Long post today, which will eventually discuss a great new product I love. But first, an intro of the product’s founder and my dear friend.
Who is Irene and What is Box?
Irene started off as Ken’s friend, not mine. Back in 2004, Ken was on Wall Street and worked at Lehman Brothers, and Irene became one of his closest work friends. He purposely did not introduce me to her because he knew that we would instantly become joined at the hip and just gab like silly girls. But finally, we met, and Ken was right.
Irene is exactly what you think she would be like, and at the same time, the exact opposite. She is Korean, girlie, loves Hello Kitty, feminine, a little ditzy, and obsessed with pink (her guitar is a pink hello kitty guitar, true story). So on the surface just meeting her, you think you know what she is like. But then, it’s not. She is hands down, one of the funniest, smartest, most sincere, loveable, loving, thoughtful people you will ever encounter. If she could give you her leg, she would. She is the type that always comes over with a gift — like a mug that says “forever friends” in some foreign language, or some wacky t-shirt because it made her think of you. Outside of gift giving, she has every good quality that you want in a friend. When she moved from NYC to San Diego, I cried. I still cry when I think how far away she is. Also, I swear that she makes my ab muscles strong when I hang out with her because she makes me laugh like no other. She is just so flipping hilarious.
Born and raised in San Diego from Korean parents. Went to Wellsley College (class of 1999). Then Columbia Business School (Class of 2005) — where she went to a lecture from Mrs. Natori, before she knew that she would become friends with Ken and me. She worked at Lehman Brothers from 2005-2008 (RIP) and then Barclays until 2010. Then Front Range Companies until 2012. She is married to a blondie that reminds me of one of the Twin Brothers in “The Social Network.” They have the cutest little (not little in size, little in age) baby girl, Phoebe.
Meet her company. Box Intimates.
Box Intimates makes natural wipes for your most intimate parts. The wipes are slightly scented with rose petals and blended with organic natural cleansers. They are sold in beautiful, glamorous, discreet luxury packaging,
The wipes are 100% natural, 100% biodegradable, naturally preserved, paraben-free, soy-free, petrochemical-free, animal ingredient-free, mineral oil-free, sulfate-free, artificial detergent-free, fragrance-free, and pH balanced to accommodate the sensitive needs of your body. Just crushed rose petals and water, that’s it. Simple, easy-peasy.
Q&A with Irene about Box Intimates
How did you come up with this idea?
Like many products, Box Intimates went through several iterations…in 2008, two of my good friends and I came up with the idea to create feminine products that were beautifully packaged. The idea being that we were sick of our under sink cabinets overflowing with all of those “things” that women need on a monthly basis because we were too embarrassed to have them on our bathroom shelves for the world to see. An early vision of our idea was to create a *box* to put tampons in since the hardest part of my job at the time (trading floor at Lehman brothers), was transporting tampons across the trading floor (in my socks on stuffed up my suit sleeve). When the husband of one of my friends pointed out how absolutely perfect the name Box was for our product, we knew we had to do something with it. The other two girls are successful entrepreneurs and business women in their own right, and in the end, I branched out on my own, but they are still very much a sounding board and support system for me.
Why did you come up with this idea?
I am addicted to wipes. All kinds of wipes. The more wipes the better. Hand wipes and face wipes were all packaged so beautifully, but feminine wipes were, well, creepy and too obvious. I felt like they screamed, “hello everyone. I have an announcement to make. I just want everyone to think that I have a problem down here. Don’t mind me…just going about my business with my super tacky feminine wipes.” No. Women don’t use these wipes because there is a problem down there, they use them because they care about all aspects of their personal maintenance. We don’t get manicures because we have to, we get manicures because we want to. Because it makes us feel put together. So I wanted to create wipes that IF they fell on the floor (even the trading floor!), I wouldn’t step over them and say, “weeeeeeeird. where did those come from???”.
What are some of your inspirations?
As far as the packaging goes, Box Intimates took inspiration from Tocca candles and the iconic macaroon establishment, L’aduree. We wanted something that was ultra feminine but with a twist. I absolutely love the filigree along the four corners and in the “O” of our logo. If you look carefully, you can see silhouettes of women interwoven in the design. This is our homage to females. Some have said that there is a bit of goth in our design, and I’m ok with that. I like that people read different feelings into the design. When creating the formulation, I took inspiration from Haagen Dazs Ice Cream. Maybe it was because I was super preggo and eating a pint of it each night, but I felt very strongly about keeping the ingredient list short and simple. No unnecessary chemicals, NO fragrance chemical if it wasn’t 100% natural. The all natural/fragrance free aspect is very important to me. After I gave birth to my daughter, I was, uh, pretty messed up. The thought of using a chemical laden product was unthinkable.
What are your next steps?
I have so many plans, ranging from the simple to simply outrageous. I keep a notebook in the car because that’s when ideas pop into my head (probably makes my husband pretty nervous to read this). But realistically, because I am a small company, my vision is to grow slowly, along the lines of new scents and different types of dispension methods (like a soft pack). A portion of all profits goes to female focused charities as you may know, and a long term goal of mine is to one day be a meaningful sponsor to a charity that helps move women causes forward.
Is it hard to go from wall street to mom street and fit Box Intimates in?
YES. It is so hard! In one year, I quit my job, got married, moved across the country, and had a baby. Oh yeah, and started Box Intimates. Whenever I hear someone say, “oh, she did it all”, I raise an eyebrow. NOT because i don’t think women can’t do it all (we obviously can), I just don’t think it’s possible to do it all AT THE SAME TIME. The decisions that we face become increasingly complicated and non linear decisions. Sometimes, I feel like my life is one big “Sliding Doors” moment…it’s a collection of near misses and forgone opportunities. Quitting my job on wall st. was at once liberating and confining – it’s difficult to explain. Motherhood for me can be described in a similar way. Having box intimates is great because I drive my workload and can prioritize my child above all else, but I do miss the camaraderie of a larger organization. I’m still figuring it out.
What do you think is the most important aspect of your product? What sets it apart from other things similar on the market?
Box Intimates is different because it creates the intersection between beautiful packaging and all natural formulation. Have you noticed that so often the two do not co-exist? I wanted to create something that you could leave on your vanity table and it blend seamlessly with the other products in your beauty regimen. Try doing that with your standard box of tampons. Easiest game of “which of these are not like the other?” EVER.
Was this always your dream? And what *is* your dream?
My dreams don’t revolve around my occupation. Though actualizing Box Intimates is certainly a major goal I had, my dream is to be a good person who continuously reinforces, edifies, and builds upon my relationship with my husband, my daughter, my family, and my friends. It can be challenging as we all get busier and more wrapped up in our own lives/issues/whatever, but it is important to try. I have certainly not always been successful, but I am always aware of how important it is to try.
What have people’s reactions been to your product — both professionally (stores, places that would buy it) and personally (your husband and parents)?
My dad thinks it’s soap. I left it at that. My mom loves the product and the all natural aspect of it. My husband gets a kick out of the name and I swear his favorite part is seeing the look on people’s faces when I’m telling someone that I make feminine wipes called Box Intimates. As far as stores are concerned, I have yet to find a place that hasn’t raved about the packaging. I was a little apprehensive about the cheeky name, but it has been fully embraced. There are a lot of double entendres out there in the beauty world! They love the fact that the packaging is scented, but the actual wipe is not overly so. Because I used to be in financial sales, the sales process is very familiar to me – I feel lucky to have that skill set. I am expanding slowly because I have limited time on my hands, but my hit rate has been very high – I am shocked and totally honored.
As someone who loves beauty products, what is your absolute favorite beauty product that you can’t live without?
My ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY FAVORITE beauty product is my Chanel eye make up remover. I don’t know what is in it, but it is like magic in a bottle. I wear a lot of eyeliner(dark blue) and I have found that every other eye make up remover is either not effective or too greasy.
Oh, man, can I sneak another must have product in there? Shu Uemura false eyelashes. they are transformational. I get the least outrageous ones (soft cross false eyelashes) but I once knew a korean girl who would wear false eyelashes that were (i’m not kidding) 2 inches long. She was like an asian snuffleupagus. It was amazing.
What are your three favorite items in your bathroom closet?
1) Aveeno Lotion (the only thing that keeps my very dry skin super soft)
2) Sulwhasoo Liquid Cleansing Foam (Sulwhasoo is an amazing Korean company – you can get it at Bergdorf now)
3) Yu- Be Lip Therapy (I put it on every morning and every night)
4) (sorry, I can’t help it). Chanel Jouse Contraste Powder blush. I use Rose Petale. Probably too much of it, but ilove rosy cheeks. you know when people say they feel naked without their mascara? I feel that way about my blush.
What do you look for in a beauty product (when you buy it)?
I’m a sucker for packaging. it’s true. It has to catch my eye. I also make sure that it’s free of icky stuff. Like, parabens, sulfates, animal ingredients. I find that my skin reacts most favorably to all-natural products.
What is your favorite spa on the east coast? west coast? why?
East coast…definitely hands down the spa at Blackberry Farm. I went there as part of our honeymoon cross country trip, and didn’t want to leave. It was a perfect mix of rustic and luxurious. Take me back! West coast…ok, this is going to make me sound incredibly spoiled, but I have a masseuse come a few times a month to get the knots out of my back from wearing my baby all day long. If you want the name of the best masseusse ever, write me. I’m serious, she will change your life. but you have to come to San Diego.
SOOOOO……if you now love Irene as much as I do, and you think her product sounds interesting and up your alley, go to her website and buy NOW!. For you, for your sister, for your mom, for your colleague (but probably not for your mother-in-law though). You can also buy Box Intimates at various spas and stores around the country, such as Belezea Beauty Spa (NYC), Stript Wax Bar (LA), Harmony Health and Beauty (JFK and LAX airports), WAX (Atlanta), Haven (NYC) and many many more!!! I promise you will not be disappointed. Also:
Like on facebook: Box Intimates
Follow on Pinterest: Box Intimates
Irene and Box Intimates will make you laugh and feel good. So follow!
Have a great week! And remember…