Taking back control: Singapore’s Kew Organics to establish cosmetics lab as it eyes overseas expansion
Kew Organics started in 2014 as a beauty salon and branched out to create its own organic skin care line in 2016 that would be more suitable for the hot and humid South East Asian climate.
Aside from the two salons in Singapore, the direct-to-consumer (DTC) brand is primarily available online. Today it boasts a global consumer base spanning markets such as Hong Kong, London, and Canada.
The company recently celebrated its eighth anniversary. Speaking to CosmeticsDesign-Asia, founder Lily Kew outlined the next stage of growth for the company, beginning with establishing its first laboratory.
This impetus to bring the formulation development in-house was to give the firm more control over its costs, which Kew said has been constantly rising in the past two years.
“Now with COVID, shipping costs, supply costs – everything has increased – but we didn’t increase the price of our products. That got me thinking that it was better to have our own lab, our own formulators. And making it local, we can cut off a lot of unnecessary costing.”
At the same time, having a laboratory would allow the company to expand its business and offer cosmetic formulation services to other brands.
Bringing costs down is an imperative for the company, which is also eyeing a global expansion in the next few years.
It has explored multiple markets, including nearby countries like Vietnam, the Philippines and Hong Kong. It has also looked into markets such as the United Arab Emirates and West Africa.
Kew told us that she has been approached by a number of potential distributors and partners. However, the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic have made progress sluggish.
“There are many opportunities I must say. But to be very honest, this period has not made it easy,” said Kew.
No needles required
Furthermore, the new laboratory would empower the brand and give it more freedom to explore new ingredients and formulations.
With the rise of the clean beauty movement and many more beauty brands on the market, Kew recognises that innovation will be key for a small, independent brand like hers to thrive. “We want to continue to innovate with new products and not just put out another organic product after organic product.”
In line with this, Kew developed Needle-less Rejuvenation, a new line of products developed in response to the growing interest in aesthetic treatments such as thread lifts and Botox injections.
“I see that people who opt for these treatments are getting younger because there’s this belief that to preserve your youth, you need to start all these treatments young. However, I’ve also seen many clients with weak skin because they have overdone it with all these treatments,” said Kew.
The four-piece set was developed for people who encounter such side effects, as well as those who may not want to have such invasive treatments, said Kew.
“The idea was to bottle up ingredients like peptides and amino acids so people can use it every day without the needles and without the side effects. The products are a mixture of botanicals, organic certified ingredients as well as ingredients you would find in things like fillers.”