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One of the goals of the Miss Asia PageantUSregional competition is to turn out women who will become great role models in the AA community. Susan Yee, the founder of Zhen Beauty, our makeup sponsor, is a great example of an Asian American role model who also happens to be a woman, so I asked my New York girls to each come up with a question to ask Susan and then narrowed it down to the best eight for good luck:
Julia Sun, contestant #6
I always admire people like you, Vera Wang and Andrea Jung to name a few, who are both creative and business savvy. What do you believe is the most important quality to be successful to such degree? Hi Julia
, I think the most important quality is tenacity. You have to be able to get through the good times and the bad times. And believe me there are more bad than good when starting a business.You have to pick yourself up and keep on going. And remember it is a business. Don't take things personally.
Joanna Fu, contestant #5
If you experienced any discrimination, did you feel that you encountered more difficulties in starting Zhen Cosmetics because you are a woman entrepreneur, or because you are an Asian American? Hi Joanna,
I have been very fortunate as I did not feel any discrimination at all when I started my business!
Tina Wu, contestant #15
Can you re-live for us the moment, and describe what it felt like to be the first American cosmetic company targeting the Asian ethnic group? Hi Tina
, I was sitting in my kitchen when the phone rang. I will never forget that feeling when I got a call from WWD (Woman's Wear Daily, the industry Bible)) because they wanted to do an interview on my company. That was when I knew I had done it! The industry was taking my little cosmetics company seriously
Roxanne Cheung, contestant #10
How did Zhen prepare itself to compete with the existing make-up companies that are imported from Asia? Hi Roxanne
, We continued to keep our focus on our core customer and the quality of products we provide. Making sure we provided our customers with the products they want and need.
Jia Yan, contestant #4
Today, there are many well-known make up brands in the market which have expanded to provide a variety products that cover diverse skin colors and tones. What challenges, if any, did Zhen cosmetic products face as these products began to emerge? Hi Jia,
Being one of the first in the market place has helped us to keep our edge.We have been fortunate that we have great word of mouth among our customers. We continue to listen to our customers and what they want.Alice An, Image Director
In light of this shift in the cosmetics market how has Zhen positioned itself to stay at the forefront of ethnically targeted makeup brands?
, We have continued to try to stay involved with local community events and sponsor as many events as possible.Keeping involved with the Asian community has been our best defense.
Jennifer Lee, contestant #9
What advice would you give to someone who is interested in opening up a spa/beauty salon and possibly starting their own makeup line someday? Hi Jennifer.
Don't do it. Seriously I would advise them to have a business plan and really research the market. In this day and age of competition you must also have deep pockets and a thick skin. It is not easy. We started in 1994 and at times I still have my doubts!
Also from Joanna Fu, contestant #5
Is there anyone out there right now that you would love to have as the face of Zhen Cosmetics, and why?*****Joanna,*
I just love the idea of the everyday person. I will never forget when we first started and I used my sisters as models. The response was incredible from girls and women everywhere. They loved just seeing an Asian female being used in beauty advertisements. They also loved that it was one of the Yee sisters who helped to found the company.
Thank you Susan and Larry at Zhen Beauty for your tremendous support!
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