Today we’d like to introduce you to Kiok Kang.
Kiok, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Believe it or not, I actually trained for 10+ years to become a classical pianist. Working toward attending a conservatory like Juilliard, I won first place for the state of California and dozens of other competitions and scholarships. But, due to carpal tunnel, my dreams were halted, and I was suddenly forced to explore other career avenues.
Ever since I was a child, I was naturally very inquisitive, extroverted, and disciplined. I understood the importance of patience and practice from piano. At the same time, I could always balance the rigid lifestyle with a thriving social life.
My first PR introduction was at a boutique B2B beauty agency, which focused primarily on green beauty (it wasn’t a thing back then!) and represented brands such as: ILIA, Rodin Olio Lusso, RMS Beauty, Kahina, etc. From there, I learned everything from in-store trainings at Fred Segal and conducting Live Twitter Q&A’s with the Four Seasons Beverly Hills Hotel, to learning how to send out a PR package for editorial outreach.
I decided I was going to be a super intern and do everything in my power to say yes to every opportunity. I observed, listened, and always asked questions. After a few years in the industry, I noticed that print editorial was quickly changing: Digital and social media influencers were going to be the next wave of tastemakers.
It was still a different time then. Even my boss didn’t understand what a blogger was. Honestly, they couldn’t understand why I was gifting product to bloggers, but I knew that they would become the new generation of (attainable) celebrities.
I had entered the workforce bright-eyed and armed with the mentality of my immigrant parents, which is, “If I work hard, I’ll become successful!” Office politics were the death of me. I never knew that hard work didn’t necessarily correlate to your internal standing at a company. Fast forward to working in corporate for years before I felt the itch to create and 100% own my results. Hence, the birth of Glowing PR Agency.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Would I say it’s been an easy path? No, absolutely not. In fact, I’m not sure that launching a business is suited for everyone. Unfortunately, there’s no manual guiding you every step of the way. You have to very quickly become accustomed to failing and staying tenacious. There have been countless hurdles, but it’s made the success that much sweeter!
To date, hiring our first full-time position was my personal biggest achievement, because this meant that Glowing’s success was directly tied to someone’s livelihood, along with undergoing a complete office renovation with Maison Trouvaille.
I took the business incredibly serious from day one and have had the pleasure of representing some of the best brands since our launch: KNC Beauty, COSRX, BYCHARI, CLE COSMETICS, etc.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Glowing PR Agency story. Tell us more about the business.
Glowing PR Agency is a bespoke, digital and influencer first agency that offers concierge service as if we’re an in-house PR department. We take pride in achieving strong results by being incredibly scrappy, creative, and current. Also, we never apply the same formula for success to all our clients. Everyone has a different road map to achieve their goals, and we ensure that our efforts reflect that by encouraging open conversation and being resourceful.
Influencer relationships are our bread and butter. Thankfully, LA is the perfect place to be! We’ve managed to maintain genuine, long-lasting relationships with a range of influencers and have been able to keep up with the trends, whether it’s YouTube coverage, IGTV, hosting local events, etc. My first sponsored campaign was with Katherine Schwarzenegger for a Sephora exclusive collection launch, but I’d say that 99% of our efforts are completely organic.
Digital media is also a huge focus for most of our clients because this really establishes a brand, allows bragging rights, and gives validation to brands.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I believe in creating your luck. Every step, whether good or bad, have all played a role in determining my present-day life. We rely heavily on referrals because that gives us a stamp of approval from previous clients — I consider that manufactured luck.