Extraordinary Women – The Next Chapter : Alice Chang, CEO And Founder Of Perfect Corp.

The traditional way to try on beauty products at retail stores has changed with the global pandemic. With Governments issuing work from home and stay-at-home orders as a norm, this has markedly toned-down consumers’ desire to buy and wear make-up. With dwindling sales, this has compelled global beauty brands to accelerate and rethink their online strategies. The global beauty brands will need to find new avenues to capture consumers’ attention without any in-store trials.

Virtual beauty try-on technology, such as the one developed by Perfect Corp. now plays a critical role in this digital transformation using AI and AR beauty tech to allow consumers to try on products without having to go into retail stores. Perfect Corp. cleverly innovates with AI and AR to unlock a whole new realm of personalized beauty experiences. By simply downloading the YouCam Makeup app, consumers can experience true-to-life digital beauty trials at their fingertips. Furthermore, the app provides specific product recommendations and style ideas based on your preferences and facial attributes.

Launched in 2015, Perfect Corp. has amassed more than 320 brand partners and over 900 million global downloads across their YouCam suite of apps. The Company is dedicated to transforming how consumers, content creators and beauty brands interact together through AI and AR technologies. The company’s team of engineers and beauty aficionados are challenging the boundaries of technology providing innovative digital-first solutions for brands, as well as building the beauty platform of the future within YouCam apps.

It was a privilege for me to interview Alice Chang, the Founder and CEO of Perfect Corp. and I am glad that she openly shared with me her journey as an entrepreneur and how she has continues to achieve so much success with her business, including being named one of most successful businesswoman of our time. In 2020, Digital Era named Alice Chang one of the top ten best women leaders. She has also led Perfect Corp. to win multiple industrial awards such as the 2021 Big Innovation Award for its AI Beauty Tech solutions. I am delighted to share with you her thoughts below:

(1) You started off as an investment banker. What was it in the technology sector which made you decide to switch career paths?

Answer: As a beauty lover and innovator, I identified a need and application for augmented reality and artificial intelligence in the beauty space as a way to improve the consumer shopping and product trial experience. I recognized how AR and AI technology could help curb consumer pain points that existed along the beauty shopping journey like eliminating messy and unhygienic product trials and how they could replace with highly engaged interactive digital try-on experiences.

(2) I think it is widely known that you manage your successful businesses with three major focuses in mind: People, Product and Profit.  How do you know if this person is right for the job?

Answer: You must be a team player with a willingness to embrace change and lean into challenges with a positive attitude. Creativity and productivity flow best in a positive, supportive environment.

(3) How do you develop your employees so that they can be successful at their jobs? How do you challenge and keep your employees happy?

Answer: We have a lateral team structure that encourages collaboration and conversation from all. It also creates a direct line to management for everyone in the company, encouraging everyone to share their best ideas and strategic thinking to better the company.

(4) You founded Perfect Corp in June 2015, and the company’s main focus was to re-invent the consumer beauty experience through advanced technology and to encourage individuals to discover, explore and shop for beauty products available in the market. Was this a white space which you have always wanted to explore and revolutionize it?

Answer: At the time, I recognized a huge opportunity in the launch of the “Beauty Tech” category and was motivated to be one of the first to launch into the space.  My goal was to develop and provide digital-first solutions to enhance the beauty shopping experience for beauty brands, retailers, and consumers alike. With over 320 brand partners around the globe and 900 million app downloads, it is safe to say that proved to be a game-changing and trailblazing vision.

(5) With the launch of Perfect Corp’s AI and AR solutions which offers customers the power to experiment with features like AI Product Recommendations, AI Smart Shade Finder, AI Skin Diagnostic, and AI Live Hair Multi-Color Effects, this has completely disrupted the traditional consumer beauty journey which is to test the product at the counter and buy it from the retailer. How did you come up with such an amazing idea to use AI and AR to create non-contactless trial of beauty products and allow customers to shop at ease and procure their beauty items online?

Answer: As a beauty shopper myself, I was frustrated by the traditional product sampling methods which included community testers and messy swatching, not to mention the expense that this has introduced to brands. However, the ability to try-before-you-buy, especially when shopping for beauty products, was one that myself and other fellow beauty shoppers expect before committing to a purchase. I had ample experience leading Cyberlink Corp. with facial recognition and AR/AI technologies from a photo and content creation standpoint and quickly recognized how these same principals and innovations could be applied to solve a new problem across the consumer beauty shopping journey. As I mentioned earlier, these are the possibilities when thinking outside the box!

(6) What were the hurdles faced in getting consumers to buy into the AI and AR solutions instead of the traditional brick and mortar experience?

Answer: The biggest hurdle was getting consumers to understand the true utility of AR and AI virtual try-on and how it eased past consumer pain points which came from traditional product testing. We had to earn the trust of the consumer by providing best-in-class, true-to-life results that users could rely on and trust. We were challenged to educate consumers that these tools went beyond helping them with a vanity edit on a selfie or photo, and serves as a true utility to aid the consumers along their customer shopping experience.

(7) I tried the Youcam app and I can only say the experience was incredible and fascinating. I always thought pink lip colour suited me better and it is only after using the Youcam that I realised that I should use more coral colour on my lips and this in itself has created a new look for me. The Youcam app has been downloaded by millions around the globe and the app seamlessly replicates real-life beauty try-ons. How did you innovate and come up with such a remarkable idea?

Answer: Our mission for YouCam Makeup was to empower the consumer beauty shopping experience by providing a fun and convenient way for beauty lovers to discover, experiment, and shop for beauty products. The immersive YouCam Makeup app experience is designed to inspire users to have fun with their beauty journey by enabling to try the products and styles they may have never tried before, and swipe through hundreds of products and looks to express themselves.

(8) From inception to launch, how long did it take for the Youcam app to come to fruition to what it is today and what are the challenges?

Answer: The first development of the app took about 5 months and we continue to improve and build upon the YouCam app experience by adding new features and technology advancements to ensure the best-user experience possible. Currently, we upgrade the App every 3 weeks, with continued technology innovation that offers the latest AR and AI Beauty Tech to consumers. The biggest challenge is to create virtual try-ons that are on par with physical results. This is the most important factor in getting users to trust in our virtual try-on results.

(9) I also used Youcam’s skin analyzer and it was simply amazing. I get to know my skin’s age and also the skin problems which I need to address. I am extremely interested in skincare and I understand that you also work with many B2B beauty companies, how do you integrate their skincare products with Perfect Corp’s suite of beauty technology?

Answer: Skin tech is one of the fastest growing categories right now. We work with brands to integrate our AI Skin Diagnostic technology across their consumer touchpoints to help them deliver on a more personalized skincare shopping journey. The experience analyses a user’s face and then recommends specific products based on the individuals skin health metrics creating a unique and personalized skincare experience, which is made for the modern-day shopper.

(10) With so much on your plate, how do you balance your private life with work? What is the secret to your success?

Answer: Finding balance in life is key. I love my job and the entire Perfect Corp. family including my incredible team and wonderful brand partners. They continue to inspire and challenge me to bring my best to the table every day. Loving what you do and having a rockstar team that you can trust help to make “work” a whole lot easier. Self-care is also a daily priority. I make time every morning to exercise so I can start the day feeling fresh and ready for the challenges that lay ahead.

(11) To all women entrepreneurs, what are the things they must look out for before they embark on their entrepreneurial journey?

Answer: Willingness to learn. Never be afraid to ask about something you don’t know and embrace a learning spirit with an open mind. Stay curious and ask lots of questions. Maintain an eagerness to explore something new and learn new skills that will continue to improve yourself. Dream big, embrace change, and never give up! This mentality will inspire a future of innovators who embrace challenge with confidence necessary to achieve the impossible and break boundaries.

(12) What are the few pointers which you could give to all entrepreneurs who want to scale their businesses and achieve greater profit, progress and success?

  • Go Global. Online, mobile, and SaaS business should not be limited by traditional boundaries. Aim high past the fence, and think big with a global outlook and approach.
  • Embrace change. AR and AI are the fundamental building blocks necessary to scale your business and build a successful direct to consumer strategy.
  • Adopt a 360-degree omni-channel approach. You must meet your customer everywhere along their journey whether it’s online, in-store, in-app, or through social avenues and have a tailored strategy specific for every particular platform.


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