Lin Chen first got hooked on “natural” beauty products way back in middle school, when a friend showed her PETA pamphlets about how some mainstream brands were tested on animals (“I’m a huge animal lover,” she explains). Fast-forward two decades and Chen had built a successful career working for ethical, cruelty-free brands in the beauty industry.
Then, in 2017, Chen started thinking about starting her own company. At the time, she was just getting out of a toxic relationship and finding refuge in self-care rituals. She felt strongly that the narrative around beauty needed to change from anti-aging to “self-love and taking care of yourself emotionally, mentally, and physically,” she explains. She also happened to be in a risk-taking mood. “I made a list of things I wanted to do that were outside my comfort zone,” she recalls. “Starting a company was one of them” (also on the list: travel solo).
“I wanted to help women cultivate a healthy narrative about themselves using skincare.”
—Lin Chen, founder of Pink Moon
So she quit her full-time job and launched Pink Moon, a consultancy for small ethical beauty companies. “I wanted to specifically work with smaller brands that didn’t have the budget to hire someone full-time,” Chen explains. She also—after years of working with men—wanted to work exclusively with women. “Working with female-founded brands allows Pink Moon to live our values as a company,” she says, “while making the beauty industry a more female-led space.”
In 2020, Chen took another leap. She had long dreamed of starting her own skincare line but kept the idea “on the back burner” until she was more financially stable. Now she finally had the money to self-fund a curated retail site (featuring many of her clients) and her own “slow beauty” line, comprising aromatic face oils, essential oils, aromatherapy face masks, and gua sha stone tools inspired by her Chinese heritage. “It’s really just an extension of my mission about self-love and compassion and inclusivity and just inspiring women to take care of themselves,” she says.
On the site and via her own line, Chen wants to cut down on waste and customer confusion by offering versatile, multifunctional basics, “so you don’t need so many products,” she says. But more than anything, she wants Pink Moon to make women feel good. Because she still remembers vividly when beauty didn’t make her feel good. “I grew up with my aunt bringing me whitening creams from Taiwan,” she recalls, “and being like, ‘It’s not good to have freckles as an Asian woman.’”
Chen is encouraged by how the narrative is already shifting. “We had someone say, ‘Your oil makes me feel beautiful,’” says Chen. “I love hearing things like that, where people are thinking, I’m enough. Or, I don’t need ten different products and Botox. I don’t need that to feel good about myself.”
Best advice for entrepreneurs?
“Surround yourself with a support network. This can include your friends and family, mentors, advisors, attorneys….people who will be on your side and cheering you on.”
What’s one product you always recommend to others?
“Our Rose Quartz Gua Sha Tool is a lovely gift for anyone, especially for those who want to incorporate more self-love rituals into their daily life.”
What’s something that inspired you recently?
“Rupi Kaur is a big inspiration to me. Her words of prose are beautifully written and just so raw. I love these, for example:
what is the greatest lesson a woman should learn
that since day one
she’s already had everything she needs within herself
it’s the world that convinced her she did not”
(Rupi Kaur, The Sun and Her Flowers)