Raphael Jiang, revealed that the company was focused on expanding the one-year-old brand internationally this year.
It is targeting neighbouring countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia, where it is currently in talks with beauty retail chain Sasa.
Chinese consumers drawn to Nyonya allure
However, Jiang sees the biggest potential for PERA in China.
“If you visit Peranakan tourist sites in Melaka and Penang, you will see a lot of Chinese tourists who are very interested in the Peranakan culture. It’s a part of Chinese history, yet so different and exotic to them.”
After conducting more in-depth market research, the company found that Chinese consumers were more receptive to the brand’s concept compared to straits-born consumers.
This is also partly due to the brand’s tropical origins, added Jiang.
“The Chinese have a natural emotional connection to the Melaka Straits. They associate it with beach holidays, coconut trees and the good feelings that come with it.”
Jiang said the company had already found one distributor in China but is in talks with a few more so it can reach more parts of the country.
“It would be an omnichannel distribution with a special target on travel retail as we have seen increasing demand for our products from the tourists,” he said.
‘Revolutionising an old concept’
PERA was inspired by Peranakan culture and traditional ingredients used in homemade Nyonya beauty recipes such as bedak sejuk.
Bedak sejuk a powder made from fermented rice. It is commonly found along the Melaka straits and is believed to brighten skin and rejuvenate it with its cooling effects.
Jiang said the company was careful to follow the traditional 600-year-old recipe to make bedak sejuk by fermenting rice for a month before processing it into powder.
Unlike the traditional ways, however, it does not discard the by-products of the process.
“Traditionally, only the powder is kept and the rice water is thrown away. However, we realised that rice water has a lot of skin-loving ingredients that we can utilise. So using the latest technology, we extract the essential oils from the rice itself.” explained Jiang.
Using these ingredients, PERA developed the Bedak Sejuk Fusion Mask, which consists of two separate products.
“The powder itself can be very drying for those with dry or sensitive skin. To counter the drying effects, we created a peel-off gel mask with the rice water,” said Jiang.
“Together, they are a one mask solution that combines the traditional with modern. It is our way of revolutionising an old concept.”
More products in the pipeline
As the brand expands, Jiang said it was important for the company to continue developing its product range.
“We still don’t have a sun care range. This is something we really want to drive. It is very important for China because they have an impression that people from our region take sun care very seriously.”
The company also plans to capitalise on Asia’s fast-growing male grooming segment by releasing a skin care range for men.
Jiang said: “Even though our products can be used by both men and women, we have a lot of male customers that are looking for products that cater exclusively for them.”
Once the brand has tackled these two categories, Jiang said the plan is to develop a body care range, followed by a hair care range.