Three years ago today, I created TONIC15 under the tagline: ‘K-beauty 2.0: Korean Beauty Made Simple’. Over these past three years, there have been so many obstacles and challenges to navigate as a small company. At the same time, with the help of our community, friends and customers we were able to get to where we are now.

So how did it all begin?

Before TONIC15, Korean beauty in the UK and the European market was only represented as the 10-step skincare routine, and snail mucin depiction either. I wanted to show that Korean beauty is also about innovative ingredients and formulations as well as beautiful brand stories and philosophies that both equate to glowing, happy, gorgeous skin. Out of this TONIC15 was born and we were ‘Korean Beauty Made Simple’.

Curation is equally an important part of our brand story. I was born and raised in the Korean beauty industry so bringing brilliant Korean brands to the international market and translating their unique brand stories is both my passion and my area of expertise. For every brand we bring onboard to TONIC15, I do extensive research and testing - from studying the story behind the brand to meeting the teams and understanding the science and the ingredients that go into each and every one of our products on offer. Ensuring we curate quality products is something I will never compromise on.

TONIC15’s philosophy is also deeply rooted in self-care. As someone who is always on-the-go (blame it on my Korean blood!), burn-outs are inevitable. I found myself unable to take a day or even a few hours off. So, in an attempt to bring balance back to my life, I started dedicating 15-minutes towards “me-time” every day, which was short enough that it didn’t feel like a burden. This self-care started to improve the quality of my life so much that I wanted to pass the message on to others. I included 15 in our company name in the hope of driving home this simple concept of taking just 15 daily minutes to look after yourself.

Navigating the bumps along the way

There have also been challenges. As a small business, the global pandemic and lockdowns reduced the size of our wholesale business. We faced long waits for both stock deliveries and when delivering orders to our customers. Then, Brexit complications mean that at one point, shipping to our EU customers was nearly impossible. However, with the support and love from our community and customers, we were not only able to grow twelve times from the previous year, but also expand our presence to Europe.

What’s more, the Black Lives Matter and Stop Asian Hate campaigns made us realise we have to work harder to make the beauty industry a more diverse place. We launched our internship for BIPOC and also created the 15 programme to support the growth of a diverse army of content creators who can share their voices and tell stories close to their hearts. It’s a longterm project and we will be working harder on this.

Now, where are we heading?

We’re keen to be a kind company – kind to ourselves, kind to others and kind to the planet. In light of this we’re expanding our conscious beauty category. The first step was our recent exclusive launch of Deviant Skincare, a UK-based brand. We are also working harder to become more sustainable. Currently, we’re in the process of making our packaging eco-friendly and are proud to work with who really push themselves to do more when it comes to sustainability.

I truly believe that without your support and tremendous love, TONIC15 wouldn’t have survived the bumps along the way. It’s you, the customer, who inspires us to be better and kinder, and we will always be grateful for the kindness that you’ve shown us throughout these past three years. The TONIC15 Team and I are truly thankful for all your support and love.

To show you just how much we do appreciate you all we’ve created a special promotion.