“It’s ironic that your most precious family member whose skin is categorically defined as weak is not given the most innovative skincare.”
Drug store shelves today are packed with products claiming to be “natural,” “clean,” and “organic.” But what does that really mean? Enter Kimberley Ho, founder of the family skincare brand, Evereden. Ho was working in finance with some of the world’s leading skincare brands when she began to question how safe the products in her bathroom really were. “We hear about quality control issues, manufacturing issues, and the big talcum powder lawsuits,” Ho told KCM. “But that’s really the tip of the iceberg.”
In 2018, Ho left Wall Street to launch Evereden, her line of baby skincare products. “Baby skin is about 10% the thickness of adult skin,” Ho explained. “I didn’t understand why the most precious family member was not given the best skincare.” We spoke with the Evereden founder about what inspired her to take the leap from finance to baby skincare.
Katie Couric Media: You worked as an investment banker for Goldman Sachs before launching Evereden. What inspired you to switch your focus to family skincare?
Kimberley Ho: I was at Goldman Sachs in New York City for about two years. And then I moved to a private equity investment firm where I was essentially investing in a lot of the big beauty and skincare brands that you and I probably use. And that was where I really discovered things behind the scenes that made me question whether these so-called “clean” and “natural” brands were as safe as they claimed to be. I continued to see the same old quality control issues, manufacturing issues, and the big talcum powder lawsuits that we hear about in the news. That’s the very tip of the iceberg. After a while, I got pretty jaded with that whole industry.
Three years ago, I decided to quit finance and start Evereden, which is a clean family skincare brand. I really wanted to create a new standard in skincare — not just for one member of the family, but truly for the entire family.
You launched with a line of baby skincare products. Why did you begin your family skincare line by focusing on babies?
In finance, I saw a lot of companies that were in the baby skincare space and they weren’t as safe and natural as they claimed to be. It’s a billion-dollar market in the U.S. and certainly globally, but at the same time, when you look at the R&D investment dollars going into baby skincare compared to women’s skincare, it was tiny. It wasn’t even a 10th of what was going into women’s skincare. Every day I would see a new brand popping up on Instagram for women and you see some new proprietary technology to improve wrinkles, to improve eye bags, and to lift one’s face. But you see none of that innovation in baby skincare.
Ironically, babies have much more vulnerable skin. Their skin is about 10% the thickness of adult skin. It’s very prone to absorption of bacteria, harmful chemicals, and just the environment. That’s why babies are always prone to eczema and irritation. I didn’t understand why the most precious family member whose skin is categorically defined as weak is not given the most innovative or the best in new skincare technology.
How are Evereden’s products different from some of the other leading skincare brands out there?
For most skincare brands, their formulas were created decades ago — literally like 40 to 50 years ago. And they’ve hardly been updated. The ingredients list is very similar to when our grandmothers and mothers used them. Evereden prides itself on the fact that we are made by mothers in medicine. We have three doctors — they’re dermatologists who are also moms — who lead our research and development team. They approve every single ingredient and product that goes out there.
The second thing that differentiates us is the fact that we are plant-based, but also heavily driven by science. So this combination of botanical formulas plus that science element is something that’s very unique to Evereden. Most of our competitors talk about being natural and being organic, but what does that even mean? Just because something is natural, doesn’t mean it’s safe. Poison Ivy is natural, but it’s definitely not safe. So I think there’s a lot of greenwashing that’s happening in the skincare space in general — not just in baby skincare. People use catchphrases like natural, organic, sustainable, but it doesn’t mean anything. At Evereden, we try to use plant-based ingredients where we can, but we also use great synthetic ingredients that are scientifically proven to be great for skin.
When a new parent is at a drugstore, what are some ingredients that they should really look out for on skincare labels?
Synthetic fragrance is a big one. It is really difficult for consumers to understand what’s behind a fragrance. When it says ‘fragrance’ on the ingredients list — behind that one word is dozens, or maybe even hundreds of ingredients that make up that fragrance. And you don’t know if those ingredients are safe or unsafe.
There are some preservatives that have been proven to be really harsh for baby skin. Phenoxyethanol is one. Parabens are well-known preservatives that have been used for decades and decades. They’re in a lot of high-end women’s skincare products, but they are shown to cause a lot of health issues.
You also probably want to think twice about using lavender oil and tea tree oil. These are perceived to be natural and safe and commonly used in a lot of baby products. But lavender has been shown in a lot of recent research to cause not only irritation but hormonal disruption in young boys, which is pretty scary.
For new parents out there, what Evereden products do you recommend starting with?
For pregnant moms, our Golden Belly Serum is one of our top sellers. It’s perfect to use during pregnancy as well as postpartum. It was also designed with some of the ingredients that you would normally see in luxury facial serums.
For the babies, our Foaming Baby Shampoo and Wash is very popular. It’s made with coconut water and coconut juice. You’re essentially bathing your baby in this very nourishing, lightweight foam. Our Nourishing Baby Face Cream is also extremely popular.
What’s one thing you wish you knew when you were getting started in your career?
At Evereden, it is crucial for everyone to be a team player in order for us to achieve what we set out to do. I truly understand the importance of being a team player versus an individual all-star. I would tell my younger self that it’s more important to be a team player in any team and company than being that individual rockstar. For some (and myself) this takes a bit of knowledge unraveling as we’ve been trained in our school years to chase mostly personal accomplishment.
I also wish I knew the importance of networking in my early career. I started my career on Wall Street where many of my peers and bosses are now doing extremely interesting things. Sometimes it is easy to focus on your own goals and career path versus intentionally carving time to build those networks, but I’ve seen the importance of it later in my career.
Is there a woman who inspired you to launch Evereden?
My mother! She started her business when she was 6-7 months pregnant with me, in a shoddy and dingy room with very little savings. She came from a poor family and there was no such thing as VC or investors in 1980s Malaysia. She put all she had into the business and grew it to become one of the largest printing companies in the country, and later sold it. She had an incredible work ethic and drive, and I’m thankful to have grown up with such a powerful female figure in my life early on.
Who is a fellow female entrepreneur today who inspires you?
Katrina Lake, CEO of Stitch Fix. She built an innovative business model few men (investors) took seriously in the beginning stages. She later became one of the youngest women to take a company public, which is inspiring. Listening to her interviews, I really admire her intelligence and execution skills in creating this business opportunity, as well as her down-to-earth personality and humility.