A Korean Immigrant’s Journey to Becoming a Beauty Industry Icon

Toni Ko is a first-generation Korean immigrant who has made an indelible mark in the business world as the founder of NYX Cosmetics and a champion of women-run brands.

Toni is the visionary behind NYX Cosmetics and a fierce advocate for women-run brands. With her relentless work ethic and unparalleled business acumen, she has carved a path to success that has earned her a well-deserved place among Forbes magazine’s Richest Self-Made Women.

Despite facing numerous challenges after moving to California in 1986, the language barriers and unfamiliar surroundings, she thrived on the difficulties and developed a resilient character. She drew from her family’s background in the cosmetics industry to launch NYX Cosmetics in 1999 with $250,000 in seed money from her parents. Her vision was to provide high-quality cosmetics at affordable prices, bridging the gap between luxury and affordability.

Toni used social media to propel NYX Cosmetics to remarkable success. The brand gained traction through partnerships with influential beauty creators on platforms like YouTube, capturing a younger audience and solidifying its place in the market. In 2014, L’Oréal acquired NYX Cosmetics for an estimated $500 million.

Driven by her passion for empowering women, Toni established the Toni Ko Foundation in 2014. Through this foundation, she supports organizations dedicated to uplifting underprivileged children and championing women’s empowerment. In addition, she actively invests in women-owned businesses through her venture capital firm, Butter Ventures, fostering the growth and success of fellow female entrepreneurs.

Toni has been lauded with prestigious accolades, including the WWD Beauty Inc. Brand of the Year award for NYX Cosmetics and her inclusion on Forbes’ esteemed list of Richest Self-Made Women. More than a businesswoman, Toni is a beacon of inspiration, paving the way for a future where women’s voices are amplified and their dreams are within reach.

Featured Image Source: Tatler Asia