Maree Kinder is an adoptee turned entrepreneur and the Founder of Beauty & Seoul, the original curator of South Korea’s most coveted skincare brands. Maree is a multi award-winning entrepreneur listed as 35 under 35 Women in Business by Management Today. She has been featured in Forbes, Vogue, Glamour, BBC & Refinery29.
Maree needed new updated portraits for her social profiles and for her online presence. We started our photoshoot at the AllBright private club that we are both members of and then headed to a Mayfair coffee place for my favourite window portraits. Despite the fact it was London’s heat wave that day we had a great time.
Here is my interview with Maree, sharing her journey as an entrepreneur:
What career did you have before you set up your own business, and what made you want to start it?
My background was in Loyalty Marketing and CRM. When I eventually took the plunge and quit my job to focus on Beauty & Seoul, I was actually working for the English Football Association looking after their CRM Strategy.
What was your main source of motivation when you started your own business?
I was originally adopted from Seoul, South Korea when I was a baby. I quit my job in 2016 to embark on a birth family search in Seoul and lived there for 6 months. Ultimately, the search was unsuccessful, but I utilised that time to work on a business plan to curate Korean skincare for the UK market. My main motivation for starting my business was to create a connection to my motherland, and to share that with friends and family back home in England.
How long did it take you to go from just having an idea to actually starting your business?
I first thought about starting a business aiming to introduce K-Beauty to the UK back in 2014! But at the time, I was working full time and it was just an idea. It took me two more years and a stint of living in Seoul for me to have the time and headspace to really think about the operation. We then launched in 2017.
What did you find hardest?
I think for me, the beginning stage was incredibly lonely. All of my friends are in corporate jobs and working for myself, by myself, at the beginning was really lonely. I didn’t anticipate that when I quit my day job to focus on Beauty & Seoul.
If you could go back and do it all again, would you do anything differently?
I would have joined a co-working space earlier on in my journey to build connections with other female founders.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
That time is an asset and you need to use it to really prioritise effort over gains. When I thought of my time as an asset, it really helped me re-frame my priorities. For example, I was doing all of the customer support at first but as a Founder, that really is not where my efforts are best spent.
How was your experience with the portrait photoshoot?
It was truly so relaxing and fun working with Petra, I felt so comfortable the whole shoot! I am so happy with every single photo that Petra took!
How did you prepare for the portrait photoshoot? What products did you use to have such glowing skin?
I actually did a sheetmask before the shoot! I used my favourite Dr Althea Brightening Sheetmask and made sure my skin was properly hydrated and protected before the shoot!
Do you have any pearls of wisdom for other women who have just set up their own business or are thinking about it?
Connect with others! Being an entrepreneur can be lonely but meeting with other founders can make the journey easier!
Who would be your 5 ideal dinner party guests?
Ooo that’s hard! I think it would have to be: Michelle Obama (she’s just an icon and always seems so down to earth), Son Heung Min (massive fan!), Sheryl Sandberg (her book really inspired me), Jung Kook from BTS (he’s my bias!), and maybe Taylor Swift – that’s a very random table haha!
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