Beauty shop Chateau Mae aims to diversify skin care in Berkeley

Sam Albillo/Staff

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Family-owned beauty shop Chateau Mae opened its doors in Downtown Berkeley on Aug. 17 and has since been a popular destination after a post about the shop’s opening went viral on Twitter. 

According to Destiny Gong, who helped her mother and two sisters open the store, Chateau Mae is a response to the gap in the Oakland and Berkeley beauty markets for Korean skin care and makeup. Located at 2118 Shattuck Ave., Gong said most of the shop’s visitors came after seeing her sister Monica Gong’s post on Twitter, which received nearly 2,000 retweets and more than 7,000 likes in just two weeks.    

“The most exciting (part) is seeing people come in super excited to see all these products that they usually only see online or … in Asia,” Gong said. 

Gong added that the products sold at Chateau Mae are predominantly Korean, with a few from Japan. She explained that Korean skin care is often more varied, offers more extensive care and is often more thoroughly researched in comparison to American beauty products. According to Gong, it is important to her family that their products are accessible to everyone. They also strive to keep the shop’s prices lower than what is offered at many online sites, Gong said. 

Gong manages and operates Chateau Mae, researching products and ingredients. 

“I just look for something that works — I wouldn’t sell anything I wouldn’t use myself,” Gong said. 

Campus sophomore Andrea Ferreria said she is excited to see Asian beauty products being sold in Berkeley and was impressed by Chateau Mae’s variety of available merchandise when she visited the shop. 

Ferreria added that she feels it is important that beauty products in Berkeley represent the city’s diverse population.

“I thought it (Chateau Mae) was really cute and small, and it had a lot of essential skin care items like face masks and (makeup) brushes,” Ferreria said. “This could be a cute place to go to if I ever needed anything for my skin.”  

According to Gong, her family had been considering opening the store for a few years. For this reason, they traveled to Korea and Hong Kong over the summer to finally make Chateau Mae a reality. Gong visited beauty product wholesalers and Korea’s beauty district in Seoul to research and help curate a diverse collection of products. 

Gong said she tries to educate customers on the products she sells and considers it part of her job to ensure that visitors are informed and enjoy their experience at Chateau Mae.

“I’m just excited to get more products, and to get more people in the store and then just help people with their skin,” Gong said. “Korean skin care has been popular for a few years now; I think it’s a trend with incredible staying powers as it’s very targeted and has proven results and a lot of research to back it up.”

Emily Hom is a student life reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @hom_emily.