How to create a trusted, believable, and beloved brand, with Joyce and Jenny Tse, and Chaya Weiner

Chaya Weiner
Oct 24 · 8 min read

It’s always a good idea to have open communication with your community. Whether it’s family, friends, other business relationships or mentors, always keep an open mind. Discuss ideas and learn new things from others. You’ll be surprised how often we drive ourselves into a dead end by trying to stick too closely with the established brand image! Take a step back, receive feedback and brainstorm, and that’s how you’ll get some fresh ideas.

As part of our series about how to create a trusted, believable, and beloved brand, I had the pleasure to interview Joyce and Jenny Tse, co-founders of Velvette. Chemical Engineer Joyce and Accountant Jenny Tse are sisters, but they are also the Co-founders of Velvette. Ever since they were little kids, they were interested in beauty. Shocked at the number of filler and harmful ingredients found in beauty products on the marketplace, they created their own skin & hair care products in order to take full of control of what they put on themselves.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Ever since we were young, we’ve been interested in beauty! We were shocked and frustrated with the number of harmful and filler ingredients we found, so we created our own skin and haircare products in order to take full of control of what we put on ourselves.

Not only were we interested in beauty as little kids, we were serial entrepreneurs, from garage sales to eBay, to tech startups and more! In University, Jenny studied Accounting and Joyce studied Chemical Engineering. Velvette was the perfect outlet for our interests, backgrounds and skills.

Can you share a story about the funniest marketing mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Back in 2017 when we first launched, we thought internet marketing was everything and that “if we build it, they [customers] will come”! We built a beautiful website, took pretty pictures of our Premium Hair Oil (the first and only product we had initially), and ran a video ad campaign featuring how to use our hair oil. We couldn’t be more wrong! Aside from a few sales from friends who had supported us, all our efforts were futile.

As a new brand, we realized we had to create a loyal base of fans and to truly understand what appealed to our customers. That meant attending markets, pop-ups, and shows in person to meet potential customers, to share our story and to let them sample our products! We then signed up for numerous shows and markets all over North America, which proved to be an invaluable experience! As a new brand it’s important to be able to understand your customers and meet with them to hear their feedback, comments and suggestions! We were excited to be able to meet our lovely customers, and also other brand owners at these shows who gave us helpful industry advice.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Our oils leave a soft, non-greasy and sticky finish like no other! Many other oils on the market use often use cheap filler ingredients and oils which feel oily or are pore clogging. We’ve chosen specific ratio of different plant oil types to leave the best possible texture for each application. We are the only company in the world to feature a range of facial oils ranging from lightest to richest! Because we use so many unique ingredients, we can create oil blends with vastly different textures.

Many other oil companies use the same bases, often which are cheap filler soybean or mineral oils. Sometimes, especially for haircare, silicones are used in place of oils, with the active oil ingredients often making less than 5% of the entire product! Many of the main oil bases we use for our oil blends are very exotic and and are rarely found so high on the ingredient list. We like to showcase the many different plant oils that exist in the world, and have used in high concentrations, oils like argan, borage, cranberry, pomegranate, rosehip, baobab and more.

Our formulas are also one of a kind, formulated by our Co-founder Joyce, who has a background in Chemical Engineering!

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

We’re currently working on updating our packaging, and we’re also looking into expanding our product offerings. Throughout our business journey, we’ve learned so many new things about the beauty industry and characteristics of our target market, that we’ve realized there’s so much more we can offer in education through our brand as a channel! There’s so many misconceptions and misleading advertisements in the beauty industry, that we felt compelled to create and expand our own line of natural, organic, and safe beauty products.

Ok let’s now jump to the core part of our interview. In a nutshell, how would you define the difference between brand marketing (branding) and product marketing (advertising)? Can you explain?

Brand marketing is about your company vision, values — what the brand wants to achieve and why it exists, whereas product marketing is about product features, and how it can benefit the consumer.

Can you explain to our readers why it is important to invest resources and energy into building a brand, in addition to the general marketing and advertising efforts?

Building a brand properly is setting a foundation for every decision that your business makes. It creates a personality that all your products and services are built upon and is the core thing about your brand that resonates with your most loyal customers. Branding is so important as it’s communicating a consumer’s agreement with your vision and values when they use your products.

Can you share 5 strategies that a small company should be doing to build a trusted and believable brand? Please tell us a story or example for each.

Influencer strategy: having the right influencers with similar values promote your products. Example: we recently worked with Kristen Arnett, a celebrity green-beauty makeup artist, for a promotional makeup tutorial video. It was very in line with our branding, and helped us generate additional interest in our brand.

Sharing your story: tell people how your company began, and what inspired it by communicating your values and beliefs. Example: your website’s ‘About’ page is a great place to introduce your brand and company.

In-person attendance at events: Allows your customers to hear the brand story from the creators and be able to feel the passion behind the brand and products. Example: We did many events at our retailer’s stores, to introduce the brand to the local community and gain recognition.

Sending samples and materials to media: The best way to spread your story to new eyes, with the media’s large distribution channels. Example: It generally takes 7–8 exposures to a beauty brand before a customer purchases your products. Media is a great channel to pique their curiosity in your product offerings.

Education: Explores the technical aspects of your brand that makes you competitive and lets customers see and understand what makes your products unique. It also helps to educate retailers on understanding your brand better and be able to sell it more effectively. Example: Our products use premium ingredients in extremely high concentrations. Educating the customers on these ingredients will help them understand the benefits that the product can provide them.

In advertising, one generally measures success by the number of sales. How does one measure the success of a brand building campaign? Is it similar, is it different?

The success of a brand building campaign can come in many forms. In our perspective, it comes from the increase of customers promoting your products on social media, recommending it to friends, talking about your story, and especially in repeat customers. Their loyalty to your brand is a powerful indicator that they not only love your products, but also the brand behind it.

What role does social media play in your branding efforts?

Social media has been extremely vital! We use it to keep in touch with existing customers, and as a tool to introduce our brand to new markets. It’s been very helpful for testing advertising methods and narrowing down our target market. We also use it to do promotions, giveaways, and other fun interactions with our target market.

What advice would you give to other marketers or business leaders to thrive and avoid burnout?

It’s always a good idea to have open communication with your community. Whether it’s family, friends, other business relationships or mentors, always keep an open mind. Discuss ideas and learn new things from others. You’ll be surprised how often we drive ourselves into a dead end by trying to stick too closely with the established brand image! Take a step back, receive feedback and brainstorm, and that’s how you’ll get some fresh ideas.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

I’m a strong believer that education can have the greatest impact! As they say, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Whatever your beliefs are, providing education on it can not only increase awareness, it can create interest and passion.

Can you please give us your favorite ”Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them” — Walt Disney

Most beauty brands are owned by the same few companies, so to many it may almost seem crazy or impossible to compete against them as a small niche player. We come from humble beginnings, with no connections or pre-established networks in the beauty industry, but dream of bringing our organic, natural, simple, effective and luxurious products globally! We’ve only just begun on our journey, and it’s been exciting to see it gain traction as we progress further. We hope that consumers will no longer have to worry about finding harmful ingredients in their beauty products, and that organic and natural become more mainstream day by day.

We are blessed that very prominent leaders in business and entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you would like to have a lunch or breakfast with? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. :-)

Sara Blakely! We relate so much with her stories from her early days and it gives us so much hope and inspiration whenever we feel like things are going wrong (which happens all the time for us entrepreneurs)! It would be amazing to meet her and learn more from her stories in person!

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Please check out our Instagram and Facebook @LoveVelvette 😊!

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

Chaya Weiner

Written by

Director of branding & photography at Authority Magazine’s Thought Leader Incubator, helping leaders establish a brand as a trusted authority in their field

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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