Founders Of Color Q&A: Tower 28's Amy Liu
Start writing a post
Lifestyle

Founders Of Color Q&A: Tower 28's Amy Liu On Building A Sephora-Loved Brand With A Cult Following

She personally responds to every single brand DM.

10892
Founders Of Color Q&A: Tower 28's Amy Liu On Building A Sephora-Loved Brand With A Cult Following
Tower 28

On paper, Amy Liu appears to be one of the most intimidating women in the beauty business. Not only did she launch her beauty marketing career at legendary Smashbox Cosmetics, she went on to lead luxury, high-end brands like Kate Somerville and Josie Maran — just to name a few.

But sitting down to meet Liu for the first time in an underground New York bar over a year ago felt like meeting a friend I'd known since childhood. As she walked into the bar in a chic red dress, it was impossible not to feel her immediate warm presence. When she talks about her history as an entrepreneur (and truly, at heart, she always was one), you don't get the sense that she's selling you anything, though with her impeccable taste, I'd use anything that had her glowing review attached to it.


Tower 28's range of luxury products are all vegan, cruelty-free, and follow the guidelines of the National Eczema Association. One of the best parts is the way Liu offers a luxury experience at an accessible price — everything in her line is under $30. But her products don't just do good, they're actually extremely effective. I use every single product in her line, from the multi-purpose eye, cheek, lip balms, to the lip jellies that honestly feel good enough to eat (and, I kind of do).

The newest from her line, the bronzers which come in two high-glow shades, are the only cheek products I've worn this entire quarantine. Liu's clean ingredients are trustworthy, and my skin has never looked so good for FaceTime dates.

Liu is a master storyteller — every brand she touches turns to gold — which is precisely what makes her such a great marketer, businesswoman, friend, and role model. Tower 28 is synonymous with Amy Liu, and this is her story.

What is the story you hope to tell with Tower 28?

My mission was to create an approachable beauty company inclusive of all skin tones, skin types, budgets, and beauty philosophies - but one that's still fun and reflective of the healthy LA lifestyle I know and love.

At the heart of Tower 28 is the message that #ItsOkayToBeSensitive.

Beyond our commitment to create products with zero irritating ingredients (we are currently the only makeup brand to follow the National Eczema Association's guidelines), that message carries through to a larger conversation about being true and kind to yourself.

What has been your biggest challenge and highlight as a business owner?

I've had the good fortune to work for several founder-based brands and historically spent my time crafting and telling someone else's story. I'm fairly extroverted, but I'm not naturally someone who likes to or knows how to talk about myself.

Being comfortable in my own skin is a lifelong challenge.

But, through my work with Tower 28, which is closely tied to my own personal story, I've discovered my voice.

How much does coming from a marginalized community play into your day-to-day business?

My parents were the first Chinese people to live in their small town in Minnesota. After arriving there in the '70s from Taiwan, my dad realized there were very few options for a career in corporate America as an immigrant.

So, he leaned into his natural entrepreneurial inclinations almost out of necessity. Seeing his passion for his work and his unstoppable drive to pave his own way in America absolutely inspired me to start my own business many years later. It also influences my decisions as a business owner in day-to-day choices.

I'm consciously trying to build Tower 28's team to be a diverse one, reflective of many different walks of life and with an entrepreneurial spirit.

How do you feel social media and community-building has impacted your business?

Our community is the reason Tower 28 is here today. We use social media as a platform to engage with our fans on a daily basis, which is so valuable.

I personally answer each and every DM that comes in.

Reading these questions, concerns, and ideas drives me to better our business and even inspires our plans for future product launches.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Don't let fear rule you! Even though I had an incredible role model in my father, I had so many moments of self-doubt when taking the leap from a steady career into the unknown as an entrepreneur. It's so important to trust your gut intuition, even when that voice inside your head is causing you to doubt yourself.

What can we expect from the future of Tower 28?

We're working hard to develop and launch a few new products that our community has been asking for. We want to fill the void on your beauty shelf and develop products that are truly non-toxic, non-irritating, high performance… and above all: fun!

Rapid Fire

What are your favorite accounts to follow on social media?

@chrissyteigen and @sarablakely really crack me up because they are so real and funny about mom life. Sara Blakely also talks a lot about starting her business and entrepreneurship, which I love. And of course, I'm such a fan of @katiejanehughes who is so chatty and makes makeup seem so easy.

To what one characteristic of yours do you attribute your success?

Showing up. Both for the people in my life and for myself!

Tell us a book you'd recommend.

"The Four Agreements."

What charities do you support?

A number of them. We regularly support Heal the Bay. Tower 28 is a real lifeguard tower, and I am genuinely a fan of beach conservation and love their mission of sustainability as well. For the holidays we gifted DonorsChoose gift cards to our influencers. With current events lately we have also donated to Feeding America and the Firefighters of Los Angeles.

What is the item in your closet you wear the most?

I almost wish I was lying, but my Tower 28 sweatshirt! Sounds like a shameless plug but honestly it's so cozy, and now that we are WFH, I wear it way too much. It's actually become a joke on our company zoom calls bc we are always all wearing it!

What is the one skincare product you can't live without?

Our SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray quite literally saved my skin. I no longer have to rely on prescription steroids to keep my eczema in check!

What is on your nightstand?

Phone, glasses, SOS spray, candle

Report this Content

Just when we thought 2020 couldn't get any more unpredictable, we find out that Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died at 87 of complications from pancreatic cancer.

Regardless of where you might stand politically, you can't deny that the was a very honorable woman, who has accomplished a lot in her lifetime. Writing majority opinions for many cases such as United States v. Virginia, and Olmstead v. L.C., she has paved the way for many women, showing that no matter what obstacles stand in your way, you can achieve your goals.

Keep Reading... Show less

I didn't believe the notification when it came through to my phone: Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died from complications due to cancer.

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

11 Things Your Boyfriend Should Do Before He Drops $499 On A PS5

Let's start with spending less time gaming and more time with you.

18800

Scrolling through Twitter this week had me rolling on the floor laughing as I read some of the hilarious tweets from ladies who, whether in a relationship or not, shared reactions to the news that PlayStation 5 is on its way

As this "buy your boyfriend a PS5" joke takes off across the internet, let's just say, there are a few things your BF should be doing before dropping $499 on the new gaming system — or, if the tweets are real for some, before you buy it for him as a gift.

Keep Reading... Show less
Tasia Sli

Tasia Sli and Anna Yang met in quintessential New York fashion at a chic rooftop event, inquisitive Yale grad Anna gravitating towards model/entrepreneur Tasia.

Keep Reading... Show less

Two of my favorite things in life are reading and books. Obviously, they go hand-in-hand. In my life, I've realized that there is nothing better than learning about the current world or getting fully immersed in another world. Reading can inspire, teach, and entertain you.

For me, the feeling of opening a book and smelling that fresh book smell can't compete with anything else.

Keep Reading... Show less

Expecting mother and wife to singer/songwriter John Legend may have accidentally slipped up and revealed the gender of her and Legend's third baby today on her Instagram story.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

20 Books About Latin And Hispanic Heritage Absolutely Everyone Should Have On Their Bookshelf

Any ally of the community needs to be reading these incredible reads.

11293

I go through phases when it comes to what I like to read. I am typically reading two books at any given time: one serious nonfiction and one escapist fiction novel to have on hand and open up depending on my mood.

What remains consistent, however, amongst most of my fellow bibliophiles is a desire to try new and different authors and genres. I, as an Indian woman, have been partial to reading books written by fellow Indian and Desi writers since I first got a library card.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Asked 46 Women What They Thought About The Term 'Plus-Size', And Here's What They Had To Say

It's 2020, where change is inevitable and norms are not only questioned, but challenged.

6723

We live in a world where it's become customary to push boundaries, break rules, and question standards upheld by society. Though try as we might, some of these standards are harder to conquer than others — body image is one of the top contenders.

For years, the body positivity movement has pushed for the acceptance of all marginalized body types not represented or celebrated in the media. Recently, we've gotten better at appreciating and accepting all body types, but one thing that's still lingering is the stigma of body image in the fashion industry — more specifically, the term "plus-size."

Keep Reading... Show less
Netflix

Many popular TV shows are holding off premiers until spring, so most people are relying on their television subscriptions to get them through a socially distant fall semester.

Thankfully, Netflix was busy filming this past year because there is a ton of new original content coming in the near future. From mysteries to romances, here are some of the best new shows you have to check out this year:

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

Taylor Swift Sang 'betty' At The ACMs And It Was The Perfect First Live 'folklore' Performance

I guarantee that Inez is spreading rumors about how fire this performance was.

5500
CBS

The Academy of Country Music Awards were last night and the performances were wonderful, but Taylor Swift's live version of "betty" from her newest album "folklore" really took the cake for me.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments