The Boss Babes Series - Toni Ko
We've all been there. You're stuck in a rut and you feel in need of some major inspiration to get going and take the next step to achieve your goals. Or ever feel like you just don't have what it takes? Fear no more! We took it upon ourselves to bring you some incredible insight and advice from one of our fave badass ladies, Toni Ko. Not only is she the founder of a brand we love partnering with, Perverse Sunglasses, but she's also the founder of a little makeup brand maybe some of you have heard of...... NYX Cosmetics anyone? Exactly. So sit back and enjoy as our content contributor Jocelyn Vega gets all the 411 from this girl boss.
JV: What made you want to start a business instead of working for a beauty company?
TK: Because, for a very simple reason, I know I'm super stubborn and I always knew I would make a terrible employee. I march to my own beat and I really really do not like others telling me what to do. It was natural for me to be self employed where I'm responsible for my decisions and actions.
JV: What were some challenges you faced when starting your business?
TK: I had the perfect formula to fail. Young, female, minority, English as 2nd language, college drop out, from middle class family with no MBA, no prior experience with executive position. No one, NO ONE would have imagined that I would make it and as matter of fact, I have some people tell me straight in my face that I had zero chance of success. But, I told you I was stubborn. :) I took every one of those negative comments and leveraged it to motivate me to work harder than anyone.
JV: How did your time management skills evolve from when you first started NYX to now that you own Perverse?
TK: I make a To Do list. I cross out the easy projects first then move on to harder projects. And it's basically multi-tasking 24/7.
JV: What does your typical morning routine consist of?
TK: unfortunately, I'm guilty of checking my phone the first thing on the morning.... I wake up between 6 to 6:30am, check my phone for e-mails and news then shower, get ready and off to work. It's pretty simple.
JV: If you could give your 20 something year old self one piece of advice, what would it be?
TK: Be more social. I'm a major introvert and always shied aways from events and industry gatherings. The thought of small talks and being in a room full of strangers was terrifying to me and gave me so much anxiety so I never went. Or when I did go, I avoided eye contacts and spent as little time as possible and I think a lot of people thought I was arrogant. The true reason was that I was scared and I was dying of anxiety inside. BUT, as I got older, I realised being "social" CAN be a learned and practiced trait. I feel much easier now and I wish that I would have forced myself to go to more events to practice from earlier age.
JV: What has been the greatest lesson you have learned during your time as a business woman?
TK: I think Steve Jobs said it the best and I don't think I have one better so I'm going to repeat what he said. " Stay Hungry". The moment you get too comfortable is the moment your business will start to slide. The only way to avoid that is to always be on your toes, always be on a look-out, continue to learn, always ask questions, always ask yourself, " am I comfortable?" And if the answer is yes, pivot and bounce back on your toes. It's not easy running a business creating and no one said it was. Be ready and be hungry.