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Glow Recipe: FUTURE50 2023

Published May 25, 2023
Published May 25, 2023
Stevie Chong

Glow Recipe was started in 2017 because we saw a white space in the market for a clinically effective, results-driven brand with a community-first approach rooted in sensoriality and fun. We pair antioxidants and rich fruit extracts with complementing clinical technology, creating breakthrough formulas that our community is always eager to test. Since inception, Glow Recipe has paired first-to-market innovations with education to empower consumers to bring out their “glow," while remaining hyperfocused on the Company’s core values of community, real skin acceptance, inclusivity, and sustainability. These values have allowed Glow Recipe to build an engaged community of Gen Z and millennial consumers who have embraced the brand’s core pillars.

Founders: Sarah Lee and Christine Chang

Founded: November 2014


  • Sarah Lee, Co-Founder and Co-CEO
  • Christine Chang, Co-Founder and Co-CEO

2023 Full Year Expected Revenue Range: $100 to $125MM

Categories: Skincare, Body Care

Distribution Channels: Prestige, Amazon

Funding Rounds: Private Equity

The founders launched with a personal investment of $50,000 in October 2016 North Castle Partners made a minority investment representing the first outside funding.

Notable Investors: North Castle Partners

What are some of your key business initiatives for 2023?

In 2023, we’re focused on building our treatment category in our portfolio for “serum authority” in the market and reinforcing our brand's positioning as the go-to for fruit-forward, clinically effective skincare for glow skin. We will also continue to bridge the category between skincare and makeup with the "Glow Recipe" take to empower our community to enjoy its routines while offering efficacious and noticeable results. We know that the best makeup application starts with a healthy canvas, and we’re continuing to focus on clinically effective treatments to solve everyday skin concerns. We plan to continue to launch clinically effective treatments to join our blockbuster SKUs. We also have plans for new marketing campaigns to amplify brand awareness, and growing and fostering our community will always be a top priority for the brand.

What are you most proud of having accomplished?

Building a team that is as passionate about skincare and furthermore beauty as we are! Like the entire industry, we faced so much uncertainty during the pandemic in 2020. Not only has our business achieved new milestones every year since, but we pride ourselves on building an energetic team that has been able to grow the brand despite all the challenges everyone personally faces in their everyday lives. Today, we pride ourselves on having the best talent over local talent, and our company continues to work fully remote.

What has been the biggest surprise since the brand was founded?

We’re most proud of creating a product adored by millions since the launch of our Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops! In just one year, Dew Drops has become our #1 SKU, globally selling out 17 times in 2021. To this day, Dew Drops is our #1 customer acquisition SKU with over 70% of all Dew Drops customers on being first time buyers. Today, all Glow Recipe serums and treatments are top performing SKUs at Sephora. In 2022, our serum category saw a 47% growth from the previous year.

What aspect of your brand DNA fuels your competitive advantage?

Glow Recipe’s brand DNA has five pillars:

  • Trusted BFF Who Keeps It Real—your go-to for judgment-free advice
  • Immersive Joy—delivering a feel-good skincare journey unlike any other
  • Disruptive Duality—fruit-forward and clinically effective
  • Sensorial, Scroll-Stopping, Shelf Grabbing—creating unexpected experiences (digitally and in real life)
  • The Glow Gang Community—empowering our community to embrace individuality and real skin acceptance.
"In the current digital age, it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re listening to your customer base and truly hearing what they need from you."
By Sarah Lee + Christine Chang, Co-founders + Co-CEOs, Glow Recipe

Please share your insight on the future of the beauty industry.

New innovations, new categories, unexpected releases, virtual activations, and many more are in the pipeline here at Glow Recipe. We will continue having open and transparent dialogues with our community, Glow Gang, and serve it in the best way possible by launching innovations, creating content, and providing education that it wants and needs. We are also excited to focus on sharing our skincare philosophy of listening to your skin and feeding it what it needs, and ultimately empowering our community to make the best choices for the skin. 2023 will be a year for our brand to speak about our core values, ethos, and our mission even more than our products.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

We’ve been fortunate to have received incredible support and mentorship from fellow entrepreneurs throughout our journey. This network of founders, especially female founders, have served as a critical source of advice and guidance, and our recommendation is to always reach out for help and guidance versus trying to do it alone. Another piece of great advice we’ve been given over the years and have always taken to heart is to put your customer first. From the early days of Glow Recipe, our customers have been a huge part of the conversation and direction of the brand. In the current digital age, it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re listening to your customer base and truly hearing what they need from you—whether it’s more transparency, certain products, or types of content. Putting our "Glow Gang" community first is part of our process and helps drive us to break barriers when it comes to formulation and innovation. Our customers are the inspiration behind all our creations, with the goal of really effective, gentle, sensorial skincare.

Paying it forward, what advice would you give to someone contemplating launching a beauty brand?

Network, network, network; networking is everything for an entrepreneur. As founders, we can relate to one another because building a business from inception to growing pains is something only fellow entrepreneurs can understand. We love that we have an amazing tribe of beauty founders who support and uplift one another. A good example of this is the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Best of Beauty Box collaboration where we joined together with eight fellow AAPI-founded beauty brands to curate a collection of beauty products to celebrate our diverse cultures and highlight their collective impact on the industry globally. This is one of the reasons why we’re incredibly passionate about mentoring and impacting the lives of young entrepreneurs; we’re currently mentoring three Person of Color (POC)-owned small businesses through our community mentorship program. As female and POC founders ourselves, we want to give these founders some knowledge that we wish we had learned sooner.

If you could change one thing in the beauty industry, what would it be?

We hope the industry will continue to cater to real skin acceptance, and unattainable skin promises such as flawless, poreless, “perfect” skin will become obsolete. At Glow Recipe, we encourage our global Glow Gang community to "take it day by day," which is a philosophy that we learned from our Korean mothers and grandmothers. This acknowledges that skin can evolve and change depending on the environment and season, and our goal is to empower our community with education and content to be able to create fluid routines that meet these changing skin needs each day.


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