“Jade rollers have been around for centuries and centuries, and there’s a reason why they are still peddled for a few dollars. The main problem with gua sha is that it’s breaking capillaries,” says Chou. “And there are other Eastern Medicine tools that haven’t really innovated. I have tried them all. I have built the Kairetool based on my own research and added components to expedite the process. It’s a completely different product.”
It took Chou a decade to perfect Kairetool, which looks completely different from predecessor devices. Chess pieces inspired the structure of the tool, although it’s not like chess pieces Magnus Carlsen would recognize. It fits in the palm of a user’s hand, has three prongs and a knob handle, and is available in matte and shiny varieties.
“It’s truly a multipurpose tool,” says Chou. “People have been using it everywhere, really everywhere. They use it all over their bodies, anywhere they feel achy or that’s a problem area, and they roll it over their face and scalp.” The device is intended to target acupressure points and be glided for 30 seconds on the desired parts of the body.
After getting familiar with beauty tools through jade rollers and gua sha, Selfkaire is a brand for consumers interested in taking their tool experience up a notch. At $125, it’s pricier than gua sha and jade rollers, ubiquitous products on Amazon, but Chou promises its outcomes outshine the competitors. Selfkaire is conducting a clinical study scheduled to be completed in the third quarter of 2019 to validate its claims.
“I wanted to be the first brand that combines aesthetics and efficacy. A lot of things work really well, but are really ugly to look at, and a lot of things look really pretty, but don’t work too well.”
“I wanted to be the first brand that combines aesthetics and efficacy. A lot of things work really well, but are really ugly to look at, and a lot of things look really pretty, but don’t work too well,” says Chou. “I wanted to combine the two to give you something that looks pretty and really works.”
Chou’s journey to Selfkaire started when the former investment banking analyst and graduate of Wharton’s MBA program was toiling in finance. Constantly sitting at a desk in front of a computer, her legs began to swell and cramp severely. She went to doctors and was told to wear compression socks that did little. She turned to Eastern treatments as a last resort, although she was skeptical. To her surprise, they were helpful, but long and painful.
“I’m roughly 100 pounds, and there was this 200- to 250-pound lady putting all this pressure on me and scraping my body. It was very close to the gua sha, but way more intense,” says Chou, recounting a flat paddle brush was applied to her legs to address the swelling. “I did it every two to three weeks for half a year. I have a really high pain tolerance, and I would be screaming because it was so painful. It was highly unpleasant.”
Chou invested about $100,000 to establish Selfkaire and deliver the effects of the treatments she received without the pain and time commitment. She assembled a team of engineers to assist with the construction of Kairetool and secured a factory in China to produce it. Chou reports Selfkaire has obtained a utility patent covering the tool’s development. Headquartered in Los Angeles, the brand’s name references air, a key concept in Eastern Medicine, the energy healing technique Reiki and self-care.
“If you were getting monthly massages at $100 a pop, my tool would be much more affordable. It can take the place of a gua sha or a foam roller, and it definitely replaces a jade roller.”Direct-to-consumer sales are expected to be responsible for the bulk of Selfkaire’s business and drive a substantial amount of sales. Chou shares the brand’s revenue goal for its initial year on the market is $10 million. She’s open to wholesale accounts – Sephora is a dream retailer – but views them as awareness plays rather than sales cornerstones.
Next month, Selfkaire plans to kick off Facebook and Instagram advertising. In the lead up to its ads, it’s been reaching out to skincare micro-influencers with up 60,000 followers to post about Kairetool. Chou is optimistic Selfkaire’s marketing will be boosted by before-and-after images it will show once its clinical study is finished. She asserts, “Pictures speak for themselves.”
Chou acknowledges, however, that Selfkaire will encounter challenges on course to its revenue goal. The comparably lofty price tag of Kairetool is chief among them. However, Chou suggests a bit of information can overcome the price hurdle. “If you were getting monthly massages at $100 a pop, my tool would be much more affordable. It can take the place of a gua sha or a foam roller, and it definitely replaces a jade roller,” she says. “I wanted to create a tool at an affordable price point that could do many functions for people and wouldn’t break the bank.”