A Gen Z beauty startup gets a glow up

This founder is taking her high-quality, affordable skincare line to the next level with WeWork

Jeena Chong, founder of Cityface, at WeWork The Tower in Burbank, CA. Photographs by Yulia Tregub Morris

The ways we work have fundamentally changed. People no longer seek just work-life balance. They want the power to choose when, where, and how they work. They want the freedom to create their own schedules, to do work they find meaningful, and to be in a space that suits their unique needs. Gone are the days of a one-size-fits-all nine to five. In All the Ways You Work, WeWork members share how they’re reimagining their professional lives and thriving in this new world of work.

Entrepreneur, beauty expert, and recent UC Berkeley business school graduate Jeena Chong knows good skincare. It’s been a passion since she was a girl growing up in her heavily polluted hometown of Seoul, managing her pollution-induced sensitive skin. That experience was the inspiration for her skincare company, Cityface, which this year was named a winner of WeWork’s National Small Business Week contest. 

Created during the pandemic when Chong was in college, Cityface is a Gen Z effort through and through. The team that launched the company was also fellow students, working remotely around the globe from Seoul to Paris and across California. “We had to learn how to work together and communicate while building trust and creating an effective digital team,” Chong says. 

The beauty brand caters to people of a similar age and is on a mission to create accessible, affordable, and effective skincare using the highest quality Korean ingredients—while also prioritizing social impact, diversity, and transparency to empower minorities and young creatives. And they’re only two years in.

While in college, Chong lived near WeWork 2120 University Avenue in Berkeley, CA, and took a tour of the space. But at the time, the company wasn’t at the stage to take that next step. After she graduated and moved to Los Angeles, Chong says, “I felt like I really needed a space to be able to focus solely on Cityface, where work wasn’t blended with home.” So when she saw an announcement for WeWork’s Small Business contest, she decided to apply. “And it ended up working out wonderfully,” she says. Cityface was one of ten winners to receive a WeWork private office for six months. 

Chong works out of her private office at WeWork 611 North Brand Boulevard in Los Angeles.

Nowadays, Chong goes to the company’s private office at WeWork 611 North Brand Boulevard in Glendale at least a few days each week to work on strategy, meet with existing and potential partners, shoot content, and lead internal meetings.

The team has even created a “mini-studio” in their Los Angeles office, complete with a backdrop for product photography sessions and other photoshoots. “The space is big enough to easily change the setup and the WeWork team members are always happy to help,” Chong says, which makes it perfect for a brand that’s as content-driven as Cityface is.

Chong especially appreciates that “the spaces are really beautifully decorated and unique to each city and neighborhood” they’re in — for new creative content opportunities and room to work wherever they go. 

Sharing office areas with other founders and creatives and seeing how they work has been a great source of inspiration for us.

Jeena Chong, founder of Cityface

Since 2020, the Cityface team has grown to five people located across the U.S. in cities like New York and Los Angeles. When they’re traveling, Chong and her colleagues rely on day-pass credits to find a convenient workspace. “Regardless of whether we’re all in the same place, WeWork’s global availability has allowed us to take advantage of shared workspace areas to carry out deep, focused work in a creative environment,” Chong says. 

Having a dedicated private workspace and meeting rooms has helped avoid siloes among Cityface teammates, and encourages effective collaboration. But, Chong says, it’s also incredibly valuable simply “being in a space where other people are also actively pursuing what they love.”   

“Sharing office areas with other founders and creatives and seeing how they work has been a great source of inspiration for us,” she says. 

With networking events like craft nights, snack time, breakfast buffets, and others hosted by the WeWork community, members have a chance to get to know each other and learn from one another. “Even just seeing the notifications for upcoming events and everyone gathered in the common spaces is very uplifting,” says Chong, who plans on hosting her own events at her WeWork building in the coming months.

Chong plans to host networking and Q&A events for young creatives at her WeWork building.

Next up for the Cityface team? A brand ambassador program aimed at college students, a program that will be enabled by WeWork. “We hope to host some in-person events for our city’s Gen Z community in the coming months as well,” Chong says. “Before WeWork, that wasn’t even a possibility for us. But now we’re able to start planning these in-person gatherings and that’s really exciting.” 

Other ideas include networking or Q&A events for young creatives interested in the beauty and skincare industries, and another series aimed at Asian-American founders and entrepreneurs. Chong is also looking forward to the initiatives she and the team haven’t even thought of yet. “I’m trying to push the possibilities as far as possible,” she says. 

Anastasia Dyakovskaya is a writer, content producer, and native New Yorker living in Madrid. She works with folks like Bain, Edelman, and Industry Dive and holds a master’s in creative writing from the University of St Andrews.

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