Eighteen months ago Ruby Wang launched ‘Nudie Glow’, a company focused on bringing Korean Beauty to Australian shores. Now, she’s joining the Melbourne Accelerator Program (MAP). We spoke with Ruby to find out about the road to Nudie Glow and MAP, from her days studying in the Bachelor of Commerce to her time as an Instagram influencer.
I met with Ruby first thing in the morning, over coffee in our local café. It’s a space I’ve come to realise most Melbourne entrepreneurs are happy to occupy, although there's always the inevitable question, "do they have Wi-Fi here?"
“I usually work from home, but I think it’s important to get out of the house and move ‘the office’ around as well.”
Ruby left her actuarial job two years ago, launching Nudie Glow six months later. Since then it’s been a full-time gig, with a schedule that keeps her on the move between Melbourne and Korea. It’s a lifestyle Ruby’s adapted to well, in fact, it sounds as though the freedom to operate and run a business on her own terms was one of her major motivations.
“I wanted to do something myself, so I left my corporate job. I was too scared to tell my parents I quit my corporate job, so I went travelling in Asia, and that was the first time I discovered Korean Beauty. When I came home, I did some research and I realised there was a massive gap in Australia, and that I could potentially be the one to bring Korean Beauty to Australia and educate people as to what it’s all about,” she says. “I had picked up photography as a hobby while I was working, then got on Instagram quite early, and about three years ago I became an influencer, so I had this interest in digital marketing and E-commerce. I took a course, began building a website, and started reaching out to suppliers.”
It’s clear that Ruby has a knack for identifying opportunities, and while things moved along quickly once the Nudie Glow ball was rolling, it wasn’t without a few bumps along the way.
“So not having any experience, the first thing I did was look for suppliers. I figured ‘That’s my product, I need to have something to sell’. I looked up suppliers, contacted one, then started with a small order of about $1000. I booked myself a ticket a month after I made that first order to visit them, but then they just happened be on holiday the week I was there, which seemed kind of dodgy. Anyway, I reached out to about 50 other suppliers. I had no website at this stage, nothing, I only had an idea, and about 12 of them actually agreed to meet me. That was great, but three months later – after I came home – I still hadn’t received my goods from that first supplier. They weren’t responding to my messages, so I embraced it as an educational experience, and spent three months chasing them for a refund – it all ended well, but I still learnt from the experience.”
So far, it’s been a one woman show, with Ruby often learning on-the-go and employing some invaluable skills she picked up while studying the Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Melbourne – a degree she says gave her the business skills to make Nudie Glow happen, especially when it comes to managing the business’s finance – but now she’s ready for Nudie Glow to grow, which is where the Melbourne Accelerator Program comes in.
“I joined the MAP Velocity pre-accelerator program last year, which was just a few months after I launched the business.
Now I’ve joined MAP, and I’m really excited to be a part of that community. It’s a really fantastic network to have, and the opportunities for mentorship and guidance are really important for me.
It’s still a very small business, but if I want to grow, this is the way to do it. In the next six months I’d really like to work on building a team, which will help create that growth. Eventually, I’d like to see a chain of retail locations as well, like Priceline for example, everywhere in the country.”
Find out more about how to get involved with the MAP Velocity Program.