Chapter 1 /

Somewhere Sunnier with Circumference co-founder, Jina Kim

Words: Talya Wong + Courtney Chew
Interview: Jina Kim
Images: Provided by Jina Kim

Somewhere Sunnier with Circumference
Founded by Jina Kim and Chris Young, New York, USA | @circumferencenyc

Circumference is a sustainable skincare line whose priority is to engineer balanced formulas that are safe and stable. By sourcing indigenous botanicals with high bioactivity–the % of nutrients in a substance that are active and available for our bodies to use–we are presented with products that have integrity and purity. Co-founders Jina Kim and Chris Young were both raised in Korean households where the importance of skincare was reinforced daily by their family and culture from an early age. As Circumference continues to grow, they hope to build upon a brand that bridges innovative sustainable solutions with luxurious beauty products.

We are so excited to partner with Circumference for our second installation of Somewhere Sunnier: an initiative we started last year in response to the pandemic, as a way to highlight fellow small brands, to encourage supporting and shopping local, and to bring community together in an effort to inspire the feeling and the comforts of warmth and sunshine at home. 

Over the course of the next three weeks, we'll be sharing the stories of three brands we admire. We're also including a special something from the featured brand of the week in orders placed online OCIN.CO as a gift with purchase*, so that you can see and experience first-hand why we love them so. 

Join us on our second trip Somewhere Sunnier with the talented and smart entrepreneur behind Circumference: Jina Kim.

To read more about Circumference’s commitment to sustainability check out this link.

To receive your free gift with purchase for orders over $100, click here to add a full-size Daily Regenerative Cleanser by Circumference to your cart. 

*Somewhere Sunnier gifts are available in limited quantities, and subject to order amount. One per customer per order. The gift will automatically discount to $0 at checkout once added.*

OCIN: Why did you start Circumference?

Jina Kim: Chris (husband and co-founder) and I both worked in sustainable fashion for a number of years. Chris helped launch a sustainable denim line over 10 years ago and I was previously part of the launch team behind GIrlfriend Collective. Through that experience, we got to experience first hand the impact an industry disruptor can have and just how ready consumers are to more sustainable alternatives.

While our experience in fashion was incredibly valuable, we turned our attention toward an industry that we felt was greatly lacking in sustainable innovation. We didn’t want to be just another brand to use recyclable packaging and call ourselves sustainable, so we made it our mission to leverage sustainability as our core engine for innovation.

Truly, the genesis of Circumference was born out of the idea that sustainably sourcing quality ingredients leads to higher efficacy skincare products!

OCIN: What impact do you hope your products have on people and the planet?

JK: From a more immediate standpoint, we want to demonstrate to this industry that creating sustainable beauty products is viable and not just a marketing term. By sourcing ingredients from byproducts of our industries and finding ways to maximize waste by upcycling our own raw materials, we’re charting a new path for how this industry operates. Ultimately, we want to set a new standard for how sustainability can be defined in the beauty industry.

OCIN: Tell us a little about your line and how your products are unique.

JK: Our latest launch, Daily Regenerative Gel Cleanser, is truly a product we are proud of. We were able to partner with our friends at Brightland to source a key ingredient. Whereas they focus on cultivating and harvesting olives, it gave an opportunity to harvest the byproducts — olive leaves — that are otherwise gone to waste. We extracted the leaves for all its skin-nourishing goodness, including powerful antioxidants, polyphenols, gentle enzymes and more. The ingredient makes a truly refreshing, purifying cleanser that never leaves your skin stripped.

This latest launch is the 2nd phase of our Waste-Not Sourcing Initiative—a key initiative from our brand in which we continue to source byproducts from other industries, in the name of cross-industry collaboration sustainability!

OCIN: What is something you’ve learned to appreciate from the challenges of this past year and a bit?

JK: Time! Time is such a precious thing and a whole year went by in a blink of an eye. In that span of time, our brand went through some challenges like most but it also allowed us to think and reframe how we wanted to build this brand.

And from a personal standpoint, we unfortunately haven’t been able to see our family and our little toddler turned 2! This year went by fast and slow at the same time and I’ve really learned to appreciate just how valuable time can be.

OCIN:  Somewhere Sunnier is an initiative to highlight community: to bring together brands and humans we admire and to push the support of local and small businesses. What is something about the global small business community and customers, that inspires you?

JK: We’re inspired by the genuine curiosity and creativity of new entrepreneurs as well as customers. Even just 3 years ago, sustainability wasn’t a topic within the beauty industry and today, it’s become a key factor for even major corporations. All this because of the power of consumers and their demand for better, and the small brands that demonstrate the possibilities. That’s truly inspiring to us.

OCIN:  What can we keep our eye out for from Circumference this year?

JK: We’re currently working on expanding our Waste-Not Sourcing Initiative, as well as developing new products, revisiting old formulas, and looking to grow our impact further. New and exciting partnerships under way! Stay tuned. ;)

"We’re inspired by the genuine curiosity and creativity of new entrepreneurs as well as customers... the power of consumers and their demand for better, and the small brands that demonstrate the possibilities."