For much of her life, entrepreneur Daisy Jing struggled with skin issues — a painful experience that cast a shadow over her formative years.
Problematic skin “is not just a physical condition,” she says. There are “confidence issues you go through when you’re not happy with your appearance. It takes a toll mentally and emotionally.”
Jing sought remedies for years, often taking to the YouTube channel she started in 2009 to share her experiences with the many products she tried. The endeavor proved educational for both her and her followers: She ultimately found long-term success keeping outbreaks and residual scarring at bay by mixing all-natural ingredients she learned about through those product trials.
Convinced she’d found a gap in the giant skincare market, she decided to package and sell the fruits of her labor — and her Pasadena, Calif.-based business, Banish, was born. Since its launch in 2012, Banish has grown into a firm that employs 13 people and pulls in several million dollars in revenue a year.
Jing’s social media presence continues to thrive as well — the YouTube channel that started it all now has almost 200,000 subscribers, and she frequently shares tips and discusses results with fans through Twitter and Facebook.
The 27-year-old entrepreneur hopes to bring her products to as many sufferers of skin issues as possible, and is determined to improve the lives of the customers she already has. Like many women business owners, Jing was driven to start up by the opportunity to solve a problem. We found through our 3-year 1,000 Stories campaign (which Jing took part in) that a solid plurality of women get into entrepreneurship for this reason.
But more than banish blemishes and the scars they can cause, Jing wants to bring to others the same boost in confidence she gained when she achieved clear, smooth skin. “The whole business came from a desire to help people,” she says.
Solving a Problem the Entrepreneurial Way
Jing grew up in Minnesota, then went to college at Duke University in North Carolina, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in economics and social psychology in 2011. She accepted a position with professional services firm Accenture right out of school, which brought her to California.
Throughout, she grappled with severe skin issues. Jing tried every product on the market, but her skin problems persisted throughout school and into her professional life. In 2012, she even met with a plastic surgeon to discuss the removal of scars left behind by blemishes. Instead of surgery, however, the doctor recommended that she look into all-natural treatments.
Inspired by the consultation and armed with years of knowledge from trial and error with beauty products, she began whipping up skincare concoctions in her own home, mixing ingredients like vitamin C and folic acid together to see if they worked on scars.
To her delight, she began to see positive results. And of course, she took to social media to promote her work. “People really, really liked it. I sold one or two here and there, and I kept selling out,” she says.
Several years later, Jing has contractors who do that mixing for her. The growth of her venture happened “organically — which I think is the best part about it,” she says. “It really speaks to a pain point and a problem. We didn’t take a product and put hundreds of thousands of dollars into marketing — we didn’t have that in the beginning. So we let the product speak for itself.”
Hurdles on the Path to Success
Scaling her business may have happened naturally, but Jing certainly faced roadblocks. Her dedication to using all-natural ingredients slowed the speed of her business’ growth, she says, and it was tough to avoid the temptation to compare her venture to competitors.
She stayed true to Banish’s initial mission, however, and to this day she remains hands-on when it comes to sourcing ingredients and forging relationships with suppliers. “Finding a really good team is important — people who believe in the mission and the vision of the company,” she says. “If you’re not careful, you can turn into a company that you didn’t set out to create.”
Jing also carefully controls the quality of her products, in part by limiting the number of products Banish offers. Her current line, including skincare kits, tops out at 23 items. “We only put the best of the best in our inventory. We focus on what we’re really good at, instead of trying to be everything to everybody.”
Being a Chinese-American woman was another obstacle. “It’s not traditionally accepted in our family for a young woman to be an entrepreneur. I had to blaze that trail. That was actually very hard for me to get over, and it was something that took a really long time,” she says.
“What I learned from the whole experience is that, you can be as negative as you want to be. I could have focused on just that problem, or others, like not having money or help. But I decided that I wouldn’t do that.”
She called this struggle with negativity her “hardest roadblock,” and says that she worked past it “on my own, without a support system.” Now, she wants “tell other people that you can do it — you just need to really be focused and positive.”
Expanding Her Audience
Going forward, Jing says there’s a central issue she intends to tackle head-on: market awareness. Many people don’t know about her products.
Her desire to expand Banish’s reach is rooted in both entrepreneurial drive and altruism. “I can see myself five years ago — bad skin, and no cure for it. I thought nothing could help me,” she says. “I’d like to reach the population that still doesn’t know about Banish and allow them to try the product.”
And she wants her customers to feel more confident — to give them “that little bit of whatever it is that they need to feel better about themselves, first and foremost,” she says. “This is not about trying to look like a model — that’s something unattainable. We want you to be comfortable with who you are, looking how you are.”