Daisy Jing struggled with acne all her life. She spent thousands of dollars on products that promised to work, but that all ended in disappointment.
Then one day, Daisy stumbled across a YouTube video of an Asian Girl in her twenties discussing the products she used, and how she used them. Daisy had never heard of these products, but took a chance and purchased them. Her skin began to clear up.
Through Daisy’s struggle, the concept for Perfect Beauty was born. Perfect Beauty, while still in design phase, will be a “community for women to have positive self image advice. Women will be able to have a voice into what products work or don’t work.”
“Right now there’s a ton of advertising that misleads you about products,” said Jing. “The right products can transform you, but there’s a ton of stuff out there. I want to tell people what works and what doesn’t.”
Jing tried to communicate her beauty product recommendations to the YouTube community as early as 2008, by uploading a self-recorded product review. She deleted it shortly after, because she was terrified of putting herself out there – what if someone actually found it?
But the foundation was laid for Perfect Beauty, and her belief – that user recommendations about beauty products are more accurate and beneficial than advertisements about the product – kept percolating.
Two years later, Daisy graduated from college, landed a job in consulting, and moved to San Francisco. It was there that Perfect Beauty, as it is today, began to take shape.
“I went to a lot of startup meet-ups. I saw the entrepreneurial community [in San Francisco] and I was like, ‘hey, why can’t I do this?’ Creating a YouTube was one way to share with others what my favorite products were, but I wanted it to be scalable. That’s when I decided to create my website. And then I made it happen.”
Of course it wasn’t exactly that simple. Just like what it takes for women to get ready, the final image looks effortless, but it takes several steps to get there.
Daisy’s First Step
In order to vet her idea, Daisy entered a pitch competition and pitched Perfect Beauty to a roomful of investors.
“It was really scary because I had never done a pitch or anything. It was definitely nerve-wracking because I had to Google everything. I typed phrases into Google:
‘How to create a financial statement.’
‘What is an MVP?’
‘What should you code in? Java or PHP?’
I had no connections to investors or venture capitalists so I Googled ‘Questions a VC may ask you.’ I ended up with a 12-page document with questions that VCs might ask, and I wrote down answers in order to prepare. I printed out almost 200 pages of publications about Yelp, internet monetization, competitive strategy, customer acquisition costs, etc. and read them all on my flight to New York.”
Although she didn’t win the competition, the investors’ positive feedback let her know she was onto something. What’s more, the experience gave Daisy the confidence she needed to continue.
Daisy’s Second Step
At that point, Daisy decided to approach the project from a different angle. In order for her website to be successful, she would need credibility. As she explained to me, “anyone can create a review site, but how will they know if you’re a trusted source? It’s all about the traffic.”
And so Daisy revisited the idea of posting videos on YouTube. This time, she left up her videos, thinking to herself, “screw what others think. You only live once!”
It paid off. “I had people e-mailing me, saying how much of a difference my advice made to their lives. It was my ‘ah-ha’ moment. All of a sudden it became a personal obligation to keep sharing my feedback. I had people who were counting on me to put up my videos.”
The fear melted away, and Daisy began to promote her channel. Viewers responded with encouragement and tips of their own; a community began forming. Now, her combination of beauty tips, motivational monologues, giveaways, fashion advice, and life preparation videos, inspire dozens of comments from her devoted viewers, and have resulted in a thriving channel with almost 13,000 subscribers and upwards of 1.3 million video views.
Daisy’s Third Step
Armed with confidence from her YouTube channel, experience from her first pitch competition, and passion about her vision, Daisy recruited a team and applied to the Women 2.0 pitch competition.
Not only was she chosen as a finalist, but Perfect Beauty won the “Most Disruptive Product” award. The exposure and network she gained was a critical piece in moving her idea forward.
Daisy’s Fourth Step
Daisy couldn’t sleep, eat, or work without thinking about her idea, so she decided to move to Los Angeles to live with her parents. After all, paying premium for San Francisco rent wouldn’t help her bootstrap her company. She has since moved on from consulting and is now working at a fashion company doing online marketing.
On her nights and weekends, Jing works with a CTO to develop the Perfect Beauty website
“I want to bootstrap my company because I want to keep the vision-promoting, honest advice-giving intact. Therefore, I work full time and use my earnings to fund my startup. I have also found resources through the UCLA startup community, which has been tremendously helpful.”
Bootstrapping has its consequences, and certainly constitutes a lifestyle choice for Daisy.
“I do work a lot; if I’m not working my 9-6, I’m working on my startup. I do have to sacrifice going out, vacations, parties – things that a lot of 23-year-olds do. However, I love what I’m doing and that I’m making a difference in peoples’ lives. And there’s nothing I’d rather be doing than that.”
Daisy’s Final Step
Perfect Beauty has already been launched in alpha version with visible traction and feedback. The full launch will be in September, for her subscribers.
Daisy’s Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs
- Don’t pursue something you’re not passionate about.
- Realize that nothing is an overnight success. Things take time so keep pushing along. It took some of the best startups years and years before they became popular.
- Finding the right team to work on your startup is analogous to dating. You need the right match of skill sets, the right tolerance for risk, along with passion, and a time commitment. It’s better to be single than to be in a bad relationship, so choose who you work with wisely.
- Surround yourself with as much positivity as you can. There will always be people who don’t take what you have to say seriously, so find those who believe in you, and your vision.
Interested in learning more about Perfect Beauty?
Perfect Beauty Website: http://www.yourperfectbeauty.com
Perfect Beauty YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/daiserz89
Perfect Beauty Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/daiserz89
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