Interview: Yuri, GlamX Founder

Yuri, what’s your story?

My name’s Yuri, I’m 23 this year. I’ve got an interesting story because, uh what happened with the company is an interesting story.

So I was in college, I was at Purdue University and I was finishing my first year – I’ve always wanted to get into cosmetics, I’ve always wanted to build my own company, I’ve always wanted to build a brand because my mom’s a businesswoman so she’s instilled that knowledge into me growing up.

So while I was there, I was in business school and I was really disappointed. So I was like, what am I learning here – these are all things I learnt two years ago and I felt like the money and the time and the effort going into my degree was wasted, right?

So I made a decision during my third semester, I went back to Purdue after one year, I went back after the winter holidays, I paid my tuition and a week later, after ending my first class – I like, made a decision that I can’t do this anymore, it was such a waste of time. So I dropped out after my first year

Basically, I contacted the principal and I told them that I wanted to drop out. I did a bit of research, and like if you drop out within two weeks of the course start – you can get your tuition money back. So I went back, and I told them, I was like “I’m gonna drop out, give me my money back” basically and I came back to Malaysia and no one knew.

My family didn’t know. The only person who knew back then, obviously was my partner Ryan – and the whole six months I was in Malaysia building this, no one knew I was here. My friends didn’t know I was here.

So yeah, we launched the company in June, and that’s when I came out to mom – and it was like ‘yeah I’m sorry mom, I’ve been back for the past six months and I didn’t tell you’. and I used that tuition money that I got refunded and pumped it into GlamX. So it’s kinda like swindling – but I felt like the money was being put to better use. My partner was building the IT recruitment company in the meantime, so he got on board and he mentored me for a few months, really taught me how businesses work, how to set it up and yeah, that’s where we are today.

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So, why the name GlamX? Why was your first product basically, eyeshadow palettes?

The reason the name is GlamX – I’m glad that you asked, because most people don’t ask – and I like to elaborate more on that. Glam X is because X is like the symbolism for featuring. And we wanted a brand that was like a universal brand, where we can collaborate with makeup artists and people who are like professionals in what they do – and we can get input into hey, like what’s good this year. That’s better. What’s a good eyeshadow palette. What colour combinations do you think will sell.

So what we did with the Brand Ambassador Program, we get them on board as brand ambassadors but they have a say in what we produce. So the first meeting we had with all of the bridal makeup artists, the bloggers was some time in August, and they all came together – it was about 40 people, a small event. And everyone pitched in: it was like, hey I love your product but you could improve it this way, I love this but you could bring this in and it’ll sell better. So, the glitters was an idea they came up with – they were like, hey you need to come up with glitter shadows, so we took that into account and we brought out the glitter shadows. So X is the symbolism for like, featuring – so it’s like Glam X You, whoever you are.

So you’ve been around for like, 6 months now and growth has been exponential.

Yeah, I’d like to say.

What are your plans from here on now?

Our plans, well our biggest goal this year is to expand into India. We currently have an investor/partner who wants to open up a Glam X branch in India. So for 2018, our biggest goal is expansion.

Right now, you guys are stocked online and in Play Up Advance, which is a Parkson brand. Are there any other places you’d like to be stocked?

First off, we want to differentiate ourselves from the other brands playing in the market out there right now. We don’t want to go far and wide, we’d like to focus and direct traffic to us. The biggest – I wouldn’t say mistake – like, if we could do it over again, we would’ve liked to keep our products exclusive where you could only buy it from us, but initially we thought it was a good idea to open up different channels of sales. Yeah, we’re on MySmink, Zamora, and Play Up Advance which is our physical store, we’re also on Astro GoShop but moving forward from here, we’d like to keep it well, more exclusive. We won’t be expanding to more channels, we’ll be keeping it the way it is and drive more traffic to our site.

About your site, so right now it’s mainly just your store and the tutorials. Are there any other ways you’d like to work on your site or expand the site itself?

The website or the Instagram account?

Both, because social media marketing is where it’s at right now. So, what are you looking to do there?

To improve the website, for us the main focus is Instagram. So all the traffic that we get, 90-95% of the traffic we get is directed from Instagram. So, our focus is generating mint content for the ‘gram, growing the ‘gram because I know it’s a direct correlation. If the ‘gram grows, the site grows, right? Because the site is just, we have tutorials for every product, the only way we can really better the website is bringing in new products, changing up the banners every so often and changing the outlay, changing the design, but there’s not much you can do to better the website – so our focus is on bettering the ‘gram.

Talking international beauty brands, since GlamX wants to become on par with that, are there brands that you guys look up to?

Definitely. Morphe, Morphe is one of our biggest inspirations. Another one is NYX because I – because my biggest inspiration is Toni Ko and she’s the founder of NYX. I’m sure you know. She started when she was like, twenty something, took a big loan from her parents but ultimately she did it on her own. She really hustled. This is something people don’t know because they know NYX today but they don’t see the 20 years of work that went into it before she sold it off to L’Oreal. Her 20 years of work is really what inspired us, and that’s kinda what we set as our inspiration and where we want to go from here.

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In that vein, where do you see yourselves in 5 years?

I’d like to say that our goal is hitting 300K on the ‘gram, 300K followers. We want to go international but we want to focus on the South East Asian market because the US is saturated, but there’s so much opportunity in India, Indonesia, Thailand’s a bit saturated, and Malaysia but ideally, in 5 years – I want to say that GlamX is in Thailand, India, Indonesia and Malaysia.

On a personal note:

I’ve found GlamX eyeshadows to be some of the best formulations locally, on par with international brands. Here are some looks I’ve created with the Bourgeoisie palette. If you (or your friends) would love 10% off your entire purchase and free shipping, use the code GLAMXHANNAH at check out. Hope you’ve enjoyed this – I’m just sharing the love.

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