Heavy on fashion talks to Courtney Haley of 10th studio

Hello all my fashion divas and gurus! As you know, I am all for fabulous beauty products. Well today I am happy that I had the chance to chat with the creator of 10th studio, Courtney Haley. Courtney started a truly innovative company that showcases great beauty products from all over the world to the United States! As you all know, I love checking out what is new, fab, and full of quality. 10th studio is bring all those things to your doorstep.

So wihtout further ado, here is Heavy on fashion talks to Courtney Haley of 10th studio !

Hello Courtney Haley, thank you so much for your time. First let's start by telling me about yourself. Where you are from?

Courtney Haley: Hi there. I’m from Upstate New York in a small town called Cobleskill. It was a beautiful place to grow up and I lived there until I went to College at Tulane University in New Orleans. Go Green Wave!

How did you get your start in the beauty industry?

Courtney Haley: 20 years ago, I was lucky enough to be recruited by a skin care manufacturer in California for a finance position. In this job, I was able to interact with the chemists, operations, and sales & marketing staff to learn how to create a high end skin care product from just an idea. I was fascinated with the science behind the creativity and it was a unique opportunity to watch a project evolve all the way from the concept to manufacturing the finished good. After 5 years in the finance department, I moved to the Sales & Marketing department and starting developing skin care products for some pretty awesome American brands.

How has your experience in the manufacturing and branding help make 10th studio a successful business?

Courtney Haley: My background in manufacturing and branding helped me immensely. I spent 20 years creating products and brands for some of the most famous brands in the industry which is a dream job! Some brands wanted the latest innovation, some brands wanted technology that can be patented, some brands wanted the latest trends in product color. Every day you work closely with the amazing brand managers of your favorite brands to create products that (hopefully) become someone’s favorite product. 

It becomes an addiction to keep pushing the limits of your own creativity, as well as surround yourself by the best people in the industry to innovate in either packaging design or formula development. When I sat down to create my own brand, I had a very good understanding of how to develop and manufacture a cosmetic for different markets, so once I established how 10th Studio would be positioned in the market place, it was easy for me to calculate where my costs of goods needs to land to be profitable and scaleable globally.

What led you to venture into entrepreneurship?

Courtney Haley: I had a chance to experience what Richard Branson refers to as an ‘Intrapreneurship’ when I was Managing Director of HCT Asia based in Hong Kong for 7 years. I moved to Hong Kong and started that office with just 1 other colleague who joined me from the HCT California office. We ran that branch with a Startup mentality and 

I loved every minute of it! It was hard work, and I made a lot of mistakes when I first created my business strategy to expand into Korea and Japan, but those mistakes quickly helped me learn to adapt and get over failure quickly. I learned to be more fearless and trust my gut instinct on trying new strategies in these markets and find a way to prove your strategy in less than 3 months or simply change the strategy again to adapt to what we learned. Once you love that process, you will forever seek out entrepreneurial roles within a company.

Was this choice by design or did you stumble unto it?

Courtney Haley: I’m not sure. I think that unknowingly I became very good at assessing risk with very little data, and building a team that had the passion to tackle the world....because that’s what we needed to succeed in Asia. When I look back, I’m very proud of what I created in Asia for HCT and I’m very proud of how hard my team worked together to achieve our goals. We built that branch differently than what our competitors
were doing in Asia. Now I realize I am definitely hard wired to handle the stress and uncertainty of entrepreneurship.

What advice would you give others starting entrepreneurs ?

Courtney Haley: First, figure how to monetize your concept, then figure out how much capital to scale it at each phase, and then figure out how many phases you should have. It’s ok if you don’t monetize it or scale it right away, but make sure your plan is solid. As soon as you see that you made some mistakes...modify your plan. Don’t let your passion for your idea cloud your mind. 

Every entrepreneur evolves their ideas, and sometimes your best ideas are the 3rd iteration! Reduce your living expenses as much as you can to give yourself more freedom to make costly mistakes. You will be making calculated risks often, and not all of them will work so it’s an advantage if you can get comfortable with being uncomfortable! It’s easier if you are an expert at something, because a good entrepreneur has to make a lot of fast decisions and can’t afford to get distracted by the little things. You have to be innovative in your approach, and knowing your industry inside and out, is essential. Ideas are not hard to create. What is hard, is to launch a company and create positive cash flow. At the end of the day, no matter how creative your concept, it’s still an accounting exercise of figuring out how to make it successful.

So let's talk about your company 10th Studio. What is 10th Studio and How did 10th Studio began?

Courtney Haley: 10th Studio is Curated Beauty. We distribute cosmetics via an e-commerce platform: www.10thstudio.com. I travel the world and I find interesting products that you can’t purchase in your favorite Retailers (yet). I test some of them with my monthly subscribers in our monthly curated boxes, and others I sell directly on my website. Limited time, limited quantities. What a fun job, right? 

For 20 years I’ve worked with almost every brand you would recognize in the world, but the cool thing about cosmetics is that there are 1,000’s of brands you’ve never experienced. I find the hidden gems and bring them to you! If the products sell well on my website, then we try to find a home for them either in a Retail Store such as Harvey Nichols Hong Kong or on an e-commerce website such a BeautyKind in USA or Luxola in Southeast Asia. It began because I noticed that smaller brands often struggled to get into Retailers or find distribution overseas. 10th Studio bridges that gap between brand and the consumer until they’re ready for a Retail store such as Sephora or Ulta.

Tell us about 10th Studio Beauty box. What is it?

Courtney Haley: We have a monthly box which costs $75 USD per month, or if you buy 12 months in advance it is $50 USD per month. Each box has a value of at least $75 USD. We curate skin care, color cosmetics, accessories and I’ve even been known to throw in a selfy stick! It’s full size products because I want you to experience the brand and the product in the way the Creative Director of the brand intended. Samples just can’t do this! Also, it’s the newest launches and often it’s products pre-launch....before they launch in USA or Europe! We work with the brands while the products are still in product development. How cool is that?

Next month we are launching our first Guest Curator Box with YouTube Vlogger BeautybyRosita. You will be able to buy this box 30% off while she gives you sneak peeks during the product development! Not only is BeautybyRosita choosing a favorite product to promote, she is also developing cosmetics and accessories with her own brand name with 10th Studio to complement her favorite product she chose for our box. I think customers will love to see how we create cosmetics and how we create a brand for BeautybyRosita. BeautybyRosita has been instagramming the process as we send her R&D samples. If
her boxes sell well on 10th Studio, we will try to find a home for BeautybyRosita in a Retail Store in USA and Hong Kong.
We’re always on the search for guest curators! Please email us at info@10thstudio.com.

What makes 10th Studio Beauty box different from other beauty subscription services?

Courtney Haley: Ha! Everything? I curate the people behind the brand, and the story first. If I find talented people, and a compelling story, I know I’ll find great products within their brand. Then I find a way to utilize 10th Studio’s social media, website or beauty boxes to tell their story. I love it when subscribers email me to reorder the product (subscribers get special discounts) because it’s their new favorite product. This makes me so happy!
The only thing we have in common is that we both charge a subscription price! 

I love the subscription business model, and I admire the success cosmetics brands achieved especially in the US with their subscription services which sell 4-5 samples for $10 USD. However, that model can’t work in Asia for many reasons including just the logistics of shipping for example from Hong Kong Island to Discovery Bay (an island in Hong Kong). I wanted to build a global business model which can be run from Hong Kong instead of having to build companies in different countries or acquire businesses in other countries when we wanted to expand. I created my model differently based on my desire to look at the world from an aggregate perspective. I’m based in Hong Kong but my site is in English and USD, and we ship to Hong Kong, USA and Malaysia. I’ll expand where my database sends me! It looks like Singapore, Australia or Indonesia could be next on our list. Not sure yet.

How can all my fashion divas and gurus join in on the Beauty box fun?

Courtney Haley:  Sign up on my website: 10thstudio.com. You can buy one of the previous boxes at $75 USD and check them out first, or you can be brave and subscribe for 1 year and start receiving the new boxes.

What are some of your favorite beauty products on market? Why?

Courtney Haley: Well firstly... a little shout out to Chanel for their Inimitable Mascara (32 USD) which I can’t live without. It makes my eyelashes super long, and it never flakes because their formula wraps itself around you lashes in tubes which is helpful for the long days of an entrepreneur! They will be getting a call from me one day to curate this product in our boxes!

Right now, I am loving Under Eye Serum from the genius Dr. (Ms) Sohila Zadran who created Gilded Cells, a new American Brand, which is for sale on my website for $188 USD for 15g. Sohila is a Neuroscientist whose day job at University of California, San Francisco, is literally trying to cure cancer by researching the aging process of cells in Women. Imagine if this research & technology was used in skin care? Thank you Sohila! I’m pretty picky about eye creams, especially expensive ones. However, this one really works. One of my test subjects, age 62, saw a change in her skin texture in less than 45 days and it’s difficult to improve skin texture over the age of 62 muchless 45 days. Most skin care products will take 60-90 to see the first results.

I’m also loving Serum Savant by Dr. Kane for sale on my website for $250 USD for 40g. Dr. Michael Kane was the first Doctor to use botox for cosmetic purposes many years ago....and now he’s creating

innovation again. First, by creating a patented system of hyaluronic Acid (HALO-C) inspired by the micro- fragment delivery that revolutionized injectibles. Secondly, by finding a way to keep Vitamin C stable in a skin care product. He might just be the only person who has succeeded! There are lots of Vitamin C products in the market place, but few of them impress me. Dr, Kane’s clinical studies are impressive, especially his results of how stable the product stays once the product has been opened by the consumer. Dr. Kane’s technology is so awesome, he has to fill the product under a nitrogen blanket in the factory to ensure the integrity is protected while it’s being filled into an airless bottle. This is the definition of innovation and pushing technology to the limits.

Lastly, I always keep a Lip Perfection Gel in sheer shade, Fountain, (24 USD) from Per-Fekt Beauty in my bag. It’s beautiful, and it’s addictive. It keeps my lips smooth and moisturized. The Lip Perfection Gel is included in our Starter Kit which is the first kit shipped once you subscribe because I think it’s a basic need for everyone! Do you want to buy it as a single item? Just tell us on Instagram. We curate for you! 

Finally what does beauty mean to you?

Courtney Haley: That’s easy! Beauty is a form of art. We try to capture beauty on our website and on our instagram #10thstudio and show the world how people utilize makeup to express their own individual beauty. 

I would thank Courtney Haley of 10th studio for the interview.
Be sure to go to http://10thstudio.com/to subscribe today! 


  1. Great read!....So happy for you and your new endeavor Courtney!....Best of luck to you!!

  2. Thanks for the comment Sinna. Happy you enjoyed the interview!


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