Natugee was founded by Rena Rifaee, a former banker and Formula Botanica graduate. The brand carries a range of skin ageing products that promote healthy approach to ageing.
“We focus on smart ageing. With traditional beauty, it’s always emphasised with youthfulness as a beauty standard, so we wanted to change that narrative around ageing,” said Rena.
Since its launch in 2017, the company has been growing steadily. Its largest market today is Singapore, which accounts for 80% of its sales.
“When we started, Malaysians were ready for natural and organic products whereas in Singapore it was already understood, so we had a better reception there,” said Rena.
Three years into the business, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and the company was severely impacted by a supply chain disruption.
As a result of this, the company concentrated on its customer retention strategy to engage with its existing base of consumers. The step back turned out to be a step forward, as it helped the company break its sales record in 2020.
According to Rena, its focus on customer retention and engagement has boosted its return customer rate to an average of 45%.
Revved up and ready to go
After setting the company on “power saving mode” for the last two years, Rena said the company was pressing forward to expand its business.
“We’re going to be more aggressive this year. We have four more new products coming in. By the end of this year or early next year we hope to enter the Middle Eastern market.”
The company sees this as the perfect time to jumpstart the business as it believes Natugee and its products are well-aligned with the beauty trends today.
“Minimalist skin care is going to be the trend now. This is a result of the pandemic lockdown – people have changed and prefer to use less and more minimal products. We have always been a minimalist brand; we’ve always promoted four core steps to our consumers, and we have only focused on our four products,” said Rena.
She added that while the company was expanding its line-up of products, each of the four products were requested by its consumers. “We take the slow skin care approach. We don’t rush to come up with a product, we only do so if we think it’s a necessity.”
At the same time, Natugee is going back on the offensive and refocusing its strategy on customer acquisition. This time, the firm will be targeting consumers in its home market, which Rena believes have become more knowledgeable about skin care and are ready to try natural and organic products.
In addition to the rest of its plans, Rena told us that her goal was to stabilise the business after the rocky two years. She elaborated that it meant stabilising its supply chain and looking for domestic alternatives that can fulfil its demands.