Small Business and Franchise Success Stories

Dr. Susan Lin with Actor Billy Zane at the Golden Globes
Delivering babies in the middle of the night can get tiresome, especially when you’re part of a large HMO and allowed little opportunity to think outside the box. That was exactly the situation that Dr. Susan Lin found herself in when she was a full-time OB/GYN.

She and her husband, Dr. Isaac Choy, a general and thoracic surgeon, both had an interest in business and decided that he would continue with his practice while she went in a new direction that would allow for more opportunities and expansion.

With Issac’s support, Susan soon started her own cosmetic and anti-aging center, where they established private labels for various cosmetic products. They did initial work with lash extensions and noticed that customers were intrigued by the up-and-coming lash conditioners on the market, so they saw an opportunity to develop their own product line and conduct further research on the formulas.

A few months later, MD Lash Factor was born. The product is an eyelash conditioner that enhances the appearance of natural lashes, giving them a longer and fuller look. Better yet, the formula contains no harmful ingredients, such as prostaglandin, and is paraben-free.

Choy and Lin admittedly had different ideas about how to fund MD Lash Factor, but a friend of theirs recommended Guidant. They looked into it and decided that it seemed like a good idea.

“Our experience with Guidant was great,” remarked Choy. “They guided us through the process, which was very involved, and have been with us the entire way. They have provided the technical expertise required to be successful.”

He recommends that others new to starting a business should be sure to know what they want to do and have a “clear and defined plan, then charge ahead.”

Since their launch in 2007, MD Lash Factor has enjoyed much success, expanding to over 20 countries outside the U.S. It was also named Product of the Year USA in the Cosmetics Category by TNS in 2011.
The couple has also had a taste of Hollywood since starting their company—MD Lash Factor was a featured item in the Golden Globes Celebrity Goody Bag, and has appeared twice on the Home Shopping Network (HSN). 

Discussing the HSN experience, Choy said it was “great,” and they learned a lot about the industry and sales from participating. They also gained “tremendous mass market exposure” broadcasting to 70 million viewers in the U.S.

Even when the road became bumpy, becoming the subject of an IRS audit, the couple pulled through.

When asked what the process was like, Choy replied, “It was OK, not terrible, [a] little stressful, and kind of a pain. We had great attorneys who handled most of the nitty gritty so [that] took a lot of [the] direct pressure off of us.

Of course, the result of the audit was a Favorable Determination Letter, so all was well that ended well.
Looking ahead, Choy and Lin plan to continue expansion of the brand to several other South American countries (they’re already selling in Peru and Chile), and will appear on HSE24 (the German equivalent of HSN) next month. They have their sights set on broadening their European customer base and promoting the other MD branded products that were recently launched.

Says Choy, “Ultimately, we would like to reach that tipping point!”

It seems they’re well on their way.

To learn more about MD Lash Factor, visit their official website.


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