Beauty entrepreneurs are known for their boldness. But Iris Cherng is more than bold, she’s determined and she’s purposeful. Cherng’s focus is on business and self-care. And Honey Belle promises to be the first in a long line of companies she launches and leads in order to help consumers find time for and pay attention to themselves.
Here, the beauty entrepreneur shares a profile of herself and the Honey Belle brand.
Name: Iris Cherng, Founder and CEO
Launched: We started experimenting in the kitchen in 2013. And, we created the corporation in 2015!
Headquarters: Brea, California
Cash flow: Honey Belle, Inc. is completely self-funded! I own 50% of the business, while my partner owns 40%, the last 10% is actually owned by my mother, who was a great inspiration, influence, and support during the beginning stages of the business. We currently do not have investors, and have not yet participated in any crowd-funding activities.
Each year our gross revenue numbers have been growing. In 2015 (while I was part-time): $50K, 2016 (first full year in business): $150K, 2017 (second year): $501K, and 2018 (third year): $963K. This year in 2019, our goal is for 5M... it’s scary, but my team and I love a challenge and making ‘impossible’ things possible.
Indie how? To me, a beauty brand is “indie” when it originates outside and away from the typical traditional conglomerates of the beauty industry. Indie brands are typically more unique, have a grassroots and start-up type of culture, and are completely customer-oriented (there’s no other way to succeed in this era without putting an emphasis on customers—we’ve all become such intelligent and savvy consumers!).
Team work: 13 full-time employees, 2 part-time employees
Distribution: Honey Belle is available to consumers all across the globe through our ecommerce site (honeybelleshop.com). You can also find select items at all Ulta Beauty and Riley Rose locations, or at a local boutique or spa near you! A stockists list is available on our website.
Years in beauty: I’ve never had any experience in the beauty or personal care industry prior to Honey Belle. Most of my passion for self-care came from growing up with parents who practiced holistic medicine.
Years at Honey Belle, Inc.: 6
Entrepreneurial experience: My first ‘company’ was a car wash business at age 7 and it failed pretty miserably, since no one wanted to join me in making 50 cents and I was too small to wash a whole car.
At age 13, I opened up a ‘restaurant’ called DIPS with my brother and cousins, serving meals for my parents, extended family, and their friends, charging them a couple bucks per dish to help them save money from eating out.
At age 23 in 2015, Honey Belle became a legitimate corporation! When my boyfriend and I both quit our jobs to pursue Honey Belle, we had a few thousand saved up... We weren’t making substantial sales for Honey Belle yet, and so to offset our income, my boyfriend would find various items to sell on eBay while I would focus on the strategy and growth of the brand.
As a self-funded start-up business, we didn’t pay ourselves for years, so we were always looking into any side hustles we could. I was—and always am, looking for something to create. There are so many projects and business concepts that I’d love to build, and skin care isn’t my only passion! I’ve actually never been a product or beauty junkie; for me—I am super into the self-care, self-love, pampering side, the therapeutic aspect of beauty. Honey Belle will, however, always hold a special place in my heart. You know what they say about first loves.
The business: Honey Belle, Inc. is a clean beauty brand that started in a home kitchen and breathes playfulness in the simple act of self-care. From bath bombs, face washes, detox masks, to beauty tools like the facial roller or ancient Gua Sha, Honey Belle is the expert in quality natural skincare....Our mission is to empower and generate health and self-confidence, through playful care and generous self-love.
The wow-factor: Our products are effective, natural, fun and easy to use and incorporate to anyone’s daily lifestyle. Our company started in a home kitchen, is cruelty-free, women-owned, minority-owned, inspired by wellness and holistic medicine, and believes in giving back to the community!
The customer: Our target consumer falls in the age ranges between 18 and 35. She’s a smart, playful, health-conscious, and savvy—a conscientious beauty lover. She loves playing, discovering, exploring, and indulges in the simple, effective, and therapeutic acts of self-care.
Milestone moment: We’ve been featured on Allure, Buzzfeed, and PopSugar this past year!
Advice for fellow beauty entrepreneurs: Master believing, take action even if it feels like baby steps, get good at bouncing back from failure, and be patient with yourself and others. Change happens 1% at a time.
Just one: Asked about her go-to product, Cherng says it’s definitely our Honey Belle Elixir Facial Oil. It’s made with only six ingredients: elasticity-increasing and hydrating Hemp Oil, Grapefruit Essential Oil for oil and blemish control, Basil for skin pigmentation and balancing, Rosemary for antioxidant boosts, Vitamin E to heal, and crushed Peppermint leaves to refresh the skin. Not only do I love the soothing earthy aroma the Elixir Oil has, I love the way my skin and pores drink up.
Deanna Utroske, CosmeticsDesign.com Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.