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Meet Elissa Choi of Bonblissity in South Bay

Today we’d like to introduce you to Elissa Choi.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My work as a dental hygienist demands that I wash my hands dozens of times every day. Unfortunately, squeaky clean hands often become painfully dry hands that lotions simply can’t tame. Lotions made my hands feel sticky and dirty, especially when working with gloves. So I really wanted something that would moisturize my skin and last through multiple washings.

Unable to find anything that fit my needs, I began to imagine what my ideal product might look like. It would be a multitasking scrub that exfoliates dry, dull skin while it conditions and protect It would come in a single-use application that would minimize waste and contamination of products. It would be portable enough to bring to work or keep in my purse. And, it would be made with high-quality, natural ingredients. I also wanted it to be environmentally friendly by using packaging material from biodegradable cellulose.

Being creative in the kitchen made it natural for me to combine some ingredients together and experiment. The “science-y” part of me took me to the internet to research the best ingredients to resolve my issues. Bonblissity was born from the desire to be pampered with a true spa experience at home or on-the-go. Inspired by luxury candy and powered by natural ingredients, our products provide the perfect amount of pampering, whether at home or on-the-go.

With the encouragement of my husband, Jay Choi, we decided to take a chance at introducing our creation to the public. In 2011, we founded Bonblissity. Bonblissity currently offers a range of decadent, handmade hand and body care products perfect for anyone who seeks some indulgence on-the-go. We’re the OG of self-care anywhere!

Although we are not a brick-n-mortar store, our studio is based in San Pedro, where order pickups can be scheduled. Our products are available at www.bonblissity.com as well as in over a thousand spas, nail salons, and boutiques throughout the U.S and expanding into Asia in 2020.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
We definitely had a major obstacle in 2014. Our business was growing and we were ready to invest some money in protecting our brand. We filed to trademark BonBliss. That was our original name. Although the trademark was approved by USPTO, a major brand decided to oppose it. This brand did not like that we had the word “bliss” in our name. So after discussing with our attorney, we decided it was better to withdraw the trademark and rebrand. It took us a year to do so but we really loved the changes we made and believed that the legal trouble we can came across was actually a blessing in disguise.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Bonblissity – what should we know?
We are a small family business. Literally, it’s me and my husband with the help of my son (when I’m lucky) and both our moms! Every now and then, we have some extra helping hands but mostly, we try to do all our production in batches to not have to have everyone all working at once on a daily basis.

Prior to COVID, our business model was mostly exhibiting at trade shows and other events throughout the U.S. We still had our online store but we honestly didn’t have much time to invest in our website marketing to really make it grow. We were exhibiting at a show about 40 weekends a year! We love the show life, the hustle and bustle, the interacting and seeing the reactions of people trying out our products. It made us really proud and gave us the energy to keep going. Then COVID happened. And like any other time we came across an obstacle, we made the necessary adjustments and we kept going. COVID forced us to make the changes we’ve been meaning to make. We just never had the time or energy to do it while traveling for all the shows. But, in a short amount of time, we were able to work on our newsletter and social media marketing in addition to launching four new products that’s been a huge hit! We have even more lined up for the rest of 2020 and into 2021. It gave us time to refocus and start delivering what our customers have been asking for.

In recent times, but especially now, there’s been a lot of focus on taking care of ourselves. I think in 2011, we were way ahead of our time, in multiple ways. For example, no one was really ready for single-use at the time. Now more than ever, single-use has become a huge hit, especially more so if packaging is environmentally friendly. Single-use allows us to not waste products by contaminating it. It seems more expensive upfront, but in the long run, you really do save money. Think of all those times you never used up those jars of scrubs and it sat there in your shower for months before you finally got grossed out enough to throw it out? I’m guilty of that too. So, I think being mindful of product waste and being able to take care of yourself wherever you make us unique. We really do care about self-care anywhere!

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I think our personalities really make our business successful. Not necessarily successful in a monetary way, but that people remember meeting us at our shows, they laugh and have fun trying out our product (we have a built-in sink at our booth for people to try). Then the bonus is the instant results of our products. They are amazed and many leave and come back with more people to try. We never push to purchase because we understand that it may not be for everyone. We let them make the decision whether it’s worth buying after they sample it. But, the best part of it all is that we really enjoy interacting with our customers and I think they genuinely like us. We try to give personal touch in our communications after the shows. People remember us…in a good way. And that really makes us proud!

Pricing:

  • Prices range from $3 up to $25

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All photos by our team

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