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SMALL BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT: TALKING NATURAL BEAUTY WITH HONEY BELLE'S FOUNDER IRIS CHERNG

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When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. When life gives you psoriasis, you start a natural beauty brand—or at least that's what Iris Cherng did! And so, Honey Belle was born out of Iris's kitchen when she set out on a mission to create natural, organic products which would target specific skin problems and would be more affordable to the masses than that type of product usually is. Read on to learn more!
  

  
What makes your products unique compared to other natural beauty brands?
What makes Honey Belle different than other natural beauty brands is that each ingredient and each product is catered and designed specifically to help and target a certain skin issue that people deal with. A bit behind why we started: In 2013, my mom started developing skin allergies to department-brand products. My parents are both holistic doctors of natural medicine, so my mom realized she could use her knowledge about herbs . Shortly after, I developed psoriasis. I then became OBSESSED with reading EVERYTHING on my beauty bottles, but I realized everything natural + organic out there was really expensive-- especially as a broke college student. So I started hitting the kitchen and making my own recipes to help out my own skin problems (acne, acne scarring, blackheads, dark circles- basically what every young woman deals with!) Another big thing difference in our business model is that our products are affordable! Everything ranges from $5 retail to $34, and we price our products with the consumer in mind, since our goal is to create a greater access to natural/organic products to the public.
  
  
What Honey Belle products do you use in your daily regimen?
I pretty much use all the products! My facial routine is a 5 step process. 1- cleanse ( makeup remover / foaming facial soap) 2- detox (I exfoliate with our coffee and matcha scrubs, then mask with our charcoal or matcha mask!) 3- tone (facial tonic when I’m feelin' quick and easy, and our FLORA rosewater toner when I’m feelin' a bit more extra) 4- nourish (this is where I use my acne serum for blemish control and acne spots), and 5- moisturize (I like using our ELIXIR hemp facial oil!). On a daily basis for quick pampering, my basic steps are 1, 3, and 5!
    
What's your favorite product you offer right now?
Ah that’s hard to say! I have a couple of favorites: the rose foaming soap, FLORA rosewater toner, the matcha mask, and our ELIXIR. But if I had to choose ONE, my current fave product is our ELIXIR facial oil. It’s just so easy as a moisturizer and gives me that all-over glow. I have combination skin, so it really helps my skin to become more balanced when it’s too oily, or when it’s too dry. It’s like a 5-in-1 for me especially when I travel.. because it doubles (or I guess quint-bles?) as a makeup remover / oil cleanser, facial serum, moisturizer, cuticle repairer, and hair treatment….
  
 
  
What made you decide to do something to give back to the community? I love that you donate one body soap for each one bought!
Aw, thank you! Our #SoapsforSouls Passion Project (where every soap purchased, one is donated) was born out of an accidental turn into the Skid Row area of Downtown Los Angeles. I saw a whole community out there, and I saw that they needed me. I thought to myself—'Well, what can I do to help them? I have lots and lots of soap.  Soap will help them get clean and help stop the contamination of diseases!' So we ended up starting this project in 2015, and have been continuing ever since! We work with downtown homeless shelters, and also work with a medical group that travels the world on medical missions to countries such as Guatemala, Nepal, Peru, Vietnam, Burma to make a difference in generating health and compassion across the world.
  
  
What is it like to be business partners with your boyfriend?
Working with Calvin is so fun! It’s challenging, but fun! In the beginning, it was a bit hard to be discussing major business decisions with him because of all the emotion we were bringing into our conversations, so what we did was we started separating business life and personal life. When we got busy with being full-time in our business life, we realized that our personal relationship was taking a downfall. So NOW we've learned to integrate being lovers as part of our business relationship, and it has been so incredible to be growing and overcoming challenges with someone that I have an emotional connection with.
  
  
What advice do you have for girls who are looking to get into the natural beauty industry?
My advice is to know what you’re doing before heading in! Mine started as a hobby, and then I started pushing for it to become our full-time gig, and it wasn’t until a couple years ago where I realized I wanted it to become serious. I wish someone had taught me more about the business side. Running something like this is definitely not all fun and games, and not as glorious as you see on social media. There’s a lot of other things like business law, taxes, employee rights, accounting, etc… But as far as the natural beauty industry specifically? What I would say is to start doing some research, read and observe about other businesses in the natural beauty industry, and attend trade shows like Expo West to get yourself more educated!
  
  
You're also a life coach now! Can you tell us about that?
Yes! Through my entrepreneurship journey, it’s been SUCH a ride! So many ups, downs, and more downs. Of course, on social media it’s more common to see celebrations over failures, and in this day and age, sometimes no one knows where to turn to for advice. I’ve discovered that what drives me is helping people uncover what’s stopping themselves from getting what they want. So when I realized that that’s what fulfills me, I started offering my time, listening, and guidance to others. Most my clients right now are business owners as well, and it’s been so amazing to be able to contribute to and help! I offer free advice and discovery calls, and for anyone that’s interested in gaining some insight about achieving what it is that they really want, you can just DM me on Instagram @iris_honeybelle. Discovery calls with me always result in a breakthrough in some shape, way, or form, so just holla at me because I would love to chat!
  

  
What's next for Honey Belle?
For 2018, we're looking at scaling the company and working with national distributors to carry and offer our product line. Some questions we would like to answer: How can we bridge the gap between us and large retailers, increase our professionalism, as well as keep our Team strong and healthy? We’re also working on some new products, so follow us on Instagram for some giveaways, sneak previews, and exclusive promos! Find us and let’s be friends :) @honeybelleshop
Shop Honey Belle HERE

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