Toni Ko

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Toni Ko
Born1972/1973 (age 47–48)[1]
Daegu, South Korea[1]
  • CEO of Butter Ventures
  • CEO of Perverse Sunglasses [3]
  • CEO if Bespoke Beauty Brands
Known forFounder of NYX Cosmetics[3]
Net worth$270 million (2019)[2]
Korean name
Revised RomanizationGo Miyeong
McCune–ReischauerKo Miyŏng

Toni Ko (born c. 1973)[1] is a Korean-American businesswoman and founder of NYX Cosmetics. She currently works in Los Angeles.[2]

Early life[edit]

Ko was born in Daegu, South Korea. In 1986, at the age of 13, her family immigrated to the United States.[1] She spent most of her teenage years working for her parents, who also worked in the cosmetics industry. She attended Glendale Community College but dropped out to work for her parents full-time.[5]

NYX Cosmetics[edit]

In 1999, Ko founded NYX Cosmetics,[5] being given $250,000 in startup money from her mother.[6] The company earned $4 million in its first year.[5] The company was named after the Greek goddess Nyx.[6]

In 2014, Ko sold NYX Cosmetics to L'Oréal for $500 million.[7]

Other work[edit]

In March 2016, Ko created the Perverse Sunglasses company,[5] which was the eyewear sponsor of Coachella.[2] The company later changed its name to Thomas James LA. The retailer sells online only, following an unsuccessful attempt at opening brick-and-mortar stores.[8]

She also is the founder and current CEO of Butter Ventures,[3] a principal venture firm based in California that invests in start-ups, especially those created by women.[9]

On September 30, 2019, following a five-year non-compete agreement with L'Oréal, Toni Ko launched a new cosmetics-focused company, Bespoke Beauty Brands (BBB), which would launch brands in cooperation with various celebrities and social-media influencers.[10][11] The company's first collection, KimChi Chic Beauty, launched October 16 in partnership with drag queen Kim Chi.[12] On January 17, 2021, Bespoke Beauty Brands launched Jason Wu Beauty at Target, in partnership with designer Jason Wu.[13]


Ko has received awards in connection to her business work, such as the 2015 Leadership Award from NAWBO.[3] The National Women's History Museum honored Ko at the 2016 Women Making History Awards.[14]


  1. ^ a b c d Shin, Yong-bae (15 July 2016). "NYX Cosmetics' Toni Ko, one of Forbes' richest self-made women". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 4 July 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b c d "Toni Ko". Forbes Profiles. Forbes. Retrieved 4 July 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ a b c d "Executive Profile Toni Ko". Bloomberg. Bloomberg. Retrieved 4 July 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "미국 자수성가 여성 어떻게 일어섰나…'패션ㆍ리테일이 대세'". The Korea Herald. 12 October 2016. Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d O'Conner, Clare (1 June 2016). "Banking On Beauty: How Toni Ko Built NYX Cosmetics Into A $500 Million Brand". Forbes. Retrieved 4 July 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ a b White, Ronald (17 April 2016). "Toni Ko's next fortune could be made in shades". LA Times. Retrieved 4 July 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ White, Ronald (15 May 2016). "Fashion entrepreneur Toni Ko keeps it stylish but affordable". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 4 July 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ Brandman, Mariana. "Toni Ko". National Women's History Museum. Retrieved 2021-05-14.
  9. ^ "Company Overview of Butter Ventures". Bloomberg. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  10. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: NYX Cosmetics' Toni Ko Launches Bespoke Beauty Brands". WWD. WWD. 30 September 2019. Retrieved 18 October 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ Robinson, Cheryl (2020-05-01). "From Cosmetics To Beauty Incubators: Toni Ko's 3 Pillars To Launching A Successful Company". Forbes. Retrieved 2021-05-14.
  12. ^ Dall'Asen, Nicola (2019-10-16). "Another Beloved 'Drag Race' Star Is Launching a Makeup Brand". Allure. Retrieved 2021-05-14.
  13. ^ Thomas, Ellen; Thomas, Ellen (2020-10-23). "Jason Wu to Debut Beauty Line at Target". WWD. Retrieved 2021-05-14.
  14. ^ "2016 Women Making History Awards". National Women's History Museum. Retrieved 2021-05-14.