The firm collaborated with Singapore's Agency of Science, Technology, and Research (A*STAR) and developed Biyusen, an exclusive complex of actives sourced from the rarest plant-derived moor hot spring in Hokkaido.
Tan told us he was inspired by a trip to Hokkaido, Japan and his personal onsen experience in a particular type of hot spring, Bijin-no-yu, which translates to hot spring of beauty.
“The locals believe that it’s good for the skin and gives them glowing skin. I got permission from the prefecture to get some water for research and working with A*STAR found that there are organic acids in the water,” said Eric Tan, founder of IRÉN Shizen and CEO of Ikeda Spa.
“There are three types of organic acids, all of different small molecular weights. And because of this, it actually can penetrate into three different layers of the skin. We did a clinical trial and found that in 30 European women, wrinkles were reduced by up to 70% and natural moisturising factors increased up to over 80%.”
Following this innovation, the brand is set to expand its range of products beyond its serums.
Fans of the brand can expect around four to five new products soon, including moisturisers and an eye serum.
Expanding closer to home
The firm is targeting Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Russia for expansion after its successful run across Europe over the last few years.
After launching the brand in 2018, the brand focused on expanding in Europe. It started with Paris in 2019 right before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was a rollercoaster during COVID. We had to pivot from physical retail to online. The good news is that the European market opened up much earlier than the rest of the world and we managed to gain traction with physical retailers,” Tan told CosmeticsDesign-Asia.
Since then, the skin care brand now has a presence across 15 markets in Europe, including France and Germany. It works with both offline and online retail partners such as Le Bon Marché and Niche Beauty.
According to Tan, the brand and its line of serums has experienced around 300% growth year-on-year, driven by its brick-and-mortar expansion in Europe.
Moving forward, the company is set to expand into Russia. It is also turning its gaze eastward and is aiming to expand closer to home.
“We are still at the tip of the iceberg. We want to continue investing in our European expansion and we will be entering Russia. There’s a bit of a vacuum in Russia so that its helping us as a niche brand to go to Russia.
“And we’re not forgetting Asia. We are likely to expand with 10 point-of-sales in Singapore. We are in talks with some retailers, and we have just cinched some deals. We are also looking to expand in Malaysia and Thailand,” said Tan.
Tan also highlighted interest in China. However, the company hopes to be sure it can bypass the animal testing regulations in the market before committing to entering the market.
“For our business in Europe, it’s really important that we are a cruelty-free brand.”