Powder power: Singaporean custom blend firm eyes global expansion via DIY kit

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Individual Collective aiming to expand its business internationally with DIY custom powder kit. ©Individual Collective
Individual Collective aiming to expand its business internationally with DIY custom powder kit. ©Individual Collective
Singapore-based customised beauty brand Individual Collective is aiming to expand its business internationally with the help of its newly developed DIY custom powder kit.

Currently, the Face Custom Beauté Discovery Kit is only available via Kickstarter, where the company is aiming to reach a goal of $20,000.

However, the true intention behind the Kickstarter campaign is to help the company build awareness internationally and among consumers.

“What we want to do is reach out globally first with our strong message of mindful beauty. Additionally, we also want to catch the attention of those who like trends. That’s why we started the Kickstarter,”​ said founder Marilyn Ng, who has over two decades of experience in beauty working with MNCs such as the Estée Lauder Companies, L’Oréal Group and L’Occtiane Group.

Offline to online

Unlike most independent beauty brands, Individual Collective started out with a brick-and-mortar presence in downtown Singapore, where consumers can get their customised loose powder blended on the spot.

“I knew I needed a physical store for people to see this concept for themselves. I also like meeting people who come into the store and listen to their stories and beauty concerns,” ​said Ng.

In addition, the store also doubles up as a boutique which showcases other local brands as well as the company’s own line of fragrances, candles and diffusers.

However, Ng told CosmeticsDesign-Asia​ that the company would be leaving the space in September to move the brand online.

“Funnily enough, the main bulk of our customers come from Japan because we were lucky enough to be featured in a few Japanese travel magazines. Many of them deliberately fly in to get the powder blended. That is a limit to our business, so we decided to reach out to them. Instead of maintaining a physical store, I want to pump my capital into exploring other markets,” ​said Ng.

Ng added that she was looking into markets such as Japan, Korea, Australia and the US.
“These markets are a bit more mature in terms of needs. We also want to expand around South East Asia and China, if we can bypass the animal testing laws.”

Currently, to help its customers overcome the distance barrier, the company stores its clients’ custom formulas so it can blend on demand and deliver it.

“When we talk about customisation I think it’s very important that you have to see your customer through all the way. You have to journey with them,” ​Ng remarked.

Eventually, Ng said she hoped to open another physical store in the future.

“Hopefully, we can have a brick-and-mortar that’s all about custom blends, with different customisation stations for bases, lipsticks and everything else.”

Reaching millennials

Since starting the business in 2018, Ng estimates that about 80% of consumers repurchase her products.

“The customers who repurchase are usually a bit older. They have been around the block and are tired of trying to find a solution to their problems. They embrace more natural make-up, want something more lightweight for the warm tropical weather, nothing too uncomfortable. I would say they are more mindful.”

While Individual Collective’s custom blend powders are a hit with its target consumer, Ng hopes to reach out to the millennial demographic as well, which has proven to be a challenge.

“We need to reach out to the younger consumers, these are the people who need to start taking care of their skin now. However, when we started, we did not reach out to bloggers or celebrities. Instead, we reached out to our customers. We use their testimonies and even use them as models in our campaigns. This is how we stay authentic and original.”

Ng elaborated: “However, by letting things spread organically through word of mouth instead of using bloggers, growth and scalability is a challenge. That’s also why we created the kit to cut through the noise. The DIY kit is an experiential and engaging activity, something they can do for Instagram. I think this passive approach will work will for us.”

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