Resilience And Grit: Cheryl Tan-Chua On How Being In The Business Of Beauty Isn’t About Sitting Pretty - Lifestyle Asia

Anyone who might have surmised that a full-time beauty career meant 24/7 glam is sorely mistaken.

Take it from industry veteran Cheryl Tan-Chua, who nowadays could still find herself with a hair out of place.

It was only a decade after founding Beautybox Corp. with her husband, Richard Chua Jr., that the businesswoman found herself facing the company’s greatest challenge yet.

That is, the same pandemic that has tested and stretched the entire beauty industry has made no exception for established brands like theirs.

It was also with the deftness of Chua’s crisis management efforts that Beautybox was able to avert an otherwise ugly fate.

Photo by Ed Simon of Studio 100

Retouch

“I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary except to be really hardworking and consistent with our business. I didn’t establish our own business to have longer free time, because it is literally the opposite of it,” Chua tells Lifestyle Asia.

They were forced to downscale their business and adapt to what the market was looking for at the time.

Fortunately, Beautybox had both cosmetics and skincare brands under its distribution at a time when people shifted more into skin products.

The company also needed to restructure since the market transitioned more into online shopping.

Photo by Ed Simon of Studio 100

“It has been more than two years of not exactly knowing what is next. It has made us realize that we are not in control of anything, even if we have the best laid-out plans, as anything can still change tomorrow,” Chua emphasizes.

Glow-up

Notwithstanding, the beauty entrepreneur believes that their generation that has experienced the pandemic will emerge as really strong individuals who can adapt to any environment.

“I think being able to stay in business the last two years is already a victory in itself. Beautybox Corp. was able to balance company expectations and employee welfare,” Chua celebrates.

The ordeal definitely helped grow her faith, which she entrusted into the belief that there is a divine plan in all this and what was left was to completely trust in God.

Surely enough, the universe would conspire in their favor.

Photo by Ed Simon of Studio 100

“Despite all the challenges, it was also during the height of the pandemic that we were able to have our 6th Japanese beauty company, Kiss Me of Heroine Make and Heavy Rotation cult fave mascaras and Isetan Mitsukoshi partnered with us. These notable expansions helped us look forward to all the opportunities in the coming years,” Chua welcomes.

On fleek

The company’s sustained success allows Chua to consider what is possible beyond any doubts that could arise.

“Being an optimist myself, I am certain that the beauty industry will be making waves since people are already learning how to live with COVID. With most wanting to go back to their old lives, while expressing one’s beauty has always been an uplifting way to celebrate and enjoy life,” Chua foresees.

For her, it could be as simple as grooming your brows to last the whole day, having great smelling and manageable hair, or taking good care of your skin to make you feel good about yourself. That is, “something very basic to each person.”

Photo by Ed Simon of Studio 100

“On the business side of things, I would say it is rather fast-paced and quite challenging with all the competition that you have to keep your brands relevant to your market,” Chua observes.

Her management style strikes a balance between being hands-on and letting her team run autonomously.

This would “greatly depend” on how important the project is and how she gauges whether the team needs her guidance.

Photo by Ed Simon of Studio 100

After all, she started Beautybox Corp. in 2011 with just her husband and herself doing everything.

“So it is quite challenging for me to completely let go. But if I know my team or staff is reliable, I let them work autonomously so I could focus on our next big goals,” Chua admits.

She advises that hard work beats talent every time, “cliché as it may sound.”

For more information, please visit the Beautybox Corp. website at BeautyboxCorp.com.

Photos by Ed Simon of Studio 100.

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