S04E11: Kanyachat Lerttanapaiboon, Co-Founder & CEO of Her Hyness, Thailand

Your branding has to be strong and brand positioning has to be clear like who you sell to. If you have that clear and your execution follows then your message will be clear. I’m not saying that we are the best right now. I still see a lot of room to improve, but a lot of times things cannot happen all at once, you just have to start doing it. So that’s key with branding and then product. We’re not reaching everyone in the market. It has to be certain people that really want to have strong skin.

Kanyachat “Elle” Lerttanapaiboon

In today’s episode, I speak to Kanyachat Lerttanapaiboon, fondly known as Elle. She is the CEO of Maison Royal and co-founder & CEO of Her Hyness, the number one clean beauty skincare brand in Thailand.

Clean beauty is defined as beauty products that contain safe ingredients, the ones that help your skin be at its best. Her Hyness products don’t contain any of the 1500 harmful chemicals normally found in regular beauty products. 

Kanyachat Lerttanapaiboon, Co-Founder & CEO of Her Hyness
Elle says, “Never give up. Today is hard. Tomorrow will be worse but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine.”  

Elle started her business in 2016 and Her Hyness has grown to become the No. 1 clean beauty skincare brand, with a 3-year CAGR of over 100%.

It is a top local brand at offline Thai retailers such as EveandBoy and Watsons.  She says that their best-sellers are their biodegradable sheet masks.

They launched in Lazada and Shopee in November 2020 and were recognized as a “Rising Star – Skincare Category” by Lazada. In 2021 they launched in Watsons Online, EvenandBoy Online, and Central Online, all for the Thai market.

Last year we made a big decision in hiring a super qualified candidate from a big global company. He was really talented. He was really good. And he could help me a lot because of course, you know, they were well trained. But we could not retain him even with money because we’re still a small company. I was so sad because I felt,
oh, was I a bad boss?

A self-confessed workaholic who never left the office before midnight, Elle had worked for well-known cosmetic and skincare brands in Singapore and China after getting her MBA from Harvard. 

Despite being one of the fastest rising stars in the corporate world working for L’Oreal and MAC, she left corporate to start her clean beauty skincare company in Thailand. 

She calls it sustainable beauty without irritating or harmful chemicals and who knows best than Elle? She admitted she grew up with skin allergies and rashes.

Growing up, she relied on too many whitening peels due to a desire to be fair and white which resulted in her skin growing thinner and more sensitive. At one point, her skin was so inflamed that she had to wash her skin with saline and boiled water! At that moment, she swore that she’d rather die than step outside of the home. 

So Elle understands what it’s like to suffer from bad skin and began creating skin-safe products that she knew she’d use in a heartbeat. It helped that she had worked for global skincare brands and she knew exactly the gap she was filling when she pilot-tested her first product.

When I had a mentor in L’Oreal I asked her, how could I succeed quickly? And then she said that you have to start in the market that you’re familiar with, where you are born. You know it by heart, you do not need to learn anything. You have your connections. So I remembered her words. And then I thought that if I were to start and I want to succeed, I had to start here in Thailand because I understand Thailand thoroughly, and I have connections everywhere. 

She remembers corporate life well – she was a marketing manager at 29 and her entire team was older than her. She was hired to work in China despite having no knowledge of Mandarin but she learnt the language in two months.

Her business began when she returned to Thailand when she was 7 months pregnant. She later roped in her brother to help and they now have 100 employees with her husband joining her recently to take care of the e-commerce side of things. She’s most proud that Her Hyness was named the number one Thai brand in the Beauty category of Lazada.

She is most inspired by Sara Blakely who is the founder of Spanx. Her favourite musicians include Alicia Keys, Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey.

Connect with her: 
IG: @herhynessbeauty

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