Could you introduce yourself?
I’m Alice, I was born in Tiel in The Netherlands. I grew up in the UK and have lived in Singapore for almost 10 years before I moved back to Netherlands in 2010. Currently hurdling in my mid forties, living in Barendrecht with my husband. I have a beautiful daughter and an adorable fur-kid.
What education and jobs have you done before starting as an entrepreneur?
I studied MBA in Singapore. I worked as a contract negotiator that evolves e-Database Solutions on behalf of intellectual property owners and libraries. I was a Customer Service Manager Europe for MOL Europe / MOL Consolidation before I started Coos Cosmetics.
When did you start Coos-cosmetics?
Coos Cosmetics was established in 2015, the year when my daughter was born.
What is your connection/relation with skin care products?
Since young, taking care of my skin was essential. In my early 20’s I have tried many Western and Asian brands like La Prairie, Estee Lauder, Shiseido, SKII and many more. I was fascinated by the Korean beauty world during my visit in Seoul more than 10 years ago. It’s fun, innovative and effective. There is always something new and different. That is the reason how I got into Korean beauty. These days, I still feel excitement when I discover a new great brand.
Why did you start with Coos-Cosmetics?
I was 39 when I gave birth and combining with a high demanding job including breastfeeding at home became very challenging. I decided to quit my job and start my own business so I can work from home while taking care of my daughter.
Why did you name your shop 'Coos Cosmetics’?
Coos is like when a baby first learn to talk and I treat Coos like my own baby. Everything comes from the heart with love.
What are more important things that people should know about regarding Coos Cosmetics? (kind of products, target group etc).
We are very focused on curating products that are skin-friendly, cruelty-free, environmental-friendly. Products that contain safe ingredients without harming your health and animals, which we take very seriously. We go through the list of ingredients to ensure the safety. We have range of Vegan and natural products for all types of skin and concerns that is even suitable for the most sensitive skin.
You website is in English. Any particular reason why it is not (also) in Dutch?
I have migrated to UK since I was 13 and have been English educated since then. Having lived in Asia for many years, I communicate mostly in English and Chinese so therefore my contents are in English. We are working hard now to translate our website in Dutch and German to provide better experience for customers.
There are a lot of online stores selling skin care products. What makes your business different from those other sites?
Our approach is much more personal, we try to understand our customer’s needs, and their satisfaction is our top priority by communicating with our customers. Based on customer behaviour data, we can analyse and understand their needs. It is not just selling great products, but also an excellent service we provide. We are very up to date with the latest innovations of Korean beauty such as high quality ingredients and advanced technology used that can make a significant difference in providing a healthier and younger looking skin. Safe, effective and affordable. These are our core values.
Why should people shop at your website?
It is a high level of customer service we provide. Our range of products are curated by ourselves and Coos fellows -beauty influencers. We love to work with brands that matches our concept which is creating beautiful, safe, innovative and natural skincare.
What is the best selling product at this moment?
We have many best-selling products subject to each skin type and concern. But if I would have to pick then it would be Vegreen 730 Moisturizer and Haruharu Wonder Black Rice Toner because we were the first to discover the brands and an authorized seller in Benelux or we could be first in EU if I’m not wrong.
Is there any product you would like to recommend people to purchase and why?
For people who are new to K-beauty then I would highly recommend two-steps cleansing routine. Cleansing face is basic but also most essential step to a healthy skincare journey. The Heimish Vegan All Clean Balm and Pyunkang Yul Cleansing Foam.
What is your own most favourite product and why?
There are too many products I like. I switch products every season. If I really have to choose then it would be Heimish All Clean Balm, Torriden DIVE Serum and Vegreen 730 Mucin Serum and Manyo Factory Ampoule. I have genetic dry skin and the products works wonders to keep my skin hydrated.
What have you learnt from being an entrepreneur/owning a Korean skincare online store so far?
Keep learning, be resourceful, stay humble and be pro-active. Don’t let the ego get in the way. You are bound to make some mistakes along the way. What’s important is that when you fall, you dust off the sand and get up fast again. Learn from it and keep moving so you can grow professionally and personally. It’s not about how many times you have failed that matters, it's about how fast you can bounce back that counts. Treat negative feedback as gold because it can help you improve which we do not always get to hear from closed ones or friends.
What were the biggest challenges in the process of being an entrepreneur?
The biggest challenge was starting up process not knowing much about the e- commerce world. I paid a lot to developers and professionals for the technical part such as working with e-commerce system and optimizing a website, SEO ranking, marketing, Google Ad and so on. The first few years was only investing and learning. To be good at things and the way I want it, I started to learn everything from scratch myself, from managing the system, creating contents and marketing, basically everything.
How did you overcome these challenges?
In life, there are times you will feel discouraged and start to doubt yourself when facing obstacles. It is important to set yourself on a default mode when in doubt by reminding yourself what your real purpose is for being an entrepreneur and why did you start in the first place? By overcoming all challenges, you need to genuinely love what you are doing to keep going. Keep learning, think like a customer like you are the shopper and go through the online store from A-Z. Focus on solving problem and what can be improved.
If you could turn back time to do something different in your business, what would that be?
If I can turn back the time, I would probably let people know more about me, the face and story behind Coos Cosmetics. I am still learning to open up more.
Can you give three practical tips to the readers regarding skin care?
Always clean your face before bed no matter how tired you are. Use SPF50 everyday even in winter days, it is what delays ageing and prevent pigmentation. Pamper your eye area with a good eye serum or eye cream. The eyes are the first to go and it is so important to maintain a youthful appearance.
How do you see the future of your business?
We will continue to introduce more innovative and natural skincare brands. We want to create more eye balls in Europe. We stand out being most selective and reliable Korean skincare online store.
What are the positive sides of starting your business?
The positive side of my business is that I am able to manage my own time and get to do what I love. There are no limitation when it comes to achieving goals albeit daily, small or big goals. I am working on my own beauty box that contains my all-time favourite products. I am feeling excited about it.
What would you like to see different in your business?
I am consistently striving to improve to serve better. Currently our loyalty program is still a little confusing to some of our customers. We are working on that.
What is your biggest dream?
My biggest dream was being a stage performer when I was young. I sang in a band before. It allowed me to express my feelings and create self-worth through music. It is totally not practical according to typical Asian parents. It is common for them to believe their children will have no future if they choose to major in art or music. Right now, my dream is being able to set a great example to my daughter and inspire young entrepreneurs. I hope my daughter can follow her own passion one day. I want to create my own skincare brand in nearest future and give more back to the society.
What is you life quote?
Never give up and things will fall into its place.
Finally, do you have a shout out for the readers? Or something important to share to them?
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What is your contact information
Special thanks to Ruben of RBM Media for the interview.
Dutch version : https://www.rbmmedia.nl/cooscosmetics/