I am the brand - Rachel Kum
Does putting yourself out there—name, face and reputation—come naturally for the millennial entrepreneur? And is running a business any easier if you’re a famous face or come from a prominent family? Jolene Khor hears what Rachel Kum has to say about running her namesake label.
Rachel Kum was a beauty queen even before the pageant that saw her crowned Miss Singapore Universe in 2009—beauty queen, in the sense that “I’ve loved make-up and skincare since I can remember”, she muses.
Then aged 24 and armed with a kick-ass formula for “an improved version of BB cream”, she entered the beauty pageant with a mission: travel the world, make new friends and maybe win the title while she’s at it—and to ride on any fame that came with it to finally launch her own skincare brand. In the end, she went home with more than silk sashes and stamps on her passport. The timing was perfect to jump-start her lifelong dream.
Rachel makes claim to inventing the term “CC cream”, a then-new whitening, brightening, moisturising and skin tone-correcting tinted cream, which was her first product launched. “It was a business decision,” she says of naming her brand Rachel K Cosmetics. “The image of a beauty queen was in line with the cosmetic I sold.”
Before long, her name was on society ladies’ lips, her brand was working its way to almost 10,000 likes on Facebook, and The New York Times had written a piece about her label. Then, with great fame comes great temptation. That was a time when she was young and loved the attention. “I wanted to be seen, to be known, to be famous,” she admits.
The upside of growing up really fast, was that “the gossip and stereotypes got old quickly”. She adds, “As the experience stopped being meaningful, I took a step back and examined my life. When my dad fell ill two years ago, it changed everything.”
She isn’t exaggerating. Dedicated to restructuring her life and spending more time developing the relationships that matter, the former beauty queen privatised her social media accounts in a quest to move away from the limelight. “It’s not in the news yet, but I’m in the midst of discussions to sell my brand,” she shares with Singapore Tatler. “Consider this my exit strategy, my final bow for Rachel K. It’s a bittersweet moment.”