The savvy businesswoman talks about her schedule, her parents—and her penchant for shoes!
To some people, the mere thought of working with their family would be enough to send them running for the door. Faith Kim isn’t one of those people. Born and raised in Orange, California, Kim describes her Korean immigrant parents as her role models. “My dad grew up with no electricity, and he and my mom barely spoke English when they came to this country, but they’ve made huge successes of their lives,” she says.
From a young age, Kim was interested in pursuing a career in the arts or teaching, but she switched to a business major while at Cal State Fullerton, a move that proved pivotal. “In our final year, we had to create and present a business model to angel investors and venture capitalists,” explains the entrepreneur. Along with her mother, Jane, Kim had witnessed a growing trend in eyelash extensions and products, and she turned to the emerging industry as inspiration for her presentation. At the same time, using Kim’s hands-on graphics and website-building experience—plus some good, old-fashioned elbow grease—the mom-and-daughter duo gradually got a bona fide enterprise off the ground. “It started as a hobby. We never really thought that it would grow to what it is today,” recalls Kim. Back in class, when it came time to present, not only did she receive the highest grade, but the judges were keen to invest. “It was a good affirmation of moving forward with the business,” she points out.
However, the family turned down the resulting Shark Tank-style offer, preferring to keep things close to home. “We wanted to have more ownership, so we grew organically through our own funds,” Kim explains. Around 2004, the fledgling company was ready to launch. More than 10 years later, parent company JB Cosmetics—“JB” standing for “Jane Beauty”—now encompasses JB Lashes, LashFood and BrowFood. Kim’s responsibilities concern the creative side of the business, including product development and overall brand vision and direction. Her parents aren’t as heavily involved as before, and currently devote half their time to mission work, but their impact on their daughter’s life remains as strong as ever.
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Fighting against time. Hard work is important, but timing is everything, whether you’re launching a product or just managing your day-to-day schedule.
To what do you attribute JB Cosmetics’ success?
The people. Every single person here works with such passion and integrity. They’re just great, good-hearted human beings. Having that dynamic is key to the company’s success.
Who are your mentors?
My parents. I look up to them so much—they’re such wonderful, giving human beings. I realize as I get older how rare it is to just have people like that in one’s life—and it’s even rarer for them to be one’s parents. I feel so lucky.
What advice would you give to your younger, just-starting-out self?
Never give up. Take risks. Stay balanced. Always remember to give back. My parents are the most humble people I’ve ever met. My mom never spends money on herself, but when it comes to giving back she’s so generous.
Why are you such a big fan of natural ingredients?
My mom and I have extremely sensitive skin. But a product has to be effective as
well as natural. That was the revolution with LashFood—it doesn’t just work, it’s also made with natural, skin-loving ingredients.
How do you find a work-life balance?
It’s really hard. I sometimes pull all-nighters and even asked for a shower to be installed when our office was rebuilt. But one thing I really want to do is to be home for dinner. Even if I still have work to do afterward, I want to be there during that time.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I love being outdoors. Because my dad is so outdoorsy, I grew up being outside all the time. He’s an avid rock climber—he even climbed Mount Everest!—so rock climbing is on my list of things to try. I also love cooking and watching movies.
What’s on your bucket list?
Travel. Right now I really want to visit New Zealand, so I can see the glaciers, and go
rafting, kayaking and cave exploring.
What’s your favorite film?
Braveheart. It really moved me. Life is about more than the content—it’s about
how you feel.
What’s your earliest memory?
My dad setting up the tent in our back yard. It felt like a real camping trip—my mom even brought us ice cream!
What’s your personal mantra?
Wish it, dream it, do it. It’s a loose translation of a Korean saying that my mom writes to herself on little notes and leaves everywhere.
What’s your top stress-relief tip?
Boxing. My girlfriends and I recently took it up. Hitting something really hard feels really good!
What was your last good read?
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Wells. I cried at the end. To have a memory like that, down to the last detail, is amazing.
What’s your favorite food?
Mexican, hands down. Living in SoCal, I’ve been exposed to such amazing cuisine.
What was your last splurge?
Shoes! They’re my weakness. There was a huge sale recently and I ended up buying Guiseppe Zanotti heels and my first pair of Manolo Blahniks. They were a steal–I had to get them!