Q&A: Heela Yang takes over the beauty space with Sol de Janeiro

Lifestyle Asia KL Heela Yang Headshot 2
Lifestyle Asia KL Heela Yang Headshot 2

CEO and co-founder of Sol de Janeiro – Heela Yang – chats with us about the importance of self  and body care.

We’re sure you’ve seen and heard of the cult beauty brand – Sol de Janeiro. From Instagram Reels to TikTok, the much-raved-about Brazilian Bum Bum Cream and Brazilian Crush Cheirosa ‘62 Perfume Mist are inescapable. At this point, no Instagram vanity shots are complete without the cult products. 

The person behind the cult favourites? Heela Yang. Yang co-founded Sol de Janeiro in 2016 and the rise has been meteoric. Sol de Janeiro prides itself on being a body care brand that grounds itself in body positivity, liberation and self-care. 

Clearly, she knew what she was doing. Only months after its launch, the Brazilian Bum Bum Cream became the best-selling cream in Sephora. Now, the Brazilian brand has expanded into haircare and fragrances. We have our eye on the SOL Cheirosa ‘62 Eau de Parfum. 

We had the pleasure to interview the woman behind it all and chat about why the brand resonates with so many people, merging Eastern and Western skincare philosophies and body positivity.

Lifestyle Asia KL Sol de Janeiro Heela Yang Headshot 2
Lifestyle Asia KL Sol de Janeiro Heela Yang Headshot 2

Sol de Janeiro’s tagline is “if youve got it, flaunt it.” How has Brazilian culture impacted your view on body positivity and inclusivity?

Sol de Janeiro exists to spark endless self-celebration and joy through the power and warmth of the Brazilian spirit. In Brazil, ‘beautiful’ isn’t a standard but an attitude. It’s the confidence from feeling good in your skin. With a lifestyle born in the hot sands of Rio de Janeiro, we accept, embrace, hug and celebrate everybody, every curve, every fold, every truth. Treating our skin every day comes as naturally as showering or brushing our teeth. It’s more than a daily do – it’s an exciting and invigorating part of our day.

With a background as an analyst with a focus on the retail industry and an extensive record of leading global brands, would you say this has helped you be a step ahead in knowing what consumers want?

As an entrepreneur, I understand that launching a new product in a saturated market is no easy feat. Despite receiving advice to change the name and launch with more traditional scents and packaging, I held onto our mission and brand DNA. That very thoughtfully created brand DNA and our long-term perspective allowed us to be courageous due to the foundation that we built early on.

The Brazilian Bum Bum Cream has gained a mass cult following, what do you think is about the product that has resonated a lot with consumers?

Our brand has become a cult favourite thanks to our gourmand scents, which were initially discouraged by industry insiders. Yet, these same scents have catapulted us to become the #1 fragrance amongst our retailers.

Sol de Janeiro is all about body positivity and self-care, what Brazilian values would you hope for the Asian market to take from the Brazilian inspired brand?

Asians remain widely acknowledged for their expertise in facial skincare, while Brazilians continue to hold a reputation for their exceptional body care practices. Personally, my intrigue has grown deeper over time with the multi-step facial cleansing routines deeply embedded in Korean culture, knowledge passed down from my mother during my upbringing. Interestingly, it wasn’t until I moved to Brazil that I began to give parallel importance to body care. This voyage has enabled me to unearth the invaluable secrets of attaining comprehensive, all-encompassing beauty from head to toe.

What inspired the expansion into Malaysia?

Sol de Janeiro was not born because we saw a gap in the market and decided to fill it. Instead, we had a mission to fill an emotional whitespace. We wanted to spread confidence and encouragement throughout the world to feel good in one’s skin and we created a product that fits that very emotion and feeling.

What are some things that consumers don’t know about the Sol de Janeiro brand?

Our brand name, Sol de Janeiro, is inspired by the highest point of the Brazilian summer sun, also known as the “Sun of January.” We are a brand that aims to bring the joy and warmth of summertime to people all year round, no matter where they are in the world.

What can we expect from Sol de Janeiro in the future?

We have so much in store, and I am so excited to continue to expand our product categories and scent stories for our consumers!

Sol de Janeiro is now available at Sephora online and in-store.

(All images by Sol de Janeiro)

The post Q&A: Heela Yang takes over the beauty space with Sol de Janeiro appeared first on Lifestyle Asia Kuala Lumpur.