As female founders and co-CEOs of our own company, Glow Recipe, we wanted to show our support for other female entrepreneurs. We find it incredibly important to shine a light on the amazing successes of women in business around the world. In the last of our series of interviews with the female founders who head the brands with curate, we speak to Tamhee Park, the CEO of Polatam and actress about what her brand stands for.
Sarah & Christine
What is the meaning of your brand’s name, Polatam?
I named the brand by combining TAM, which is my name, and POLA, my business partner who has over 10 years of experience at Bobbi Brown, YSL, Nars, etc. I didn’t launch Polatam alone! Although I had a business plan and a strong passion to pursue my own business, I consulted with many experts like business executives, beauty advisors, and cosmetic companies. I wanted to create a brand that is memorable to customers, and represents my own values and beliefs, so it was always important to capture that meaning and the people involved in the brand name.
How long has it been since you started Polatam? What is Polatam’s motto?
I conceived of my brand in March 2015 and successfully launched Polatam in November 2015. I started Polatam to actualize my motto and perspective on beauty – I constantly think about the relationship between the quality and cost of a product. I get a lot of satisfaction through finding an efficacious product at a reasonable price point. If I spend the money on a product, the quality must match or exceed the price. I realized that finding such products is a small victory that re-energizes me. Polatam came out of the belief that I could create quality products that match my sensibility and outlook on beauty. Polatam strives to be a brand that is reasonable, sensible, and fits into the customers’ lifestyle. Of course, the business was able to grow and flourish because of the input of multiple experts.
How would you explain yourself in a short sentence?
I am a very particular person. If there is any aspect or detail in my business that I cannot fully understand, I will not compromise my vision. Sometimes this is my weakness. However, it is also one of my strengths because it allows me to only put forward my best work and I feel a sense of responsibility for everything I do.
Is there anything you found difficult as a female founder? How did you overcome it?
Of course, I need to carefully schedule my day because my business never stops. I always live my day as if it is my last day. I should do my best in every moment so that I live without regrets, even when the results are subpar. When I was younger and I wasn’t able to achieve my own expectations, I taught myself how to discipline my mind and my thoughts. This mindset was helpful in launching my own business. I feared regretting the moments when I couldn’t do my best, but I shifted my mindset to understand that I am constantly doing my best, even if the results are not as expected. I always keep this mantra in mind while I’m working.
What has been the happiest moment since you started Polatam?
There are lots of direct messages and comments on Polatam’s Instagram. It makes me so happy when I hear comments like “Thanks for making nice products” or “I hope that Polatam continues to grow and create more great products” from customers. I am always thinking about the customer – I create products from the customer’s viewpoint. Although development may take a long time, it is the most rewarding when I meet customers who really like Polatam!
What was your first step as a career woman? How did it help you build your own brand and business?
I started my career when I was really young – only seventeen – as a model and actress. As I always in the trendy or trending entertainment industry, I cultivated a good sense of what is trendy. I don’t know if it is good thing or not, but I think a lot about the value of my purchases, unlike a lot like other actresses. When it was appropriate, I conserved and saved my money. Products that look beautiful may cost a lot, but I would not just buy it for the looks. I truly understand customers who want reasonable prices and quality products because they are just like me.
What are your secrets to balancing personal life and work life?
Most everyone already knows the answers though… It is not just about the quantity of time, but the quality of the time spent, so spend your time wisely. When I take care of my children, I only focus on my children. On the other hand, when I work, I only focus on the work. I split my time exactly and precisely. That is my secret to balancing my work life and my private life.
You have a fairly hectic schedule – what do you make time for?
I tell my children “I love you more than tomorrow~” My children’s smiles energize me in the morning. If I have free time, I go to pilates class. Every morning is different, but I always compliment myself, “Good job! You had a great day today!”
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
I tell my children how much I love them and drink hot water mixed with one spoon of red ginseng extract.
What is the most important thing in cosmetics?
The basics to beauty are moisturizing and absorbing. All products, no matter the focused and specific treatment, should first and foremost be moisturizing. Furthermore, I think how well the ingredients absorb into the skin is tantamount to a product’s efficacy and success.
Is there any beauty routine or know-how that only you have?
Drink 2 liters of water a day, do ‘1 pack, 1 day’, peel and/or exfoliate twice a week, and oil massage twice a week
How do you want customers to remember Polatam?
I wish people will remember Polatam as a brand they can trust and rely on. I never want the quality of the products to disappoint customers!
Do you have a special quotation that you like?
Don’t start if you don’t do your best, make sure it is well done if you begin.