Running from the Phoenix

By: Chloe Kwak 

When Seyong and I first decided to launch our company, we brainstormed around many different potential names for our brand. It was a hilarious undertaking. We were like new parents trying to find the perfect name for our unborn child.

Choosing a Company Name that Matches Our Philosophy

Of course, we wanted a name that would fully capture the spirit of what we wanted to build. Codifying our philosophy was easy. From the very beginning, we promised each other that we would always strive to:
  • Honor our artisanal heritage by aggressively pursuing the innovation required by our future customers;
  • Develop skincare products that are not just pro-wellness and stress-free, but that are truly effective and beneficial for all skin types and skin tones; and
  • Promote a culture of wellness, never in a moralizing or superficial way, but always in a sharing and holistic way.

Putting a name to our philosophy was not as easy. Seyong initially came up with several different ideas, ranging from the embarrassing “Chloe” (ugh!) to the indecipherable “Wonepacse” (yes, it would’ve been pronounced “one epoxy”, and no, please don’t ask). Seyong even designed a logo for one name he really liked – a dark blue phoenix rising from the ashes.


I have chosen to forget the name for that one.

The Number 107

We ended up finding our name somewhat serendipitously. One day, while discussing which potential aged vinegar we should use in our first skincare line, Seyong gave me a rundown of all the different types of vinegars his family made. I found out then that they not only had nine different vinegars available at that time (even a pearl vinegar!), but that they had many more recipes and formulas for other types of vinegars and vinegar-based products.

“How many different recipes?”, I asked.

“A lot”, he answered. And then casually added, “we actually have over 100 different secret recipes, formulas and methods that have been passed down from generation to generation at my family.”  My memory’s not perfect, but I’m pretty sure he lowered his voice to a whisper when he said this, even though we were alone.

“How many exactly?”, I responded.

“A hundred and seven.”

As soon as Seyong said that number, we both looked up at each other. We both knew, right then and there, that “107” (pronounced “one o seven”) would be the name for our brand. It was perfect. Using numbers as a brand name was unique in the beauty space, just like our aged vinegar. It paid homage to our artisanal heritage, but it was also a nice metaphor for our belief in utilizing modern science to renew centuries-old beauty secrets. Numbers were also a universal language that could be understood globally – it was a name that would be accessible to everyone, simple to pronounce and easy to understand.

Hence, 107 was born (minus the phoenix).

phoneix 2

Chloe is a Certified National Aesthetician in Korea and the co-Founder & Co-CEO of 107.