Behind Her Empire Podcast: NYX Cosmetics Founder Toni Ko On Building a $500M Brand When The Odds Are Against You

Toni Ko is the Founder of NYX Cosmetics and Bespoke Beauty Brands. At 13 years old, Toni came to the U.S. from Korea and got started in business almost immediately. Through working in her family business and having a desire to buy makeup she could afford, she saw a white space in the market for quality cosmetics at drugstore prices. At the age of 24, Toni was inspired to launch NYX Cosmetics and disrupt the cosmetics industry, aiming to provide department store beauty at a cheaper price.

Fifteen years later, NYX became a household name and eventually sold to L'Oreal for a reported half a billion dollars. Although she instantly became one of America's richest self-made women, Toni has openly talked about the personal challenges she faced while building the business and life after selling it. Toni lost her sense of self and fell into depression which made her realize that although money is valuable, it's not the key to happiness.


As the natural serial entrepreneur that she is, Toni fell back into her passion of starting businesses, where she felt the happiest and most recently returned to the beauty industry with her latest company, Bespoke Beauty Brands.

We talked with Toni about the personal sacrifices she made in her life and what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur even when the odds are stacked against you. Toni shows us how being a college drop out, first generation immigrant and young woman in her early 20s was an advantage when it came to her fulfilling her dreams of starting her own business.

Want more? Subscribe to Behind Her Empire on Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, Spotify iHeart Radio or wherever you get your podcasts.

Photo courtesy of Stephanie Yang Photography.

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  • Tesla shares soar, Fisker rumored to go public, Karma gets $100m
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An Amazon spokesperson said Friday afternoon that an email ordering employees to delete TikTok was sent in error. The company declined to provide further explanation for how the directive was sent.

"This morning's email to some of our employees was sent in error," the spokesperson said. "There is no change to our policies right now with regard to TikTok."

Amazon's had earlier sent an email saying that it was requiring employees to remove the popular video-sharing app TikTok from their mobile devices immediately due to security concerns.

"Due to security risks, the TikTop app is no longer permitted on mobile devices that access Amazon email," the company said Friday in an email to employees.

TikTok has quickly become one of the most popular social media apps in the world but government officials and business leaders are becoming increasingly wary of the Chinese-owned company.

The U.S. military has already barred its members from using TikTok and the federal government is considering a broader ban out of concerns that the Chinese government may be using the app to spy on Americans.

Earlier this month, India announced it will ban TikTok and other popular Chinese apps citing threats to "sovereignty and integrity."

Amazon did not provide details on its concerns in the employee email. We've reached out to the company to comment and will update this story when we hear back.

A TikTok spokesperson said the company is "fully committed to respecting the privacy of users," in a statement to the Times.

"While Amazon did not communicate to us before sending their email, and we still do not understand their concerns, we welcome a dialogue so we can address any issues they may have and enable their team to continue participating in our community."

Last month, a new privacy feature in iOS 14 revealed TikTok was accessing users' clipboard content despite promising to discontinue the practice last year.

This story first appeared on GeekWire.

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