5 Life Lessons With Evereden Founder Kimberley Ho
Tips from the top
When it comes to skincare and kids, it’s a virtual quagmire of conflicting information, scary stories and false facts so when I heard about the doctor-led team behind skincare brand Evereden, who were also mothers, I knew it was one to investigate. And investigate I did and what I found was a fantastic, boutique range of products with no nasties, no scaries – just safe, pure and powerful ingredients that quite frankly do what they say they are going to.
At Evereden, there’s no sulfates, no parabens, no phthalates, synthetic fragrances, petrolatum or phenoxyethanol, meaning that there’s nothing to dry or irritate mums or babies skin. When it comes to experience, the teams boast 55 years’ experience on the Scientific Advisory Board and have been certified by five scientific organizations, agencies and watchdog groups.
So, impressed by the products and armed with questions, we chat to Kimberly Ho, Evereden founder and one of Forbes 30 under 30 winners about her five life lessons to the top.
- Have a relentless pursuit of perfection - not perfectionism at all costs, but create a company and a culture where people refuse to accept mediocrity.
It’s always a fine balance – wanting to create a culture in which people are happy and unafraid to make mistakes, but also one where we are constantly pushing ourselves from merely accepting “good enough”. But in order for any company to be successful, I think it’s important to imbue in the culture a healthy athleticism and competitiveness – we try very hard at Evereden to do this, and I think it boils down to treating each other with respect and respectfully challenging each other to be better every day.
- Lead in a way that is authentic to you. Pretending will either be extremely uncomfortable to you or come across as inauthentic to everyone else. Both suck.
When I first started Evereden, I was considered a “young” female entrepreneur. I came from Wall Street, where I was often not only the youngest but usually also the only Asian female in the room. In those rooms, I learned to adopt different postures and “leadership” styles – I would appear to be tougher, more direct, sharper and stronger in personality. But in transitioning to leading my own company, I suddenly found the freedom to be the kind of leader that made the most sense for who we wanted to be, as a brand and company. I found that the posturing of my early days made no sense – I was never going to be the kind of authoritative leader that you often see in the news – the Bezoses and Jobs’ of the world had that down and it was in their nature, I suppose – but for me, I found that coaching and softer, more empathetic form of leadership was not only most authentic to me, but also by far the most effective. I was no longer trying to be like anybody else, I was finally leading in my own skin. I believe that you are effective when you are also yourself and people trust you. By being more of a “coach” than trying to conform to people’s idea of what a “leader” is – I found myself being able to form deeper, more resilient partnerships with my team, business partners, and more.
- Be decent to people. Treat people with fairness. This does NOT mean lowering expectations or saying that mistakes don’t matter. It means creating a culture where people feel safe to make the off mistake - we are all human.
This goes back to point #1 – you are only able to drive excellence and push people to their uncomfortable limits if they trust you, and you treat them with fairness. Like any sports “coach”, I believe in pushing the team to the limits of their potential, myself included. But doing so with compassion, understanding, fairness, is the key between being an effective coach or an unreasonable leader.
- Hire people who care and people who are positive. Building a company is incredibly difficult, so having negative people on your team, or people who are only dialing it in for a 9-to-5 gig, will just never work.
In the early days of company building especially, it is essential to surround yourself with people who are in it for the right reasons – every day is difficult, so ensuring that the people you bring on are not only resilient and smart but also positive is extremely underrated. I have made the mistake of hiring experience, intelligence, and capability over positivity and cultural fit – it meant working with people who might have had the capacity to solve difficult problems, but in the end never did, because they didn’t care enough. It’s often said that experience is the most overrated thing at startups, while resilience and grit are the most underrated. I would like to add positivity to the list of most underrated – in those difficult, early days, a team’s positivity – their sheer will, creativity in solving tough, seemingly unsolvable problems – can make the difference between a start-up surviving, or dying.
- Have fun!
In business, we remember as the crushing wins and losses – but there is a whole journey in between those extremes in entrepreneurship that can be equally fulfilling yet mundane at the same time. You must love all of it to stick at building a company for so many years, so try to have fun while you’re at it, and if you find that you’re not, bring on other people who will compliment you so that you can all collectively enjoy the ride together.
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