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Christina Kao, Outstanding ASMS Graduate and International Business Woman

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Christina Kao - @thechristinakao

Christina Kao is a Class of 1997 graduate of the Alabama School of Mathematics and Science (ASMS). She is also the co-founder of Camelia Beauty and the brand Le Mini Macaron. Her brand recently launched in Target stores, and some may even be near her fellow ASMS alumni and current ASMS students!

After graduating from ASMS, Christina moved to NYC and studied business (marketing/management) at New York University. She worked in advertising for 5 years in NYC and then moved to Shanghai where she lived for over 10 years, working in marketing and communications for ad agencies and event agencies. In 2015, she started the Le Mini Macaron brand with her partner, and they moved to Barcelona in 2017 where they set up their head office. Today, they have a team of 30 people -- mostly in Barcelona but with several who are in cities in the US, Europe, and Asia as well.

About her Brand - @leminimacaron

Le Mini Macaron is a privately-funded, indie beauty brand launched in 2015 with a focus on making gel manicures easy affordable and fun to DIY at home. The nail brand has since launched in over 30 markets in the past 7 years including with retailers like Target, Sephora, ULTA, ASOS, QVC, Urban Outfitters, Zalando and more. Le Mini Macaron is also available in North America via and in Europe via The brand originated with gel nail kits but has expanded into all color and care products for hand and foot.

Le Mini Macaron has been featured in media like Elle, Marie Claire, Refinery29, Popsugar, BuzzFeed, and more. Christina herself has been invited by QVC to appear on-air in the US and Italy. Today the company has operations and offices in Spain, France, USA, and China/Hong Kong and handles all areas of product development (concept creation, design, and production) brand marketing, communications and design, digital and ecommerce, sales & marketing (with a heavy focus on social media), import/export, and all logistics and shipping (at both global and local levels) distributor and retailer accounts and market activation.

You can read more about the brand’s Target launch here!

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Preparation at ASMS

Kao shared, “Even though everyone else was studying math and science, I was passionate about languages and had started taking French & Spanish prior to coming to ASMS. I took both classes from Madame Gilkey (or Señora Gilkey, depending on which class it was!), and I also did my work study with her. After graduating, I went to Salamanca, Spain on a summer study abroad that she organized for a few students. In college I ended up minoring in Spanish, and I also studied abroad in France after graduation. Today, I live in Barcelona, use Spanish every day, my business partner is French, and we sell our products in Sephora in France! My French and Spanish are relevant every day in my business and personal life! These early steps I took at ASMS led to the life that I have today.”

Advice to ASMS Students who are Aspiring Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders

Kao expressed, “First, I recommend you gain working experience both at a larger corporate company (where you will see structure, process, and hopefully have a good manager where you can learn how things operate) and also at a startup (where you will have to problem solve, face crises, see your contributions add great value, and learn how things work on the fly). I recommend the order be: first corporate, then startup. Because your corporate experience will provide a bigger picture view so that you can roll with a startup, be more creative and really pitch in. This was what I did, and it helped me a lot. Second, when you're ready to start your own business, don't quit your day job! Hold onto a job for as long as you can while you hustle to build a business. Revenue is hard to generate, especially in the beginning. You will be able to last longer if you have an income stream while you build your idea/business.”

Giving Back

Christina will be hosting a Lunch and Learn this spring for ASMS students interested in a career in business/marketing, beauty, or even working/living internationally.

Thank you, and congratulations, Christina!

  • Feb 25, 2022