By Bridie Pearson-jones For Daily Mail Australia
05:42 28 May 2023, updated 05:42 28 May 2023
- Chloe Zhu founded Glowie aged 19
- In April turned over $85,000
A young Aussie woman who dropped out of university to launch her own press-on nail brand is now taking home $85,000 a month.
Chloe Zhu, 21, from Sydney, launched Glowie in 2021 when she was only 19.
Then a university student, she found she didn’t have time to get her nails done regularly like many of her friends because she was balancing her studying with various sports and extracurricular activities.
She found that press-on nails were a ‘great idea’, but when she picked some up they were poorly shaped and flew off after a few hours.
Unable to find what she wanted in the Australian market, she decided to create her own brand and spent four months researching and creating press-on nails.
So determined to start the brand, the entrepreneur wouldn’t shower for 10 days at a time, and risked $25,000 of her own money in starting the company.
‘I’ve gone from studying computer science and finance to now having started two multi-six figure businesses, all in just one year,’ she told FEMAIL.
‘And I’ve also became an influencer of sorts. I had 2,000 followers a year ago and now more than 55,000.’
Chloe said that she’s ‘always wanted to be an entrepreneur’ but had no idea what to do.
After graduating from high school, and getting one of the best HSC results in the state, she decided to set up a tutoring business.
‘With the money I saved from working 30 hours a week while at school I decided to launch my very first tutoring business.
‘That started in January 2021. I ran that for a year we enrolled more than 100 students.’
In January 2022, she sold it to her business partner.
Later, she took $25,000 of the money she made selling the company to start Glowie.
‘When I was in uni, I started seeing all my friends getting their nails done and I realised that I couldn’t because I just had so many different commitments,’ she said.
‘I’m was just working all the time. So having nail was just not practical for me’.
Chloe then discovered press-on nails while shopping at a chemist, thinking they would be ‘perfect for her’.
‘The ones that I tried. They just did not stay on, it was just such a bad experience.
‘They looked really cheap and plastic and some fell off within an hour.
‘So if I was going to an event I just had nails flying everywhere because they would not stay on’.
Chloe’s advice to young entrepreneurs
Chloe said: ‘My advice to young people, anyone that’s looking to start a business is just or do something just to start and use your resources.
‘Use the people around you use the internet, and you will find something that you’re passionate about along the way.
‘You will learn more about yourself and business.
‘My first business didn’t turn out the way that I wanted to in the sense that I just didn’t find myself enjoying it.
‘Ultimately, I just learned so much from it that it really helped from my first business.
‘If you go and start a company that might put you in the right direction and build those business foundations for the future.
‘I sold the tutoring business because I ultimately felt that I wasn’t passionate and just doing the tutoring business.
‘I do not regret it at all because I just learned so much from finding my first ever business. The reality was that it wasn’t perfect.
‘It was quite shocking with because I would go and hire friends and then I would create my own resources as it was just I think a huge learning process.
‘So my advice is always just to see what you know a lot about what you might be good at and just see like where you can maybe start a business that way.
‘I think other people have that same dilemma. You want to start a business but you don’t know what you’re going to start and how you’re going to do it. ‘
Despite her bad experience, she said that she thought press on nails were a ‘really interesting product’ that would be perfect if they worked.
‘I then started doing a bunch of research on manufacturers and trying to figure out what press on nails are out there and found there wasn’t any in Australia offering what I was looking for.
‘I got started and it was definitely really challenging as a solo founder in the beginning.
‘This is kind of gross, but funny, but I wouldn’t shower for 10 days because I was just preparing so many aspects of the business and wanting to move as quickly as possible.
‘Because of all of that I was able to launch Glowie within a span of four months’.
Chloe added that she enjoyed the design aspect the most which surprised her because she knew the least about it.
‘Growing up, I was always instilled with the value of academics, that’s why I pursued a really traditional career path originally by studying finance and computer science,’ she said.
‘I thought I was a very logical person the career path of an entrepreneur would not be the most stable and suited to me.
‘But when I started Glowie, I just realised that the aspect I enjoyed the most was actually design and the creative side.’
After a ‘very very challenging’ six months, Chloe said she felt ‘very lost’ and needed someone to ‘bounce ideas off from’.
‘I didn’t have many friends in the space because all my friends were still doing uni and working in their important corporate jobs.
‘I felt very much to learn in my entrepreneurial journey. Six months in I hired my first intern.
‘This person who is now actually my business partner.
‘She came in and she actually really helped scale the business a lot.
‘We’re mostly a two person team and we also work with different contractors.’
Chloe primarily marketed on TikTok and Instagram, and within a month of launching, Glowie had more than 100,000 followers on TikTok.
‘There was just such great reception from the audience because this was just something that was never done before,’ she said.
‘We had all these really interesting designs that were trendy at the time. Within our first 24 hours of launching, we actually did $15,000 in sales which was very unexpected.’
Chloe said: ‘As a female founder and fashion content creator, I really look up to these women as Australian entrepreneurs
- Jess Hatzis and Bree Johnson from Frank Body
- Ava Matthews from Ultraviolette
- Jane Lu from Showpo
- Iris Smit from The Quick Flick
- Nadia Bartel, Michelle Ring and Laura Broque from Henne
Soon after launching, she decided to drop-out of uni and focus on the business full-time.
She didn’t tell her parents for eight months.
‘It came out during dinner because my brother literally said to me “have you told mum and dad that you dropped out yet?”‘ she said.
‘They were really against it at first.
‘I think seeing your child graduate university is a really big moment.
‘But when they saw how much traction I was getting with Glowie, and how passionate I was about business, I think that’s when they just let me do my own thing.
‘They’re supportive now’.
At just 21, Chloe wants to focus on Glowie for at least five years before starting a new project.
She hopes to get it stocked in Mecca, Sephora and Adore Beauty – with goals of it becoming a household name such as Naked Sundays and Ultra Violette.
‘A huge goal for us would be getting into a big retailer,’ she said.
‘If you had told me a year ago that I was here now, I would have said you were crazy.’