Trang Cao's Journey from Leading SKIMS's Growth to Building Her Own Brands

In this episode, we sit down with Trang Cao, former VP of Performance Marketing at Skims and founder of The Growth Chef, to explore her journey from fashion enthusiast to e-commerce maven. We delve into the lessons she's learned, the strategies she's mastered, and the insights she's gained from her diverse experiences in the fashion and beauty industry.


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Trang Cao explains that through her career, the skillsets needed have evolved but one consistent aspect has been the need for an analytical approach. Understanding the numbers and data behind business decisions has been fundamental for anyone in B2C and e-commerce. She also clarifies that the advancement in artificial intelligence serves humans by taking over tasks such as translation, allowing humans to focus on higher-level thinking and strategic work.

  1. Growing a brand sustainably requires more focus on brand and product relevance, not just aggressive discounting.
  2. Storytelling and understanding the customer's needs is crucial for successful influencer marketing.
  3. KPIs should be closely monitored but one shouldn't be obsessed with them; it's important to know what's essential at the moment.
  4. Utilizing platforms like Shopify can help businesses focus on their products and branding rather than on backend development.
  5. Content creation consistency, such as posting on TikTok, is key for brand visibility and potential virality.
  6. Celebrity endorsements do not guarantee to save a failing business and should align authentically with the brand's target audience.

Tips & Advice

  • For young brands with limited budgets, prioritizing consistent content creation on platforms like TikTok is key. This allows the algorithm to understand the audience better and increases the chance for the content to go viral.

  • When utilizing influencer marketing, ensure that it is authentic and resonates with both your brand and audience to avoid just using a recognizable face without substance behind the partnership.

Viewpoints: Trang contends that technology is not replacing jobs but serving humans to enable more focus on strategic tasks instead of time-consuming operational ones. She advocates for an entrepreneurial spirit which includes the desire to win, take ownership, and remain productive and goal-focused.

Actionable learnings

Launching a Brand on Social Media

Guide to leveraging TikTok for brand awareness and customer acquisition.

  1. Determine your target audience and create content that resonates with them.
  2. Develop a content calendar and ensure consistent posting to improve engagement and algorithmic visibility.
  3. Monitor engagement and iterate a content strategy based on audience feedback and performance metrics.
  4. Collaborate with influencers who align with your brand's values and can authentically represent your products.
  5. Leverage TikTok's viral mechanisms, such as trending audio and challenges, to increase reach and discoverability.

Creating Effective Promotions for E-commerce

Steps to design promotional campaigns that stand out during the holiday season. 6. Identify unique aspects of your product that can connect with seasonal trends or customer interests.
7. Develop a campaign that goes beyond traditional discounts, such as offering a free, on-branded gift with purchase.
8. Ensure that the promotion resonates with your brand story and adds genuine value to the customer experience.
9. Use social media, email marketing, and targeted advertisements to spread the word about your campaign.
10. Collect data on campaign performance to inform future promotional strategies and understand customer preferences.

Financial Assessment for E-commerce

A framework for monitoring and managing the financial health and marketing performance of an e-commerce business through targeted KPIs.

  1. Profitability Focus Prioritizing KPIs that showcase the profitability of the business, such as net revenue and cash flow, and using these numbers to influence business decisions.
  2. Brand Marketing KPIs Using KPIs like impressions and views to assess the reach and impact of brand marketing campaigns on audience engagement.
  3. Performance Marketing KPIs Tracking performance marketing success through return on ad spend (RoAS) and ensuring each dollar spent on advertising yields an appropriate return.
  4. Balanced KPI Analysis Avoiding overemphasis on single metrics and instead using a balanced approach to analyze various KPIs relevant at different stages of the business.

Links & Resources from this episode:

Meet the Speaker


Trang Cao

Co-founder, The Growth Chef Marketing Group

Trang Cao, the former VP of Performance Marketing at Skims by Kim Kardashian, started her company, The Growth Chef in 2022. The Growth Chef is a group of brands that includes an e-commerce advisory firm, a Shopify app development and investment lab, and multiple DTC ventures. Trang's childhood interest in fashion led her to pursue a career in the industry, despite initially focusing on her American dream. Her father was a big inspiration to ignite her ‘entrepreneurial spirit’, and one skill that she considers game-changing for marketers is understanding what is hidden behind their data and numbers.

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