The Hustle: Meet the Founder Creating Innovative Lighting Products for Beauty Lovers

Get to know Wanchen Kaiser, co-founder of Riki Loves Riki.

Wanchen Kaiser of Riki Loves Riki

Byrdie / Riki Loves Riki

The Hustle

Welcome to Byrdie's new series, The Hustle. We're profiling diverse, interesting women and woman-aligned folks in the beauty and wellness industries who are usually behind-the-scenes. From the cosmetic chemists formulating your holy-grail serum to CFOs driving the biggest beauty companies forward, these women are the definition of career goals, and they're getting real about the journeys that led them to where they are—the highs, the lows, and everything in between.

If you've ever admired a beauty influencer's lit-up vanity mirror, chances are it's from Riki Loves Riki. Founded by Wanchen and Erik Kaiser, the brand has developed lighting products and accessories with cutting-edge LED technology. The Kaisers have been immersed in the lighting industry for a decade, launching their first business Glamcor in 2011. Through Glamcor, the couple sought out to solely provide beauty professionals with premium lighting. But, they soon realized the everyday beauty enthusiast deserved the same options and created Riki Loves Riki to fill that void. Ahead, Kaiser discusses what it's been like building Riki Loves Riki. Keep scrolling to read everything she had to say.

Tell us about your professional background. At what point did you decide to launch Riki Loves Riki?

My husband, Erik Kaiser, and I founded GLAMCOR in 2011, a global lighting solutions company made for and loved by aestheticians. We were the first company to invent a portable lighting setup for makeup artists, making us become recognized in the beauty space. We've worked with talented makeup artists like Nam Vo, Katie Jane Hugues, Hung Vanngo, and Pati Dubroff.

After years of serving the beauty industry from an aesthetic and professional setting, we realized we weren't speaking to the everyday consumer. We wanted to help the girl getting ready for her corporate job in Alabama, the boy who loves getting glam for his evening classes at NYU, the frequent traveler going to Paris for fashion week, and the grandmother getting ready in her living room while watching the news. We decided to launch Riki Loves Riki since aestheticians and professionals aren't the only ones that need good lighting. 

What are your day-to-day responsibilities as the founder?

Not only am I the founder, but I also am the CMO and CCO for both Glamcor and Riki Loves Riki. I work with my team and develop marketing and content strategies and make sure we are implementing and executing them all. Content is so important for us. We work with MUA's, photographers, models, and creators to create content.

I am also very involved in the manufacturing and production process. We have a factory in China with over 100 employees. I manage our NYC team during the day and our China team at night. When 5 pm hits in NYC, I hop on calls with our China team until around 11 pm.

What's the most challenging part of your job?

Running a global company while being a mom of two beautiful little girls has to be my greatest challenge. Women are so powerful and can seriously do it all. Creating a work-life balance takes time and discipline. You want to be present in every moment with your kids while also working with your team to take things to the next level. It takes time, but anything is possible once you have a good system. 

It is also challenging to be creative every day and develop new strategies to think outside the box. I come up with the best ideas during my morning shower. It is my "me-time" and allows me to start my day fresh. We are also extremely strategic and careful in managing our budget and making sure we are allocating our spending to areas that provide the best return. It's all trial and error, but when you find something that works, you keep going.

Riki Loves Riki

Byrdie / Riki Loves Riki

What's the most rewarding part of your job?

The most rewarding part of my job is knowing we are creating value. We are building an amazing brand that is changing people's lives for the better. We are setting a standard in the industry and continuously raising it. Our focus is to make sure we light up people's lives, not just their faces.

What sets Riki Loves Riki products apart from other lighting accessories on the market?

We have about 140 different design and utility patents across the world. Having a top-notch design team gives us the power and speed to meet consumers' demands and innovate. We also heavily focus on the idea of making sure our customers are happy and satisfied. Our customer service is a priority as well as creating quality products. We are not just a beauty tech company; we are a family. 

Which products would you recommend first-time users must try?

It is so hard to pick just one, but it would have to be the Riki Skinny ($195)! We put so much love and effort into creating the best travel-friendly lighted mirror with Bluetooth function and accessories. If you own a Riki Skinny, you know how incredibly life-changing it is. 

How do you stay motivated and positive during stressful times at work? 

My greatest motivation is my 200 employees across the world. Knowing they are relying on us motivates me every day. Our customers also inspire me. Seeing someone's face the first time they see their face lit up by our products and reading every review about how our products have changed their lives keeps me going. We can't stop making people smile, and we won't. We're just getting started. 

Wanchen Kaiser / Riki Loves Riki

Byrdie / Riki Loves Riki

What advice do you have for anyone looking to break into your field?

A piece of advice for any field: Do what's not expected of you. Don't be afraid to learn and be taught. Even though you might not have learned everything in school, or if you didn't specifically study this field, you can always learn and make room for yourself. Always update your belief system because the e-commerce and marketing world evolves every day. Don't rely on what's working now for the future. Stay updated and keep learning.

What lasting impact do you hope to have on the beauty industry? 

We want to inspire our customers and followers to be themselves. We want to be a part of your life, whether having one of our products in your travel bag or being a part of your morning routine.

Being inclusive as a brand is extremely important to us. No matter your shape, size, or color, we want everyone to look in the mirror and be lit up from within with self-love and appreciation. Lighting up your outer beauty can also light up your inner beauty. We help achieve this by standing firm in our mission statement and acting on our beliefs as a brand.

What's next for the brand?

The next step is becoming a technology-driven beauty and wellness brand. We are working on lighting-related beauty facial devices and tools. We are also focusing heavily on entering the market in Mexico to make our products more accessible to our customers.

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