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Meet Toni Ko, Founder of NYX Cosmetics + PERVERSE Sunglasses

Meet Toni Ko, Founder of NYX Cosmetics + PERVERSE Sunglasses

If you haven’t heard of NYX Cosmetics, then you’ve been living under a very big rock. I didn’t know the story behind the brand, all I knew was that their eyebrow pencils were amazing. So imagine my pride when I learned that an Asian woman, Toni Ko, was the one who created this huge, famous cosmetic line.

A special shoutout to IVY, the world’s first Social University, created to unite thoughtful individuals through a lifetime of new inspiration and connections. They hosted and invited me to an event with Toni Ko and that’s how I got connected with her. Check out their upcoming events featuring amazing entrepreneurs and industry leaders, as well as the chance to connect with like-minded people in LA. So happy to be connected with Toni through IVY!

Toni Ko is a serial entrepreneur with a proven track record in developing, launching, and building highly successful global brands. This past April, Ko proudly launched her second company, PERVERSE sunglasses, after she recognized a gap in the accessories market between the expensive sunglass brands sold in department stores and the mass brands sold in retail stores. She designed the PERVERSE collection for those with style and substance, and offers more than 400 fashion-forward skus at an affordable price. Ko has opened four brick and mortar boutiques since launching, and plans to open fifty retail locations by the end of 2017.

Toni Ko implemented the same business strategy when she founded her first company in 1999; the multi-million dollar cosmetics brand NYX, which was acquired by L’Oreal in 2014. She created NYX with the goal of delivering professional, richly pigmented products at affordable prices. Working as a one-woman show from a 600 square foot show room in California, Ko began selling a single item – makeup pencils. She impressively generated two million dollars in sales during her first year, and quickly grew to become a leader in the color cosmetics industry, gaining the respect of such retail giants as Target, CVS and Ulta.

Toni Ko


Toni Ko credits her family as the primary influence on her education in the beauty business, having worked in their family owned beauty supply store in Los Angeles, which her mother opened shortly after they immigrated from Korea when she was 13 years old. By the time Ko was 25, she had amassed over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, and was ready to find her own niche. At the time of sale, NYX had revenue growth of well over 100 million dollars and is currently available in thousands of retailers in over 70 countries.

She started the Toni Ko Foundation in 2014, where she lends support to organizations that help children in need and those that empower women. She discovered the majority of top executives are men, and therefore wants to enable women with the courage to start their own businesses and set higher goals to be the executives.  Ko states, “The only way for many women around the globe to be more liberated is to become financially independent.  I think it’s incredibly important to lead women in the right direction to achieve independence.”

Tell us about yourself in a tweet.

A restless soul, which makes me a serial entrepreneur.  

What brought you to Los Angeles?

I’ve lived in Los Angeles ever since my family moved here from South Korea in 1986. However, I know in my heart that even if my parent’s had not chosen to immigrate to LA, I would have somehow found my way to my life in Los Angeles. No matter what anybody says, I truly believe that Los Angeles is THE best place in the world to live.

What’s your favorite thing about LA?

I absolutely love the weather (except these recently rainy weeks), and the diversity of people, food and culture in Los Angeles. Where else in the world will multiple nationalities be gathered in one place at any given moment? Where else in the world can we experience this many cuisines in one city? 

What has been your favorite LA experience?

In-N-Out Burger

What is your best beauty advice?

Washing off your makeup at night is more important than putting on make-up in the morning. 

What does true beauty mean to you?

Beauty comes from within. I know we’ve all heard this a million times, but nothing is truer. When you are happy you are at your most beautiful self, and when you feel happy, that’s when you have your most confidence. 

Shop some of my favorite styles from Toni Ko’s company, PERVERSE Sunglasses!


Disclaimer: In the spirit of full disclosure, this post contains affiliate links, which means that I may get a commissions if you decide to purchase anything using the above links.