Name: Stephy Kim
Location: West-coastal! Seattle, WA / Los Angeles, CA
Sum up the mission of Moonlit: We’re dedicated to overnight skincare and sleep wellness.
IG handle / website: @moonlitskincare / moonlitskincare.com
One word that best describes how you work: Collaboratively
Let’s start this off with the most common question you get. What’s your wind-down routine and do you have sleep tips?
I relax by reading (fiction-only, please), taking a warm bath (hello Slumber Bath Salts!), clicking on my sound machine, and trying to imagine my body is made of heavy lead.
As for sleep tips, here are a few of my favorites:
- Before bed, massage your jaw with your favorite facial oil. Putting some gentle pressure on your lower jaw can relax you before bed as many of us tend to clench and hold tension there.
- Scrolling endlessly and mindlessly can be a tough habit to break so grayscale your phone.
- Keep your bedroom a screen-free zone. An analog alarm clock is a much simpler way to wake up (instead of jolting you awake with texts and news).
Ok, now let’s talk about the second most asked question you get: How did you get your brand into Urban Outfitters?
Take your pick:
If you want to know the nitty-gritty details, over the course of 18 months, we kept potential retailers updated with new launches, press hits, and events –even if we heard crickets from them.
Eventually, they noticed, realized we were onto something, we're here to stay, and put the work in!
You and your co-founder were friends/roommates first and then decided to venture into business together. Do you have any advice for friends who are looking to create a company?
Partner with someone who has very different skills than you. You’ll cover more ground that way. Kriszta's background is in industrial/product design and coding, while mine is in the graphic design and branding/marketing realm.
Before signing a contract with a potential co-founder, I recommend working on a few small projects together. Design school was great for us because there were so many collaborative projects assigned and we learned quickly that you could be great friends with someone but your working styles can clash. Luckily, Kriszta and I immediately clicked as working partners and friends.
Did you launch with one product or several? What was the strategy behind making that decision?
We launched with one hero product, Midnight Shift Facial Oil, which is now our best-selling SKU. We also had our Let Me Sleep Eyemask available as a gift with purchase but it’s now become a permanent part of our product line.
As for strategy, there wasn’t much!
Launching with one product was all we could afford to produce at the time. Looking back, I am quite grateful for this limitation as we were forced to think hard about how to creatively market our first product.
We learned so much when we first launched with our oil and eventually applied our findings to the next product launch.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received for running a small business?
It’s not sexy, but someone told me “If you’re a bootstrapped business, you live and die by your budget.”
Also, put reminders on your reminders + pad your timeline.
What’s a big misconception about running a small business?
That you’ll consistently make more money from one month to the next. Absolutely not. Turns out that our business is quite seasonal.
What part of the process was surprisingly easy?
Press. I think we’ve found our rhythm with pitching and how to present our brand to editors.
What do you wish you knew before embarking on this journey?
It takes way more time and way more money than you ever thought it would.
Where are your favorite chill-out places in your area?
In Seattle, you can find me escaping the rain at Miro Tea in Ballard. Jogging at Golden Gardens Park is always beautiful and meditative. I put on an episode of This American Life while I get my nails done at White Lotus. It’s so relaxing!
In LA, I love going to the beach and taking hikes on the coast.
There are seasons when work is really overwhelming so as a treat, I’ll sneak to a late afternoon solo movie. I leave my phone in the glove compartment of my car and just zone out. It’s delightful.
Is there a place you look to for trends, insight, data, etc?
Any article by Chris Walton. His pieces are spot-on!
What’s in store for 2020 with Moonlit?
In 2020, we’re looking to continue to grow our business in the US and also internationally to Canada so stay tuned...
My ideal # of hours of sleep is: 7 hours
Sleep season for me is: Sleep Season? Winter! If I don’t set an alarm, I can sleep for 9 hours..
How many pillows: 4
AM or PM?: AM
Bad sleep habit: Sleeping in
Good sleep habit: No phones in my bedroom, reading fiction before bed
Side/back/stomach sleeper: Back and side
A book you can read over and over: Stargirl is a beautiful book. I think it’s meant for the young adult category, but it’s wonderful for all ages. More recently, I enjoyed Where The Crawdads Sing.
Fav podcast: This American Life, Savage Lovecast, and Fresh Air
Software/tool/app you can't you live without?: GoogleCal, GoogleTasks, Trello, Slack