THE INTERVIEW: Sophie Boram Lee, Finance March 21, 2012

So far in our series THE INTERVIEW, we’ve had a founder of a start-up, a artist/yoga instructor, and today we bring you our latest THE INTERVIEW,  with Sophie Boram Lee, a finance professional in the tech industry. One of our favorite perks of having a skincare line is the ability to interact with our friends and clients. We always find the back story and personal skincare perspectives from each person very interesting and Sophie Boram Lee’s story is a great example.

Tell us about yourself and your interest in skin care.  

I was born and raised in Seoul, Korea, and moved to the US during high school. I think the Asian culture as a whole tends to be more conscious of their skin quality, much more so than the culture in the US. I like to invest in my skin with the high quality facial products.  I use the term ‘invest’ because I see it as investment and not necessarily an expense, because after a certain age, beauty is really about retaining youth.  And what defines youth?  It’s the skin.

What do you do?

After graduating from Berkeley with dual degrees in Business (Concentration: Finance) and Psychology, I worked at a Big Four accounting firm, doing corporate tax consulting and financial planning for Silicon Valley tech corporations.  I recently joined an internet start-up in SF – I manage their finance and do various other non-programming tasks.

Recently at a panel at SxSW, many were talking about the lack of women in this industry. How does it feel to be a woman in Silicon Valley?

Oh, I love the attention (I’m half kidding).

What are your hobbies?

I love yoga and swimming – it restores my body and spirit after long hours of work.  I also used to train with a Crossfit trainer. Crossfit and weight lifting isn’t really my cup of tea, but I see it more as a necessity to stay fit so I force myself to do it once a week. I feel good after the workouts so I guess it qualifies as a hobby and not a labored ordeal.

Besides that, I’ve been studying how to read Bazi, a form of ancient Chinese astrology. I find the nuances very interesting; for example, I’ve learned that it works off of a very precise system, whereas Western astrology has 12 zodiac signs, Bazi has 60^4 possibilities in their birth charts. As with these types of pursuits, the question of validity is persistent but my personal experience of collecting data over the past decade as a hobby convinces me there is some truth to this system.

What is your favorite part about living in San Francisco?

Besides the uneven gender ratio (haha), I love the delicate balance of city life and nature. You have the mountains and the ocean nearby, and yet there’s enough of city life easily accessible.   I also love the diversity- Silicon Valley attracts talents from all over the world; especially entrepreneurs,  I love them because they are passionate and tend to be more optimistic by nature.

Where can we usually find you on a Saturday night?

Someone’s birthday party at a lounge or a bar.


How did you hear about our line?

One of my really close friends from college who I keep in touch with had really bad skin when I first knew him- lots of scarring, cystic acne, pigmentation. After college he moved to New York to work at a luxury fashion label. He’s now an executive there and has access to a lot of  ‘new’ things. When I recently saw him, I was surprised how healthy his skin looked. And he told me about switching to clean skincare and introduced me to the YÜLI brand.

When did you start paying attention to skincare?

Since elementary school. My skin could get very dry in winter so I had to put something every morning and evening.

What is your skincare routine?

I have dry sensitive skin.  So hydration without irritation is the key. I use Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil to wash my face in the evening, switch between SKII Facial Treatment and YÜLI Metamorphic Elixir as my toner depending on skin condition: if I’ve irritated my skin or used a lot of products, YÜLI is what I go with.  After toner, I use YÜLI Modern Alchemist Facial Serum, and then add Origins Dr.Weil’s Facial Serum. If my skin needs an extra boost, sometimes I will layer with YÜLI Liquid Courage which usually makes my skin feel beautiful. I also use SKII’s Signature Eye Cream at night.  Finally, I follow up with Kiehl’s Cryste Marine Ultra Riche moisturizer followed by either Biotherm’s UV Supre D-tox SPF 50+++ for daytime or Origins High Potency Night-A-Mins as night cream.

What do you look for in skincare?

My skin is sensitive so strong chemicals can irritate it.  At the same time, it is dry so I need something intensive.  So I tend to prefer mild, natural ingredient based, and yet highly concentrated products.

What about YÜLI has worked for you?

Very mild and yet so concentrated that I almost feel putting a moisturizer after is unnecessary.  It doesn’t irritate my skin but is very powerful and the ingredients are very fresh and clean which I definitely want to move towards.

What would you like to accomplish within the next 5 years?

That’s a very deep question.   Attaining my 6 pack abs, perhaps  😉

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