Keeping it Real | Trill Project


Q: Here at Trill we like to keep it True and Real, so give us the scoop, Sally. Who are you?

A: I’m the founder of CRUSHED TONIC, which is an ingestible collagen skincare brand in Sephora, KITH, Equinox, Anthropologie, Free People, Erewhon and more-- and the author of Collagen Glow, a cookbook that’s in Barnes and Noble, Target and Free People.

I’ve been obsessed with collagen since I got burned a couple years ago, and made it my full-time calling since then.

It’s been a really exciting journey starting my own company, but it's also been a very difficult one. There were a lot of obstacles that came along with being a young/ female/ asian-american entrepreneur. A lot of my partners are White men above the age of 45, and I’m not always taken seriously, which has been challenging-- sometimes in meetings, they’ll automatically assume I am the assistant-- and ask me to let them know when the CEO arrives! 

I try to stay true and real by being unapologetic about who I am at the core, and not hiding my personality, passions, interests and hobbies. My goal is to be who I needed when I was younger-- someone who I could look up to, but also someone I am able to connect with on a deeper level-- someone who shares the same issues and problems that I had as a young girl.   

Who I am/ how I like to define myself is beyond what I do for my career-- more so the person I’d like to be is someone who can help you believe in yourself and your ability to create/ make a difference. I hope to empower young girls and boys to think outside the box and believe in their power to make a footprint in this world.

Like yes, I have to be an entrepreneur who knows her stuff enough to sell her brand and a writer who is able to create wellness content for her readers, but I’m also a regular goofy, 26 yr old who loves to make tiktok videos, cook, bake, paint, and attend music festivals, the same 26 year old who struggles with anxiety, procrastination, and wants to give up on things once in a while and say “screw it!”.


Q: How have your learnings from an English major and career in finance informed your current career trajectory?

A: My english major allowed me to craft and refine our brand’s copywriting and marketing language-- essentially, the way I’d like my brand to be talked about both internally and externally. Being able to talk about my brand, answering interview questions in a concise and effective manner has also helped me get my brand and company out there, in addition to breaking down the science behind collagen for people who don’t understand its benefits.

My finance career helped me figure out how I’d like my brand to be viewed to investors and clients. I always encourage entrepreneurs to explore the world of finance because financial modeling skills aren’t always taught in school, and they’re really important when building a company.

Both parts of my background helped me build my brand holistically.



Q: What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?

A: When you’re an entrepreneur, you have to remember that you are lucky enough to pursue the opportunities you have in front of you, and the ones thrown at you. You have to wake up every day with so much gratitude and passion for what you’re building, so that waking up at 4:00am and opting out of social events is what you actually want to do. Building a company isn’t a highlight reel that you see on our social media-- there’s a lot more to a company than what we post about.

Shift your mindset to not view responsibilities as burdens, but trick your mind into thinking how lucky you are for all opportunities, even if it means missing out on a fun birthday party or having to lose some sleep.

Also-- rejection is just redirection!


Q: What are some of your Trill Tips for incorporating healthy lifestyle choices into everyday life?


I write in my journal every day about what little mistakes I made in a given day to help myself not make those mistakes again and to learn from them.


It’s important to go on platforms, like Trill, that share a sentiment for promoting a healthy and happy lifestyle. I like to go online to get inspired-- I actually love memes, like quotes or #lawofattraction memes; law of attraction is that if you’re thinking positive things, then positive outcomes will come to you. It’s all about manifesting and believing that you will achieve what you hope to achieve. I like to read about these ideas of positivity, listen to podcasts, and watch Ted Talks that inspire me.

experiment with different fashion styles, meditate, cuddle with my puppy, and catch up on sleep on weekends.



Q: How do you combat the often unrealistic expectations around wellness that are set on social media?  


A: You have to ignore the clutter, and remember that it’s photoshop and thousands of dollars of products, lighting, and equipment. Don’t buy into it. Look at what creators online are engaging with their followers. If a creator isn’t responding to users or caring to connect, then find someone different to follow online who will be more realistic. Personally, I get rejected all the time. I still have eating disorders I struggle with. I used to be 110lbs, and I still thought I was big. No matter how glamorous your life “looks” you have to love yourself first. Not everyone that I meet loves me and not everyone follows me. I think it’s important that people know this. It’s not something to be ashamed about. Not everyone in the world is going to like you, and it’s better to not care about those people because you don’t need that negative energy. There was a period of my life where I wasn’t hanging out with anyone, I was working all the time, and my friends and family were mad at me constantly because I couldn’t engage in social events they were inviting me to, go on trips, or even respond to group threads; being a founder isn’t always glamorous.


Happiness doesn’t come from what you do. It comes from knowing who you are on the inside, in the difference you believe that you are making in this world, and how you treat other people. The more positive energy you put out in the world; the more of it will come back to you. None of that can be quantified by followers or money. We get to live in our most beautiful bodies and have these beautiful lives.


Q: How can our Trill users go on to learn more about you and support your work?



Instagram: @sallsters // @crushedtonic // @collagenglow

Tiktok: @sallyoliviakim

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