Today we’d like to introduce you to Crystall Cho.
Crystall, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Growing up as a Korean-American where skincare is a huge priority, I can say I’ve always been into it. My grandma has been a huge advocate in skincare and so is my mom, so obviously I learn from the best! For as long as I can remember, I’ve adopted the “skin first before makeup” mentality, but it wasn’t really until I landed a job as a news anchor/news reporter and damaged my skin badly. To be in front of strong lights at the news desk or doing a live shot outside at night, I was required to wear at least four layers of foundation and three layers of powder for the matte face. With congesting my pores constantly while not getting enough sleep (the #1 tip for a healthy skin), my healthy, acne-free skin ended up being a disaster.
Once I got out of the news industry, I took a year off to really recover myself mentally (job search can wait!), physically, and really- just take a break. As I was sharing my skincare tips and routines, I’ve gotten a lot of interest from friends, family, and strangers who found me on Instagram and actually learning something from me. After realizing I may have a niche group of followers who are very interested in what I’m also interested in, I decided to switch my personal Instagram page to a beauty-focused page. It’s been about two years since I really shifted gears and I’m thankful for where I am- I’ve gotten partnership/collaboration offers from brands I’ve enjoyed using before getting into all of this for years and also have met a beautiful community that share the same interests/passion. I am most active on Instagram, especially on stories, so I hope we can connect!
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I may sound like a spoiled millennial for saying this, but it’s been a challenge more than ever to grow recently. As a marketing & communications professional (my full-time job), I know that social media is very crafty and operate based on algorithms. In the past, it was easier for people to see others’ content, but as the algorithm has gotten smarter, it’s not as easy to grow as people once did awhile back. I gained about 3K followers in less than year when I first pulled the trigger to create beauty-focused content. Fast forward to last year, gaining a good, authentic group of 1K followers has been a big challenge and it’s not just me, because I definitely see others struggling with the same problems.
The biggest reason is that there are so many others who do the same thing I do. Because the number of followers is a big factor, some people purchase bots (robot followers) and although I know Instagram is clearing these bots every now and then, it still seems to be a challenge because they do affect your account in a negative way. Another part of the algorithm is that you have to consistently post. I was once on a trip abroad where I didn’t post for a couple of days, and I had lost 200 followers (probably the biggest), so when that happens where I feel like I have to “battle” with the 1 follower or 2 followers that I gain/lose in a day, it’s very discouraging. I put a lot of work and time into the content I create and I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way!
Please tell us more about your work. What do you do? What do you specialize in? What sets you apart from competition?
I currently operate an Instagram channel called @crystallizedcho focused mainly on beauty & skincare, but I also share my personal life updates and travel diaries. This is my “side hustle,” and my full-time job is a marketing professional. I guess I can’t escape social media after all! I’m mostly known for video demonstrations where I share product textures, routines.
My loyal followers always tell me what sets me apart from others (although a lot more people have started doing this now) is that I show, more than telling what the product is all about. As a visual learner myself, I’d rather “see” what the product looks like, how it applies, rather than reading a long article about it- so obviously I try to do the same for my viewers. I can also tell from my analytics because I have way bigger numbers when it comes to my stories rather than my in-feed posts.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
I have my “dream collaboration” list of brands that I truly enjoy and also would be a DREAM to partner up with them. Surprisingly, I’ve been crossing out many on the list and that’s what also keeps me going. Although I didn’t start off hoping to make money off of my passion, it’s also become a lucrative side hustle which I am beyond thankful for. I hope to grow even more this year, share all that I have, and expand beyond beauty-focused content this year. I want to be able to share more “real-life” content that I noticed my followers truly enjoy and I believe that my authentic following will grow eventually. For now, the goal is 10K just to have that “swipe-up” feature!
- Website: www.acupofowl.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/crystallizedcho
- Other: www.youtube.com/sujjungslh