Evenprime Unisex Skincare - Chat with Founder Koh Kim
Interview by: Emma Karla Peet
You started your company with your brother in 2017. What pushed you to start it with him?
I actually have two younger brothers and while I was going back and forth between Asia for my previous job they were still in high school, figuring out their life. They came to me often times for their acne issues and looks because they knew I was well versed in skincare. This sort of pushed me to sit down and think more methodically about the issue, asking them about their lifestyle and what they were using. They just seemed so paralyzed by the amount of choices before them that they were stumped on how to build a routine, which we ended up finding out was a common issue after talking with many of our earliest customers. The more I was thinking about it the more I began to plan out the line. I was even on a three way phone call with my brothers getting their opinion on packaging! Suddenly I found myself bringing whole suitcases of products back from Korea for my brothers and male friends who relied on me for their skincare needs.
That three way call was like the seed being planted in my mind. After I left my old job at Google I ended up taking a one year break to process what I wanted to do next in my life. While I was on break I spent a lot of time with a male youtuber and he was very focused on presentation. This also fueled the fire even more and shed light on men’s beauty concerns. That’s when I decided to start the brand.
So the brand started out as a mens brand but ended up being genderless. What does it mean for a business to be inclusive, how and why is this so important?
While there may be some biological differences between men and women, such as facial hair, the same ingredients will address those wrinkles, enlarged pores, acne scars, etc. The best way to approach skincare is not by gender, but rather by individual skin type and particular issue. Whether you're male, female, gay, straight, transgender, non-binary, alien, or earthling—skin is skin. Anyone could have dry, oily, or combination skin, acne, hyperpigmentation, large pores, etc. For this reason, we encourage our customers to learn about different ingredients in order to find products that are best suited for their needs. We try to keep our prices accessible. Good skincare habits and ingredients work more effectively when you start at a young age, and everyone deserves healthy, handsome skin.
Evenprime beauty routine seems so simplified compared to other regimens, do you think we can see more products in the future while still keeping that simplicity in mind?
The conventional beauty industry has told people for ages that you have to buy this miracle cream or apply more product. In reality, good skin comes from a routine starting with washing and moisturizing your face with sunscreen for the daytime. Once you have this foundation, you can really see what's happening with your skin and apply additional products that work with you. After all, your skincare should make you feel good and comfortable. It's been amazing getting to know our community and working with them to build our brand's future. We would not be where we are today without their support and feedback. We are developing a series of products focused on barrier recovery.
We can’t help but feel nostalgic when we browse the Evenprime IG, what played into the decision that Evenprime would use a space age, 90s, anime aesthetic within its branding?
Outer space and space travel convey a sense of hope, optimism, and progress. We want to draw a parallel between the 1960s (when designers like André Courrèges and Paco Rabanne designed collections inspired by the Space Age) to the present (where Dior collaborated with Hajime Sorayama). There is an emerging younger creative generation born and raised on the Internet, anime and video games. It’s reminiscent of how Star Wars inspired a generation. You’ll see hip-hop artists talking about Dragonball Z and Naruto. Many Hollywood A-listers like Lupita Nyong’o, Tom Holland and Michael B Jordan play video games like Final Fantasy. Nicolas Ghesquière also did that collaboration with Square-Enix a few years ago and more recently used music from Final Fantasy VIII in LV’s 2020 cruise collection. It’s an interesting time for pop culture.
What is an ingredient that is used in Evenprime that other beauty regimens maybe overlook?
Fermented ingredients are a mainstay in traditional Asian medicine. The vitamins and antioxidants created by the fermentation process help strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier. The fermentation process creates new substances (amino acids, organic acids and antioxidants) that are beneficial for the skin. They also help your skin absorb nutrients more easily and quickly. Lastly, fermentation of skincare ingredients decreases the likelihood of skin sensitization. One particular fermented ingredient, Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate, is what really got me hooked on the Asian beauty routine. Made famous by Japanese beauty brand - SK-II, this really helped me balance my sebum production and deeply hydrate and soothe my stressed skin. This ingredient is so good, that Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate - its close cousin - was developed as a dupe since SK-II patented the original ingredient.
I feel like the West is finally catching on to the fact that skincare products should be supporting your skin barrier rather than fight against it. This is where ingredient profiles matter the most.
What advice would you give to someone who is trying to start their own business these days?
I think it’s important to get to know the consumer you’re targeting before anything else. You need to identify a problem you’re trying to fix and find a solution that is better than anything else on the market. Even when we started out I reached out to all the people who bought our product one on one through email, calls, and text messages. I’d ask why they chose the product and what they were looking for. I even talked to people who never came back to my product again which was really interesting. I think just doing all that manual work is important. With all the technology at our hands it’s easy to lose a lot of the context. It’s a lot of work, but even to this day we reach out to consumers and try to get as much feedback as possible.
Kim was able to give me some samples to try. The packaging is simple, interesting and very clear about what the product is. I think it’s important to point out that the products are made in Korea, the homeland of good skincare. Also it is cruelty free, a must in my book! I especially love the small poem on each product, “A sea-loving android heard the sound of waves somewhere in an ocean of sand.” It is a nice and heartwarming touch, well embodying the feeling the brand is portraying in their aesthetics and products.
I first tried the cleansing gel, the clear gel has a clean and in no way pungent smell. When applying it I felt a cool feeling all over my skin. It really felt as though the ocean breeze was covering my skin just like the poem! After washing it off I felt my skin was tighter and cleaner. Afterwards I applied the moisturizer. It didn’t cake too much and also felt cool on my skin. It dries quickly since it’s not too thick, but still leaves your skin feeling rejuvenated. Finally, I used the soothing mist. This was a refreshing spray of what felt simply like water at first, but after touching my skin it had a bounciness to it that it lacked before as well as a freshness to it. These products are well suited for you if you prefer products that get to the point, don’t use unnecessary scented ingredients and instead focus more on the feeling of clean and fresh.
Finally I treated myself with a bath and threw in thecelestial being bath bomb! It was so cute that I was reluctant to use it actually. Usually when I’ve used bath bombs they spread out pretty quickly, adding a light color to the water and that’s that. However, I was surprised with this bomb because when I placed it in the water it was a much slower and prettier process. The colors protruded from the alien as if it was crying, it’s black tears swirling in with it’s galaxy skin as its colors stretched out into a soft purple cloud. It was mesmerizing to watch the alien merge with the water. If you want a more interesting start to your bath bomb experience, this is the way to go.