Toni Ko and her Beautiful Journey to Success
Toni Ko, founder of NYX Cosmetics, is definitely one of the richest self-made entrepreneurs in the world, with almost all of her life dedicated to her passion for entrepreneurship. Though she already sold her company to the world’s most prominent beauty conglomerate, L’Oreal, she never stopped living up to her dream— to create business.Ko believes that she was born to be an entrepreneur, a product-person, and someone who transforms dreams into reality. And that’s where her story begins. Here is the inspiring journey of Toni Ko towards success that proves women are bound to conquer the limits through passion, hard work, and a happy heart.
Starting a business seems to be an innate thing for Toni Ko as her family runs a beauty supply chain. At the age of 13, her family moved to U.S. from Korea. Moving to another country was a difficult phase for Ko as she didn’t know the English language. Thus, she threw herself into learning, not just the language, but everything she could.
And to help the family business, she’d worked every after school, on weekends, and even on vacation— without pay. She admitted that she never had a summer holiday until she reached the age of 23. Well, her mother was a tough lady and a savvy businesswoman, but it was because of her mother’s impressive passion for business that totally pushed her to dream big. Eventually, she chose reality over the fundamentals and dropped out from Glendale Community College. She never finished her studies, but she was meant to succeed.
Discovering NYX Cosmetics
Armed with her formative knowledge because of her family’s business, it became easier for Ko to embrace the ins and outs of the cosmetic industry. By then, she founded NYX Cosmetics at the young age of 25. Yes, she was only 25 years old when she took the big leap and started her own business, with the help of the $250, 000 loan she got from her parents.
NYX Cosmetics got its name from a Greek goddess of night, ‘Nyx’. The company was a result of her curiosity to the lucrative gap in the cosmetics department. She wanted something that features department store makeups at drugstore prices. From then, her business was born. Though she is not new to the world of business, starting her own cosmetic line was definitely a no walk in the park. She managed everything, from RD to advertising. She admitted that she wore every hat, but she totally enjoyed every bit of her work.
It was her dream to create her own company line. She never wanted to be an employee because she knows herself too well. She revealed that she’d definitely make a terrible employee as her stubbornness and initiative often go out of the way. She hated being told of what she ought to do and not to do. That is why, founding her own business was a very significant aspect of her life. She did everything she could to make everything work yet still having that sense of independence to create her own decisions.
The first year of her business was quite positive as she had $4 million retail sales. It was a good start, and eventually, the company became one of the most sought beauty lines in the market. It reached its peak during the surge of social media, until such time she decided it’s time to let a new company handle her very first business venture.
Selling her Brand
When Ko founded NYX Cosmetics, her life mainly revolved around her company. She was used to living her life in her 600 sq. ft. building in California, brainstorming and creating new ideas. And when the day has come to pack things up and sell her brand to L’Oreal in 2014, she was completely untethered but devastated. She felt lost. Even if it was all part of her plans to sell the company to the world’s largest beauty line, L’Oreal, she revealed that nurturing her own line for 15 years, and then waking up one day with no place to go nor reason to wake up, was completely shattering. She was used to the fast-paced environment all her life.
But on the lighter side, she was happy that her business landed to a company whom she really respects in terms of top-of-the-line products, company ethics and employee care benefits. It was always her plan to sell her business to L’Oreal as she never wanted to build a legacy company. Her proceeds from the sales transaction was a whopping amount of $500 million. Her initial plan was to have an early retirement— go the beach, then drink margarita. But everything became too boring and that’s when she decided to venture a new business line, and start rediscovering the meaning of her life.
The Birth of Perverse Sunglasses
After two years from selling her very first company, NYX Cosmetics, Ko founded Perverse Sunglasses in 2016. As much as she wanted to stay within the cosmetic industry, there was a clause that prohibits her from engaging into such business for 5 years. So, she decided to pursue another business that’s still in line with her passion for beauty appreciation.
Ever since she was young, Ko admitted that make up and other beauty essentials have been a huge part of her life. So, it’s just fitting to start her life at 41 with her sunglasses business. And since her goals do not include building a company legacy, she just wants to give the best she could with her new line. Then sooner or later, she will sell her business again to some commendable companies. She dreams of selling three businesses in her entire working career. Now that she has sold one business, two more to go.
As of now, she is living her life with another business venture— sassy and stylish sunnies that are within the budget. Her new business focuses in creating products that look very sophisticated but at a fair price. Each pair of high-quality sun glass features bright colors and eccentric frame, with a price that ranges between $40 to $60 dollars. Perverse Sunglasses may be newfangled to the sunglasses industry, but Ko is never afraid to test the waters, and try something new. And being the official eye-wear sponsor of the renowned hip music festival, Coachella, for sure Perverse Sunglasses is on its way to stardom. From that, Toni Ko will be proving that she is definitely one of the most respected self-made entrepreneurs in the world.