SEEING IS BELIEVING: AAPI Visionary Entrepreneurs — Charlotte Cho
Meet Charlotte Choi (she/her)
Founder at Then I Met You
How did “Then I Met You” get started?
Growing up in the ’90s in Southern California, my idea of beauty was a slick of lip gloss and a deep sun tan. It was only after I spent five years living in South Korea, where my parents were born, that I experienced the magic of Korean skin care firsthand. Before I knew it, I had built up my confidence and a powerful relationship with my culture and my skin. I had developed Jeong with Korea: It changed my life, and I couldn’t wait to share what I had learned.
With Then I Met You, I am going even deeper in my quest—not only curating, but crafting truly transformative skin care products that will remain a part of your life for years to come. Because of the deep connection I have with Korea, I find it important for Then I Met You to honor Korea’s rich beauty culture while highlighting the country’s incredible innovations in research and development at the same time—a perfect fusion of our past and present.
How does your Korean cultural heritage and personal identity influence your brand?
All my businesses and brands lead with my desire to dive deeper into my cultural heritage, to simply stay connected to Korea. It’s my personal motivation that drives me to do what I do. After living in Korea for 5 years, it had left such a strong, positive impression on me. However, it was time for me to return back to the states. I wanted something, anything, to connect me to Korea even though I had physically left. That passion is what ignited me to start Soko Glam, as I fell in love with Korean beauty and skincare and wanted to share what I had learned with an American audience through product curations, skin care routines and tips.
How did the brand transform as you built it?
We only launch two products a year, in order to focus on the intentionality of each product and also respecting and listening to our community. Beauty is a very crowded space, but we were focused on truly turning out transformative textures, ingredients and experiences (including packaging). We want to emphasize that we are rediscovering the values of the past and reinterpreting them in groundbreaking ways.
How does the product represent vision & values?
A profound and heartfelt bond with Korea is embedded in the essence of Then I Met You. I was inspired by the uniquely Korean cultural value of Jeong: a meaningful connection that one can develop with people, places, and things. After nurturing Jeong in all aspects of my life, I created Then I Met You to foster meaningful connections between people and their daily skin care.
In June 2021, I wrote and launched a book called The Little Book of Jeong. In it, I share my entrepreneurial journey and how Jeong influenced my life and my career. My intention is to help educate people about the concept of Jeong, and encourage others to build deeper connections and relationships in a time when our lives are motivated by instant gratification and quick fixes.
What does community mean to you?
Community means time and effort. It doesn’t happen overnight. Similar to Jeong, a deep and emotional connection you can have with someone or something, you can only achieve that deep connection when you are vulnerable with one another. It will lead to generosity and empathy.
We believe that Jeong drives us to be intentional in everything we do, to act generously without expectation, and to be our full selves in order to make a positive difference in our community beyond skin care.
Any final words of advice for fellow AAPIs looking at entrepreneurship?
While our immigrant parents were unable to relish in abundant opportunities, and have dealt with many sacrifices and challenges along the way, this is our chance to make the most of our dual identity. Intentionality is everything. People respect and are attracted to a unique point of view. Your thoughtful approach to all things in life will yield bountiful fruits, something our parents were unable to enjoy. So, make the most of it!