Fawn & Co was founded in July 2019 by Hann Chia, a former investment banker and a Formula Botanica graduate.
The company was initially developed to focus on cosmetic research and development but has since spawned two subsidiaries. The first is Fawn Labs, the firm’s education arm which conducts the Clean Beauty with Fawn Labs workshop.
“At first, we conducted workshops with small groups of people and some companies. That ended up taking a life of its own and it’s developed into a fully-fledged workshop business,” said Chia.
The two-hour workshop takes on topics such as ingredient and formulation safety as well as teaches consumers about their skin and what is most suitable for their skin type. Additionally, they will be given a chance to create their very own bespoke face wash and serum.
“Once you go through the workshop, you officially become what we call Fawnlings. As a Fawnling, you will have access to our open labs several times a week where you can come in and formulate your own products under our supervision. You will just need to book and pay for the product you want to make,” Chia explained.
The company records each Fawnling’s formulations so they can return to the lab to reformulate their products again and again.
“When you’re done with your products, you just need to bring back the packaging, which we will sanitise and sterilise before you fill it up with your own creation to bring home. It’s a wonderful circular model that we are very proud of. This is why we call ourselves the first circular luxury skin care lab,” said Chia.
The 18-month old company now has hundreds of Fawnlings and Chia expects its community to continue growing.
“Once people go through this journey with us, they are hyper-empowered. They see every single ingredient that goes into their skin care and from a sustainability angle they have control over the packaging. Also, we’ve realised that people want bespoke skin care – something that is made just for them,” said Chia.
She added that the programme was also popular with people that suffered from severe skin issues such as eczema or adult acne and were unable to use products that were available on the market.
Birth of retail arm
The success of Fawn Labs was hampered in 2020 because of the COVID-19 outbreak and the restrictions imposed on its workshops and labs.
However, the demand for its products continued to grow as people were developing skin issues like maskne and were unable to go for their usual facial treatments.
At the same time, the on-going pandemic also put the firm’s plans to develop and launch a new clean beauty brand in the US on hold.
Considering the circumstances, the firm created F A W N + mask, its first retail brand of finished products, with the Christmas launch of its clay mask.
The product contains both wet and dry ingredients that users can mix together. It is packaged in a bauble that can be used as a mixing bowl and a mould for bath bombs.
The firm encourages its customers to drop off the used packaging components at its lab in downtown Singapore so it may sterilise and reuse the packaging.
“We aimed to develop a product that was more than a mask. We wanted the product to give our consumers a spa experience, address the maskne issue, all while encapsulated the values of Fawn & Co, such as our sustainability.”
The overwhelming response to the mask has prompted Chia to further explore opportunities.
“Again, this was something that took on a life of its own. We are already working on another product for the range because of demand. We have also soft-launched a subscription model for our clay masks. With this programme, consumers will receive four masks a month while we collect the old packaging to reuse.
Collaborations and stateside ambitions
In addition to the new brand, the company also collaborated with other companies to develop products in 2020.
For instance, it launched a range of facial oils in collaboration with local essential oil brand, FLO.
“Because of COVID-19, I started working with a lot more like-minded local business and I’ve enjoyed it tremendously. It’s very exciting for us to come together creatively and also allows us to reach more people,” Chia said.
Moving forward, the firm intends to continue seeking out collaborative opportunities with other companies and expects to announce more collaborations in 2021.
Additionally, it is also working on its ambition of launching a clean beauty brand in the US.
“I believe that if you want to launch an indie brand successfully, the US is the best market for it. We are planning to launch a clean beauty brand targeted at consumers aged 35 to 45,” said Chia.
However, she added that this venture has taken more of a backseat among the company’s many projects. “We are slowly building towards the US business but to be honest I am in no rush.”