Glowie founder Chloe Zhu talks press-on nails and running an e-commerce business

Getting your nails done every two weeks is not only tedious but time-consuming. Sitting in one spot while someone files, buffs, and paints your nails sounds like a dream, but for many, it’s anything but. 

Not to mention, how damaging it can be to your natural nails. Thankfully, press-on nails have quickly taken the world by storm, as people look for easy and convenient options that don’t break the bank.

Australian brand Glowie, founded by Chloe Zhu, is redefining press on nails, selling a range of trendy and classic styles that aren’t flimsy and actually stay on. We’ve all been there, 10 minutes after applying a set of press-ons, we see half of them on the floor because our hands came in contact with air. 

The quality of Glowie however, results in a mani that looks and feels professional. BEAUTYDIRECTORY had the opportunity to chat with Zhu about Glowie, and her journey up till now.

Take us back to the beginning — what made you want to start Glowie?

I’ve always dreamed of starting my own beauty brand ever since I was in high school. I would obsess over pretty makeup packaging but never thought it was something that would be possible for me.

The idea for Glowie first began in the 2021 lockdown, when we were all unable to get our nails done at home.

 When I went searching for some salon alternatives, I came across press-on nails at the chemist and thought they were a brilliant idea. But whilst they were great in concept, they did not work for me at all — the sizes were too big and not inclusive, they barely lasted an hour, and they also looked fake when applied.

I knew there was so much potential in this product as a pricey and time-consuming salon alternative.

So I thought — what if I was able to make press-ons in trendy designs that actually WORKED? And so, I went back home, got on my laptop, and started furiously researching the product, manufactures, trends etc. — and that’s when Glowie was born. 

What hurdles have you faced since starting your own brand?

Definitely life as a solo founder in the beginning and navigating a beauty e-commerce brand for the first time without mentors has been very challenging.

Self-doubt is one of the biggest challenges affecting founders of all ages, and it is a constant struggle to remember that every problem can always be solved with the right resourcefulness and finding the right people to guide us through them.

It’s also a heart-wrenching feeling seeing competitors copy your same branding, original designs and packaging, but I try my hardest to continue focusing on what we’re best at, and continually improving our product and putting the customers first above all else, as we wouldn’t be here without them.

What does your daily routine look like?

Every day is truly different as a business owner and content creator! But most days I either go into the office to meet up with my team or I work remotely from cafes. Other days I’m out shooting content either for Glowie or my personal brand, and attending different business/brand events!

In the mornings I like to ground myself by meditating for 20 minutes, and visualising how I’d like my day to turn out. Then I start the day by checking in with my team on Slack, getting back to emails, and assessing all areas of the business such as our finances, ad accounts, and social media.

I’m so grateful that I get to choose my own schedule every day, and decide what I want to work on! 

What would you say is the secret to your success?

There definitely is no ‘secret sauce’ to success when it comes to an e-commerce brand, but I will say that being a customer-driven brand is so so important to us. At every step of the way from our packaging, to the designs we release, to the initiatives we take on, we always consult with our customers. We still have a long way to go with our goals, so it’s a work in progress for sure!

What advice would you give to women who want to enter the beauty space?

Beauty is subjective! There’s no handbook or manual that you need to follow in order to get started in beauty – whether you’re hoping to start a brand, or start creating content online you don’t have to be an expert to get started. Just have fun with it!

Many of the most famous beauty gurus or business owners we’ve seen on the internet don’t even have a formal background in the space.

For me, I never thought I would be able to start a beauty brand because I didn’t know too much about makeup specifically, but that didn’t stop me from starting a brand that solved a personal beauty problem, but didn’t have a cosmetic formula.

What is the best beauty advice you’ve received?

Personalise your routine! Instead of just following beauty trends, I like to see how different products/beauty routines compliment my lifestyle and facial features.

Some viral products that people swear by just don’t work for me personally, and my go-to makeup products consists of a mix of both western and Asian beauty products, because some just suit my skin tone or eye shape better.

I also live and breathe my own product (shameless plug), as I can just pop on my own press-on nails for a few days or wear them for weeks at a time, and remove them when I need to for work or sport.

Shop Glowie's range of press-on nails here

Follow Chloe on Instagram here.