Two college students start Southern California nonprofit for coronavirus relief

Jade Lee standing to the left with Jaclyn Dong to the right and both their arms folded

Jade Lee standing to the left with Jaclyn Dong to the right and both their arms folded
Jade Lee (left) and Jaclyn Dong (right) were both interested in skin care and wanted to make a positive impact during coronavirus which is why decided to start their nonprofit Hidden Beauty. (Photo courtesy of Hidden Beauty)

During coronavirus lockdowns this summer, two students joined forces to create a nonprofit that donates 100% of its profits to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund to provide N95 masks to health care workers on the front lines of the pandemic.

Referenced in its slogan “mask for mask,” Hidden Beauty sells skin care masks to fund donations of medical masks through UNICEF and has donated $1,000 to UNICEF for coronavirus relief to date. 

USC sophomore Jaclyn Dong and University of California, San Diego senior Jade Lee created Hidden Beauty as part of the 2020 Wongsulting Project, a competition where the two students were placed on a team with the goal of creating a project that helps to solve a root problem of a local business.

Making a positive impact on the world during the coronavirus pandemic was a priority for the duo and also influenced their desire to sell environmentally conscious skin care products, said Dong, who’s majoring in business administration. 

“We’re both interested in skin care … We also wanted to make a positive impact on the world during coronavirus,” Dong said. “So we decided to collaborate and create a brand that was based on eco friendly, organic, cruelty-free skin care products.”

The team collaborates with two wholesalers: Innisfree, which offers biodegradable and naturally-made products, and Made Simple Skin Care, which makes raw, vegan and non-GMO products.

“I kind of wanted to include a third possible cause to our fundraiser, which was the Earth,” said Lee, who’s majoring in economics. “Innisfree is actually not vegan, but it is biodegradable and they use a lot of natural products and ingredients, whereas Made Simple Skin Care was a company I personally reached out to and really wanted to feature on the website because it was a local business … and woman-owned.” 

The brand also prides itself on inner beauty, which refers to the hidden message Lee and Dong believe comes with purchasing a skin care mask that helps prevent a valuable life from contracting the virus. 

Lee and Dong have learned lessons about teamwork that come with running a business, including that the values of honesty and transparency are beneficial to running a business. Through their monthslong work, Dong also said that their separate skill sets — Lee’s experience in technology and accounting and Dong’s in writing and project management — have complemented each other and benefitted the nonprofit. 

Dong and Lee said they have been able to use their experiences in college organizations and young perspectives to their benefit when it came to advertising Hidden Beauty. Remaining active on LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook, the team has promoted the brand by hosting giveaways of Innisfree and Made Simple skin care masks and encouraging people to share their social media posts. Lee also personally runs the nonprofit’s social media accounts and designs all of the graphics for the brand. 

Jeremiah Jamero, Hidden Beauty’s first customer, discovered the nonprofit after hearing about the project from Lee. After looking into Hidden Beauty, Jamero said he felt inclined to purchase the most expensive item available for sale to support the cause.

“When I saw their cause, helping out UNICEF, donating masks, I thought that was a pretty good cause because when COVID started there was huge news that, for some time, face masks will be a shortage,” Jamero said. 

While Hidden Beauty was started as a temporary business, as it centers around aiding health care workers during the coronavirus pandemic, Lee said she sees the expansion of Hidden Beauty as a future possibility. 

“If people were really passionate about Hidden Beauty and they really like our mission statement, I could definitely see a possibility of [expansion] one day in the future,” Lee said. “Our mission would also have to change a little bit because we would no longer be geared toward specifically the coronavirus pandemic. ”