Ice Mask tray. Photo courtesy of Love and Pebble

Local Atlanta skincare company Love & Pebble founded by married couple and Atlanta-natives Lynda Truong and Paul has become a cult-favorite amongst skincare enthusiasts. 

Love & Pebble began its journey in 2021, using Paul’s pharmacist background, he’s an alum of Georgia Tech, and Lynda’s love for skincare, and today is best known for their signature beauty pops

Launching immediately on TikTok, due to three viral videos, their product completely sold-out. Paul attributes their success to-date to TikTok from getting on Shark Tank and The Today Show to receiving 1,000s of orders over Black Friday. 

Since 2021, Love & Pebble’s success hasn’t stopped. They joined TikTok Shop in May 2023 and within two months they saw a 1,000% increase in revenue, selling out of their beauty pops twice over. By utilizing TikTok Shop’s ads, affiliate programs, and shoppable videos, they’ve been able to scale their business to meet customer demand.

Love & Pebble Q&A:

The Atlanta Voice: Why did you guys decide to start Love & Pebble?

Paul Truong: One day, my wife looked over at me and asked if I wanted to start a brand. At the time, I had a full-time dream career as a pharmacist for Delta Airlines. I was their pharmacist for the corporate personnel and the executives. One day, my wife was in the kitchen, and she pulled a frozen banana from the freezer and started rubbing it all over her face. I looked at her super confused. She then said, “No, it really works!” I tried it on my skin, and instantly, my skin felt amazing. We spent the next three years creating our new beauty product called the Beauty Pops. It is the first-ever frozen icy facial that melts into a skin-loving face mask.

AV: What about the name? How did Love & Pebble get its name?

PT: Love & Pebble comes from our names. My wife’s name, Lynda, is the “L” in Love, and Paul is the “P” in Pebble. Love & Pebble; Lynda & Paul. Love & Pebble is inspired by the story of penguins (that’s why it’s even our mascot). The penguins, when they look for a mate, will look for the perfect pebble to offer. If the female penguin accepts, they will mate for life. This brand, Love & Pebble, is my “pebble” to my wife, Lynda.

AV: How did you both feel when your products and brand went viral on TikTok with three videos? 

PT: That night, we first went viral, we had just launched our Beauty Pops in the spring of 2021. Lynda had just posted a video about her mom on TikTok. The next thing I remember was about to go to sleep for the night, and our phone kept ringing due to sales. The video went viral, and to this day, I believe it has almost 5 million views. Fast forward to today, when we started on TikTok Shop, we discovered something else. While it’s so nice to get our own viral videos, when we got our TikTok Shop going, we focused heavily on getting affiliates. What we discovered is that some of the affiliates were new to being one. They were stay-at-home moms or new to being influencers. When they did a review of our product as an affiliate, their videos went viral, and sales skyrocketed. When we launched our affiliate program with 20 affiliates, that first couple of weeks in June 2023, we sold out of 4 to 5 months of inventory in 2 weeks. The affiliates all got commissions, and it was a life-changing experience for everyone. To put it in perspective, we sold out of more inventory that month than we did when we aired on Shark Tank (We actually aired in 2021, the Friday before BFCM).

AV: What kind of influence does TikTok, and other social media have on businesses nowadays, in your opinion?

PT: I’ve made this statement, and I think it is completely true: TikTok Shop will be the biggest e-commerce platform, even bigger than Amazon. We found this out this summer. For our business, we packed up our whole family and moved to Asia for 3 months. A big reason why we moved our manufacturing to Korea. While in Asia, we saw how TikTok Shop was the biggest e-commerce platform. We decided to test this and send 2000 units to Asia, which sold out in 3 days due to influencers’ videos. The biggest advantage of TikTok is that it is global and gives small brands like us access to not only the US market but international as well.

AV: Tell me a little about being on Shark Tank and The Today Show? What was the experience like?

PT: One word, hectic. Shark Tank actually reached out to us because they found one of our viral videos on Tik Tok. The day we flew out to Culver City to film, we actually aired on the Today Show where Al Roker said our tagline. Once again, Julie Wilson, the beauty director of Cosmopolitan, reached out to us because she was doing a segment on the Today Show but found out about us from one of our TikTok videos that went viral. While we were on set for Shark Tank, it was so surreal. All businesses go through a really strenuous 3 to 4 months where producers help you with your pitch. However, after you do your pitch, it is a free format Q&A where we are asked all questions about our business. Something that most people don’t know is that we are actually in there for hours. We got to know all the Sharks really well, and they were very, very nice to us. All of them gave us so much business advice that is honestly priceless. However, we left the tank with no investors, which devastated us. We didn’t think we would air, but a couple of months later we aired the Friday before Black Friday (and even are the thumbnail for our episode on Hulu) which exploded sales. I feel they really portrayed our story well, and I am forever grateful for Shark Tank because of this.

AV: Was there a moment that inspired you both to start this business?

PT: My wife, she was and forever will be the source of my inspiration. Being married to your business partner is by no means easy, but I feel that she is an amazing partner in life and business. For her, she loves skincare, so to be able to create her brand has always been a dream for her. I am just here to help make that dream come true.

AV: There are a plethora of skincare products and companies out, what makes Love & Pebble stand out? 

PT: I think what makes us stand out is…us. Our story, our journey here.  You are absolutely correct! There are so many brands out there. However this brand is my pebble to my wife. Of course, we made the first ever frozen icy facial that melts into a skin loving face mask,  literally changing your skin. Also, we are bringing the best asian influenced skincare (K Beauty, J Beauty, etc.) to the US. However, we are bringing formulas that stand for who we are. That is why we will always have the cleanest formulations meeting the standards in the industry for clean beauty. We also want to be a brand that stands for beauty for all. Inclusivity is a big focus for us as a brand, which is why we have our NMSDC minority certification and really focus on products for every skin type.

Glow Enzyme- Beauty Pops Frozen Face Mask KIT. Photo courtesy of Love and Pebble

AV: Is there a mentor in your lives that inspired/inspires you as a business owner?

PT: My mentor is my parents, who were the first entrepreneurs before being an entrepreneur was a cool thing to do. Being Asian, a lot of our parents were the original entrepreneurs opening businesses and working hard to make them successful. A lot of times when I get stressed out, I actually go to my dad who always assures me that I am doing well and that if I keep working hard, I will succeed.

AV: What are your business goals for the remainder of the year?

PT: Due to our success and selling out twice this year, TikTok Shop gave us the courage to order the most products we’ve ever ordered before. We will have 70,000 units of Beauty Pops produced for Q4. My job is to sell through all of them by the end of the year. We also have set up offices in Asia, so our goal is to launch products in Vietnam and Korea.

AV: Any advice to future business owners taking the plunge?

PT: A lot of the time as entrepreneurs, we want to have the confidence to start this journey, but being new to everything you have to do, failing time after time, being ridiculed, laughed at…you don’t have that confidence to know that you will succeed. So instead of confidence, have courage instead. Courage to keep going past the failures, the uncertainty, doubt, and fears. Because when your courage gets to the other side, that’s where you will find your success and confidence you were hoping for in the beginning.

AV: Anything else to add?

PT: I love my wife, and I promised that we will succeed. I will keep going until that happens.