Kim-Van Dang: Turning a Passion into Profitable Beauty Businesses (Parts 1 &2)
Updated: Jan 14
Stay tuned for a 2-part Master Class on having a stellar beauty career.
In this episode, I am joined by Kim-Van Dang, the former beauty director of In Style, who talks to me about her impressive editorial career and how it led to her becoming a serial entrepreneur. I call her the CEO of many things, and you'll find out why.
In this first episode, Kim shares her love of magazines and her determination to land a summer job at a publication. After being turned down for several positions, she landed a job at the LA Bureau of WWD/W. She shares how she made herself an invaluable team member and found opportunities to expand her role. After graduating college, she landed a job at the Orange County Register. Kim talks about how learning to be a hard news reporter added to her skills toolkit.
She shares how the Fairchild Publication job that didn't pan out resulted in her pivot to beauty at WWD. Learn how her job there led to stints at Good Housekeeping and In Style.
And she'll share how fragrance has been an essential throughline in her life, starting with that first bottle of Jean Naté. And one of her new favorites, Strange Love perfumes' Fall into Stars.
In part 2, you'll learn about her pivot into entrepreneurship and the three amazing businesses she is running.
This is part 2 of an interview with the amazing Kim-Van Dang, the former beauty director of Instyle turned serial beauty entrepreneur. In this episode, Kim and I chat about how her love of fragrance helped her build profitable beauty businesses.
Kim could see the writing on the wall before she decided to leave In Style. The internet and its impact on print publishing were going to change things significantly. So she began thinking about her next gig. She realized that she often gave free advice to CEOs about products, from naming to strategy and distribution, and it helped them make millions while she got a chicken salad lunch. That gave her the idea to launch KVDNYC, a 360-degree branding agency with an editorial edge. She worked with all the big brands: Estee Lauder, L'Oreal, P&G but was more gratifying was working with startup founders like Francesco Clark of Clark Botanicals to bring their brands to market. But then the 2008 recession hit and the phone stopped ringing.
But it was a package from the perfumer Francis Kurkdijan that set her off into new areas of business with her new husband, Anthony, fragrance distribution. She shares how she got the Maison Francis Kurkjian line into Bergdorf and Neiman-Marcus during a challenging recession. Other brands came calling too like Cire Trudon and Coqui Coqui among others. Then came her retail store, Havens in Sag Harbor, NY.
But her love of fragrance also inspired Kim to create an eponymous home line that has just launched in Bergdorf Goodman, Van Dang Fragrances. Find out what inspired the line, what makes it unique, and its cosmic appeal.
Other stores that carry the line will include:
Follow Kim on Instagram:@kvdnyc, @ilovehavens @vandangfragrances
Photo credit: Alise Van Hecke