As Singapore and the rest of the world embrace a more wholesome lifestyle, Stephanie and her business partner are creating skin care products which ‘nurture nature.’
What’s your story?
I’ve always wanted to create a business with impact. I took a stab at becoming my own product and put a hold on University to pursue a singing career in NYC. Upon deciding I needed more stability, I finished school and transitioned into fashion. Being in a creative space fed my soul and served as an outlet for my stubborn, cystic acne. Nonetheless, I craved the freedom to make executive decisions. Since my early teenage years, I have consistently educated myself on the latest products to improve my skincare regimen. This knowledge has enabled me to co-found Luxe Botanics.
What excites you most about your industry?
The ‘organic’ paradigm shift now equally applies to skincare. Women are moving away from quick-fix drugstore treatments, as they focus more on tackling the root cause of skin woes. There is now more attention than ever on a product’s ingredients, its impact on the environment, and how it could negatively affect your health. We’ve noticed that women are now consciously selecting Indie, plant-based beauty brands versus synthetic, mass-produced alternatives. Recent research has made incredible discoveries. For example, various botanic oils have been shown to fight acne, in contrast to previous conventional wisdoms that encouraged oil-free formulas. I am very much looking forward to contributing to the botanic beauty revolution.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I have an unusual bond with Asia. I was born in Singapore, and have lived half my life here and the other half in the US. I am often stumped when asked where I’m from. My father is Chinese, and my mother is Burmese and European. I suppose I’m an Asian / Western hybrid ethnically and mentally. I enjoyed the New York lifestyle very much, but always felt close to my Asian roots. It feels great to be back, to enjoy the truly amazing transitions Singapore has been through. I’ve loved reconnecting with old friends and family and I am taking advantage of the endless travel opportunities within Asia.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore plays a pivotal role in the Asian economy and we can attribute much of that success to speaking English as a first language. When I first moved to the States in 1999, people barely knew which continent Singapore was on. Fast forward a decade, Singapore is now not only widely known, many people I’ve met while abroad have visited or even lived here. I’ve noticed increasing healthy food options, as well as fitness studios – a telling sign that Singapore is embracing a more wholesome lifestyle. As Singapore remains a prime shopping destination, I am excited to bring Luxe Botanics to wellness-conscious retail spaces here.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
I have two:
In the end you only regret the chances that you haven’t taken.
You create your own opportunities – don’t expect them to fall on your lap.
Who inspires you?
My 86 year old grandfather from Burma, who still recites case numbers everyday to keep a healthy mind. He’s someone who has a strong presence when you first meet him, he draws you in with his outspoken conviction. He did more than just his job as a lawyer and also played a significant role in elevating the quality of life for early Burmese immigrants in Singapore. I am inspired by the positive impact he’s made. Beyond my family, I admire unconventional and disruptive entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and Diane Von Furstenberg. They are exceptional leaders who are not afraid to show both their strengths and fragilities.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Singapore is really, really small and it’s an advantage! I have found that there are less than 3 degrees of separation amongst the local and expat communities here, which means opportunities you want to explore and people you want to meet are within reach.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would not have picked at my pimples when I was an impatient 12 year old and got scars! I also wish I had taken more marketing classes at University. That would have come in very handy for the business.
How do you unwind?
Sometimes with a glass of wine and chocolate. Other times with yoga or piloxing, which is a high energy mish-mash of pilates and boxing. I also enjoy going to music shows, reading and look forward to traveling with my husband every month.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
I loved visiting Sri Lanka. Its historical colonial grandeur adds contrast to its ancient kingdoms. The landscape includes mountains, forests, tea gardens and golden beaches. I am in awe of the variety of things you can do within a short 3-day trip. I enjoyed visiting Udawalawe National Park and seeing families of elephants in their natural surroundings, and train travel from Ella to Kandy; the view of the tea slopes was stunning. My last day was spent at Bentota beach, it was serene. Unlike some trips where I am exhausted at the end, I felt rejuvenated upon returning home.
Everyone in business should read this book:
The Fire Starter Sessions – a soulful and practical guide to creating success on your own terms, by Danielle LaPorte.
You will feel the compelling energy of this book from the first page. Forget coffee, this will wake up your mind, body and soul.
Shameless plug for your business:
Luxe Botanics is a scientifically-formulated, plant-based skincare range for the wellness conscious woman. Our ingredients are sustainably sourced from Kenya, Malawi, and Brazil; and comprise of Marula Oil to hydrate, Kigelia Africana to clarify, and Camu Camu berry to brighten the complexion. We believe in allowing nature to nurture so you can attain unharmful beauty throughout your lives.
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
Take the ‘Key Person of Influence’ scorecard <http://www.keypersonofinfluence.com/scorecard/>