Korean Beauty Hack Brought to US Market by Ju Rhyu, CEO, Hero Cosmetics

Play episode

Have you ever had an idea for a business or a product? If you are listening to this podcast, then the answer is most likely a resounding “yes!”

But here’s a harder question… What did you do next? Maybe you jotted some things down in a notebook, or even went as far as making a business plan. But again I ask, what did you do next? Did a few weeks roll by and you forgot all about it? Or maybe, like Ju Rhyu, you took a couple steps forward before realizing what a difficult and risky journey it would be.

“I was doing it by myself. It was very intimidating. I got intimidated by the amount of money that I realized I had to put in for the first PO. So then I stopped, I stopped and I took a job.”

Ju had a vision for a company she called Hero Cosmetics, but there were years between the birth of that idea and actually getting a business off the ground.

Ideas are plentiful. I’ve had them, and I’m sure you have, too. But what is that missing piece that keeps us and those like us from executing on these ideas and dreams? What was stopping Ju?

There is so much risk and so much to fear when you’re about to jump off that proverbial ledge into entrepreneurship. Ju felt that fear deep in her bones and it stopped her in her tracks. That’s not unique.

Main Takeaways:

  • Reasons to Have a Co-founder: Creating a business can be easier with support from co-founders. Sharing the many responsibilities of running a business — including financial obligations and time investment — can help you get more done quicker and on the road to success faster. Know what you need as a founder to get the project launched. Do you need someone there with you, sharing the burden? What part of the business is the most difficult that could be aided with another person coming on board? When you answer these questions and then act on your decision, you can start to bring your idea to life in real ways.
  • When to Expand: Knowing when to focus your company on a limited number of products and when to expand your offerings is key. You have more limited resources in the beginning stages, so every effort needs to be poured into a select few (or singular) products so that you can make it succeed. At some point you will need to expand if you want to grow, so being strategic when and how you do so is key.
  • Journeys Don’t Have to be Linear: It doesn’t matter what path you start out on, you can still find your way to becoming that successful entrepreneur. Even if you get handed a set of unfortunate circumstances, those can become learning opportunities and blessings in disguise. Learning how to reframe perceived difficulties and how to take the next step when you’re ready are two ways to help navigate an indirect journey.

Key Quotes:

“I got very easily frustrated by corporate America and the corporate structure and how things move so slowly, and you had to get 20 approvals for something, and they were slow to innovate, slow to adopt digital. 

I actually started on this acne patch product back in 2013 or 14 but I stopped. That was kind of like the fake launch of what would now be the Mighty Patch. I was doing it by myself. It was very intimidating. I got intimidated by the amount of money that I realized I had to put in for the first PO. So then I stopped, I stopped and I took a job.”

“Acne is so emotional and in a negative way, unfortunately, the category where people feel bad about themselves. I wanted something really positive and strong and something that made them feel good about the product and good about themselves, which is how we landed on Mighty Patch.”

“There was a pivotal moment in our journey where we launched our Mighty Patch and it was doing really well. Immediately I thought, we need a new product, and that product is going to be a mask. I met with my mentor to discuss and she said, ‘No, you should stick with patches, dominate patches. Do them in every shape, every size, every color. Dominate this niche.’ And I thought, you know what, she’s right. And so we scrapped plans for the mask [at that time.]”


Ju Rhyu, co-founder of Hero Cosmetics, has an illustrious career in business and marketing. She graduated with degrees from Brown and Columbia and spent time working in corporate America at Kraft and American Express. She then took an opportunity to live in Korea, and moved there to work at Samsung. While there she discovered the pimple patch, was amazed at its effectiveness and determined to bring the product to the U.S. She is now the CEO of Hero Cosmetics.

This season of the Journey is produced by Mission.org and brought to you by UPS. To learn how UPS can help your small business, go to UPS.com/pivot.


Episode 95