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In A Topsy-Turvy Year, Unexpected Challenges & A Dream Job For This NYU Stern MBA

Kaori Yamaguchi, front row second from right, and her colleagues after graduating with their MBA degrees from NYU Stern. Courtesy photo

THE EARLY STAGES OF A JAPANESE SKINCARE BRAND

Kaori’s idea to create a skincare brand comes from a need to bring a piece of her country as an area of opportunity she found in the U.S.

One of the main findings of the market research she conducted for her brand in NYU Stern is that most of the Japanese skincare brands that are currently on the market were not affordable for young adults and recent graduates. “There is some potential market that seemed like a fair price point in [a] Japanese beauty brand.”

“There are many like Korean beauty products, but I don’t see so many Japanese brands, and it’s very expensive here [New York City].”

She says the brand is in the development phase of a startup but there is a potential market since there is a lack of Japanese skin care brands.

@kaoriko_nyc

Difference of #skincare routine between 🇺🇸 vs 🇯🇵 #japanesegirl #jbeauty #fyp #foryou #NewYork #asiangirl #skincareroutine

♬ She Share Story (for Vlog) – 山口夕依

LEARNING HOW TO EXIST IN AN ONLINE SPACE

A moment that shifted Kaori’s social media consumption was taking Scott Galloway’s Brand Strategy and Digital Marketing class. What started as a school project to create or increase her presence in digital space turned into a starting point.

“I thought, ‘Oh, I think I can use TikTok as my branding, share my passion to start a Japanese beauty brand in New York City in the future.’ So I started posting anything related to Japan.”

Kaori sees the growing opportunity Tiktok has for her future brand. The social media platform became popular during the pandemic bringing up to 100 million monthly active users.

She keeps cultivating an audience for her skincare brand while she shares her love for her culture. “I want to bring my own Japanese character here and to start my startup in the future.”

INSPIRED BY THE STERN COMMUNITY AND FACULTY

Despite the circumstances, Kaori made the most out of her experience at NYU Stern, serving as a vice president of partnerships at the Entrepreneurship and Startup Association (ESA).

“I was responsible for organizing the Founder Series. I invited startup founders to Stern, and they shared their stories. It was a very great experience, organize these events,” she tells Poets&Quants.

While most of the meetings were online, Kaori Yamaguchi values the network she built at NYU. “The students, they’re very collaborative, and it’s a very diverse character,” she says.

Now as restrictions are starting to loosen up in New York City she is excited to stay in touch with her NYU connections.

“I’m looking forward to meeting my network,” she says. “Even after graduation. That’s what I like about NYU Stern because we are located in New York City. Everyone wants to get a job in New York City.”

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