Meet the Maker Feat. Honey Belle
Think refreshing, organic, and oh-so-good for your skin: that's exactly what Honey Belle is all about. The brand crafts completely natural beauty products that is totally affordable and does wonders for skin. We sat down with the founder, Iris Cherng, to learn all about the brand.
What inspired you to launch Honey Belle?
In 2013, my mom started developing skin allergies to department-brand products. My parents are both holistic doctors of natural medicine, so my mom started making her own creams and lotions for herself and her patients to treat their skin issues. Shortly after, I developed psoriasis.. I then became OBSESSED with reading EVERYTHING on my beauty bottles. After shopping the natural + organic world, I realized everything was really expensive-- especially as a broke college student. So, with my mom's knowledge of herbs plus her first-hand dive into apothecary, I hit the kitchen!
Where did your parents learn about holistic and natural medicine and how has that impacted your approach to Honey Belle?
My parents were both medical school students in Taiwan (the country where they were born and raised), and after moving to the United States, they chose to specialize in holistic and herbal medicine. Growing up with doctors of natural medicine, I was raised to take herbal medicine, always drinking the tinctures that my parents made every time I was sick. It has definitely impacted my approach in Honey Belle by creating much more simpler and wholesome recipes and product concepts.
Any tips and tricks for a bad skin day?
Drink lots of water! And do a facial steam. The easiest way to do a facial steam (instead of finding a gym or spa that has a steam room...), would be to boil a pot of water on the stove (or by using an electric kettle), and once the water is boiled, take it away from heat. Place on a table or bathroom counter, and place a towel over your head to make your own little steam room! You can add essential oils if you have some on hand, or any natural tea leaves!
Tell me a little bit about the production process of Honey Belle products.
The production process has been handcrafted since 2013. It started in my room, to my grandma's room, then to the kitchen and dining room... And in 2015 when I quit my job, we moved to our first studio! It has honestly been challenging to keep everything handcrafted AND at an affordable price point (We keep our products at an affordable price point, since my business goal is to provide a larger access to clean beauty since I wasn't able to afford them when I was a student!) So right now we're also looking at working with United States manufacturers to help us create a more efficient means!
Any advice to young entrepreneurs?
Keep believing in yourself! Even when no one else believes in you, even when YOU don't believe you. Success is 80% psychology and 20% action. The BIGGEST gift you can give yourself IS believing in yourself. Once you believe you can accomplish something, that belief and thought starts pulling you into action, thus creating results and manifesting your goals into reality. Always, always, ALWAYS believe in yourself, no matter what.
How did you start the #soapsforsoul project?
This passion project was born out of an accidental turn into the Skid Row area of Downtown Los Angeles. I saw a whole community out there, and I saw that they needed me. I thought to myself—'Well, what can I do to help them? I have lots and lots of soap. Soap will help them get clean and help stop the contamination of diseases!' So we ended up working with the downtown homeless shelters, and also work with a medical group that travels the world on medical missions to countries such as Guatemala, Nepal, Peru, Vietnam, Burma.
What’s next for the brand?
What's next is to create a more "retail-ready" product. We've just purchased UPC bar codes for all of our products and also designed box packaging (which I never thought I would do, since I've never had legitimate graphic designing experience... You definitely learn many things on your own being an entrepreneur!) Being in the wholesale market has just been a completely different game... so we've just been observing the market, and what's needed for us in terms of packaging, efficiency, and branding to be able to serve the consumer and retail landscape.
What is your favorite part of POOL?
My favorite part of POOL is being in a neighborhood with a bunch of like-minded people! All the brands and designers are so creative, innovative, and each of them bring something different to the table. Whether it's their personality or some sort of business technique. It's so awesome being able to make friends with other business owners and be able to share your struggles and challenges and ideas with each other. We've met some really great business friends through POOL!