Dream Believe Create is an online magazine for women entrepreneurs, creatives and change-makers. It’s for women who want to start sustainable, mission-driven businesses or creative practices without sacrificing their principles and avoiding the profit-at-any-cost / business-as-usual model that we’re all so tired of.

From Hobby to Online Success: STYLE STORY

From Hobby to Online Success: STYLE STORY

Lauren Lee is the founder of  K-Beauty’s STYLE STORY, an online venture that began as a hobby before growing to become a successful business, tripling its sales figures year on year.

I recently caught up with Lauren to learn about her remarkable entrepreneurial journey, one that includes leaving behind a corporate law career in Brisbane and relocating to Seoul, Korea.

But first, what exactly is K-Beauty? In a nutshell, it’s an extraordinary skincare and make-up phenomenon that, in recent years, has taken the world by storm. It first garnered international attention for its kitsch appeal including macaron lips balms, tomato-shaped face masks and tangerine hand creams.

These days it’s better known for its quality, affordability and innovation.

It’s also an approach that prioritizes nourishing and caring for your skin for optimal results.The focus is on hydration and skin health rather than the more usual western approach of covering up problem areas with make-up and other products.

It’s a philosophy originated in South Korea {hence the ‘K’} but, with its promise to deliver a healthy complexion it’s easy to understand why K-Beauty has become so popular right across the globe.

Lauren first discovered K-Beauty during a stint as an exchange student in Korea. Her sensitive skin meant she’d previously spent years, and a small fortune, on expensive skincare and make-up.

Running out of her usual products part way through her Korean sabbatical she decided it was time to try something different.

Intrigued by the exotic-sounding ingredients and innovative packaging, Lauren began experimenting with K-Beauty products. The results were impressive.

Not only were the ingredients and formulas unique and highly effective, the quality was comparable to products that were five times the price back home In Australia. 

Wanting to share her finds, Lauren began gifting Korean skincare and makeup to friends and family and it wasn’t long before she was filling 'orders' for people who’d fallen in love with them. Like her, they were delighted with the results they were achieving and wanted more.

Despite completing her studies and starting work in a top tier legal firm Lauren continued filling orders as a hobby. Back then it wasn’t an easy process. Although she now speaks fluent Korean, in the early days Lauren had to rely on Google Translate to purchase products from Korea, then waiting up to six weeks for the orders to be delivered. 

Eventually a friend suggested she start selling the products rather than simply ordering them for others.While she liked the idea, it took another year before Lauren took her first steps towards officially establishing her business.

STYLE STORY was born as a part-time venture with just an Instagram account and a weekend market stall while Lauren continued with her day job as a corporate lawyer.

At first glance, a law career and skincare may seem an unlikely mix, but in fact Lauren’s legal background has been invaluable. In her role as an entrepreneur she deals with regulations and negotiates supplier contracts on a regular basis, and her legal training has been a definite advantage.

Lauren is now based in Seoul, which allows her to stay on top of the latest K-Beauty news, and heads a team across Korea and Australia curating, reporting and advising on the latest Korean beauty directions.

During our interview Lauren told me about a developing trend for misting sprays, and the use of unusual natural ingredients such as snail muchin {don’t worry, no snails are harmed}, galactomyces {which is a yeast extract}, bee venom, donkey milk, yuja {a Korean citrus fruit}, ginseng, fermented ingredients and sparkling water.

Some of these can sound quite odd to the uninitiated and STYLE STORY produces regular blogs and video content to help customers understand their products better.

With her inspiring mix of passion, grit, smarts and level-headedness it’s clear that Lauren Lee is a founder to watch. The future for STYLE STORY looks bright, and I suspect it is well on the way to achieving Lauren’s goal of being  the number one destination for Korean beauty in Australia.

For more stories like this one, you’re warmly invited to stay connected.

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Thank you to Lauren Lee for this thoroughly enjoyable interview!

You can contact Lauren or find out more about STYLE STORY at www. stylestory.com.au

Check out our Special Offers page to read about STYLE STORY’s birthday sale and help them celebrate 4 years in business!

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