be more mindful about representation, but in reality, not all Asians are the same and not all Asians look alike. I do believe we are moving in the right direction, though, so eventually, I hope that this issue will change and improve as well.
Do you have any favorite or must-read books or podcasts to recommend?
I have been really enjoying Hillary Kerr’s “Second Life” podcast and listen to it as soon as a new episode comes out. As a person who diverted drastically from one career to another, there’s so much to relate to. Another podcast I love is the “How I Built This” podcast from NPR. It’s definitely not new, but it’s popular for a reason. Anything that Guy Raz hosts is a winner in my book. Speaking of books, Pachinko by Min Jin Lee is a book I recommend to everyone. It’s beautiful, heart-wrenching, painfully relatable and written by a Korean-born female author. I finished it in one sitting while on a flight to South Korea, completely disregarding my need for sleep. It’s truly a book you won’t want to put down.
Interviewed by Katie Lam: firstname.lastname@example.org // Use code KML20 for 20% discount.