Women Who Launch: Kew Organics

Lily Kew, 44
Founder, Kew Organics

Spurred by the disseverment of her eight-year long spa business with her sister in 2012, Lily took a two-year hiatus to unwind, regroup and map out her next move. In 2014, she took the plunge and started her very own organic facial bar. Up until now, organic facial services in Singapore is as rare as hen’s teeth. As she approaches her 1st year anniversary of her business, Lily shares with us how she started, her biggest business challenge and reveals her greatest desire is really to live a simple farm life.

What made you start an organic facial business?
When I was a teenager, I was plagued with acne for many years. My skin changed dramatically for the better after I switched to using organic skincare. Also, my first beauty job was with Dr. Haushka, a renown organic skincare brand. Coming back to the question, starting an organic beauty bar was a decision that came naturally to me.

Have you always been interested in natural skin & beauty care?
Yes, always! Since young, I never liked the idea of putting on makeup. In order not to wear makeup, I knew I need to have good skin. Good skin comes from good skincare regime using products with less or no chemicals.

Who comes to your spa for organic facials?
Women mostly between late 20s to mid 40s. They are independent, career women who are well-educated and well-traveled. We have a good mix of locals and expatiates.

What would you say is the biggest skin-related concern amongst your customers?
Sagging skin.

Your advice to them?
Start radio frequency and fractional skin resurfacing (FSR) treatment as soon as you hit 28 years of age. When at home, try not to sleep sideways as that will pull and tug at your skin causing premature sagging through the loosening of skin elasticity.

What challenges do you face in your business?
Not too long ago, quite a number of spas in Singapore closed down overnight without notifying or refunding their customers the balance of their unused prepaid packages. These sort of cases have caused the public to become more skeptical towards startups like mine. My biggest challenge is getting customers to overcome this stigma. I know it will take time to gain the trust and loyalty of our beauty patrons.

What was your initial startup capital?

Beaute by Kew

What advice would you give young women entrepreneurs thinking of starting their own business?
Don’t depend on anybody. Do something you know so you will not be at the mercy of anyone. Lastly, always tell yourself: Failure is not an option.

Who inspires you?
My husband. When he sets his mind to do something, he gives his best and makes whatever sacrifices he needs to accomplish the mission. He is a determined guy with tons of perseverance and consistency. I admire that.

What is it about being in the organic beauty business that gives you the most fulfillment?
I treat my customers like my friends or even sisters. When they see positive changes to their skin after converting to organic skincare, I feel very fulfilled knowing I had a part to play in their transformation.

What is the day in the life of a beauty spa owner like?
My day starts anytime from 7am to 9am. This depends on the time I slept the night before. Once I wake up, I spend some time in bed thinking through my to-do list. Then, I will get up and exercise – it may be jogging, stretching or workouts with Jillian Michael’s youtube videos. After exercising, I’ll have a quiet moment with a cup of coffee and read the papers. This is my favorite part of the day.

I typically start work from 10am to 6pm. Work includes meeting with potential business partners and various government bodies to discuss business expansion plans, following up and building relationship with customers, hanging around my shop to see if there are any areas of improvement to be made, catching up on paperwork, researching, motivating and communicating with my staff. On days when our appointments are full, I will step in as a therapist too. This is something I have always loved to do.

Evenings are either spent with my own family or dinner with my parents. I retire to bed around 10:30am, unless it’s a movie night. Oh I love watching movies!

What is one thing about you that most people don’t know?
That I actually, really just want to live in a countryside and be a farmer. I love to plant my own vegetables, herbs, fruits as well as rear my own chickens and goats.

How do you practice eco-conscious living?
We don’t have any hard copies of our treatment brochures in the facial bar. Whenever customers or walk-ins ask what kind of treatments we have, we direct them to our website and Facebook page. Surprisingly, they agree with our philosophy. Some have even sheepishly admitted they would probably have thrown the brochures away eventually anyways.

If you could play a part in saving the Planet in your everyday life, what would it be?
I do not, and will not, use synthetic or chemical-laden skincare or household products.

Thanks Lily ♥

For more information on Kew Organics (formerly known as Beauté by Kew), click here to go to their website.

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