You may have seen advertisements on social media promoting the Ellure Tomato Resonance Graphene Bubble Mask, a sheet mask that promises to unclog pores, while exfoliating and cleansing skin. What you might not realise is that this bubble mask business is Singapore-owned.
Meet Evelynne Li (@evelynne_EL), the woman behind the ingenious mask. The mother of four is the owner of the Ellure Group, a micro-business she started in 2017.
Growing up was hard, she shares. In her early jobs, she’d wait by the ATM for the stroke of midnight on pay day to withdraw her salary.
When she eventually started Ellure Group, she told herself that no one in the Ellure community – her distributors – would have to go through what she did.
Her business model is straightforward: Distributors purchase products at a distributor price and sell them at a fixed retail price – no undercutting in the Ellure community is allowed. And as sales is not based on commission, they take home the full profit margin.
How Ellure started
Three years ago, Li noticed that many people were starting online businesses, and wanted to do the same. “I decided to create a business structure where one’s income would be determined by one’s own efforts.”
With her interest in beauty, she settled on bringing Chinese brand Wouwou to Singapore. Its products had been well-received in other markets, and Li was hopeful that it would be successful here too.
“When I was younger, I used to mix everything I could find in the bathroom because I wanted to achieve the silky hair in TV ads,” says the 33-year-old. “So when I got the distributorship for Wouwou haircare, I felt like it was a sign; it was meant to be.”
And perhaps it was. Within a few months of starting her micro-business, Li won Wouwou’s Most Outstanding Distributor Award and Best Leadership Award 2017.
Her business now has more than 2,000 people in the community, and Evelynne is the first person in Wouwou’s history to hold the sole distributorship for the brand’s haircare, body care, skincare and beauty supplements.
Li is now dreaming even bigger. In addition to her Wouwou distributorship, she has launched her own Ellure beauty line. The first product, the Tomato Bubble Mask, was launched in February 2020.
How the Ellure Tomato Bubble Mask came about
The inspiration came from her many visits to beauty salons for facial treatments. “Many facials now include an oxygenation process to help clear and energise skin, and help the active skincare ingredients penetrate better.”
So, she thought, why not incorporate that technology into a sheet mask that would help clear the gunk from the face gently? “Exfoliating products can be harsh on skin. I wanted something that would be effective yet not harm even the most sensitive skin.”
She conceptualised the bubble mask with her R&D team, using premium, results-driven ingredients that were suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin. To ensure its safety and quality, she had the masks tested at SGS Singapore, an inspection, verification, testing and certification company.
Its success totally exceeded expectations, says Li – more than 21,000 boxes were sold in the first five hours, and there was even a wait list. Nine months on, the Tomato Bubble Masks are still in hot demand, with requests from Brunei, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland and the US.
Dealing with naysayers and the pandemic
Like any business, Li has had to deal with her share of rejection, haters and naysayers. Earlier this year, shortly after the Tomato Bubble Mask was launched, the world got hit by the pandemic. Her stocks were affected by a shortage of raw materials, shipping problems and flight disruptions.
But she took it all in her stride. “I’m quite strong-willed and determined, and when I set my mind on something, I will do my best to achieve it.”
Besides the support of her husband and kids (in addition to a newborn, she has two daughters aged 12 and nine years, and an 11-year-old son), knowing that she’s helping to keep the Ellure community and their families going helps her stay strong in tough times.
“There are many people counting on me and I don’t want to let them down. If I were to give up just because of a minor setback, what would happen to my community and their families? And it’s even more crucial to keep going during this pandemic, when many people have lost their jobs.”
Ellure members have told her that thanks to their micro-businesses, they have been able to get through these trying times. “With an online business, it doesn’t matter if the physical stores are shut because you can still shop online, which is why the Ellure community is doing alright.”
Li conducts training online to ensure that members have the skills to succeed without stepping out of their home. It’s been especially helpful for stay-at-home mums who need to be home to take care of their kids. “I’m online 24/7 should my community members need any help at all.”
Empowering women to run their own business
It’s no surprise then, that 80 per cent of the Ellure community are women helping their families.
“Money issues can lead to quarrels and unhappiness between couples and families. I, too, experienced that helplessness when I was younger and could not help my family financially when they needed it.
“That is why I wanted to find a way to help empower more women, especially stay-at-home mums, to run their own micro-business. It’s something that you can do even if you have to take care of your kids and family.”
The Ellure Group’s motto is: “Bringing you from where you are, to where you want to be”, and this is Li’s promise both to herself and the Ellure community.
She wants to tell women who might think that they’ve given up everything to be a wife and mother, that they are not alone. And that she’s here to help them. “I am the example that it is possible. As long as you want it, you can do it.”
What’s next for Ellure
Li says the next product launch is something she holds close to her heart. In November 2020, Ellure will roll out a range of haircare and body care products. And while everything is still hush-hush, Li says the inspiration came from her own hair concerns.
While post-partum hair loss is common, she was still losing hair five years after her daughter was born. “There were so many options available in the market, but nothing worked,” she says. Stay tuned to find out what this new product is about and how it can help with your hair woes.
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