Soon after finding work as a beauty consultant, Subrina Liew realised that many women in Singapore still have trouble finding a suitable solution for their skin issues despite a myriad of options available.
“Many of them just could not find the right treatment and did not want to rely on oral medication like antibiotics or Accutane as they believed that it would dry up their skin and affect their fertility. This made me feel the need to develop something that would address this issue,” she says.
So in 2013, she ventured out on her own to launch Caring Skin, which specialises in treating issues like acne, rosacea and eczema by combining plant-based ingredients with aesthetic devices. The entrepreneur tells us why customers trust the brand—it now operates four outlets and has over 900 near-perfect reviews on Google—and how she rode the waves in her entrepreneurial journey.
It’s all in the delivery
Subrina makes sure to keep in mind three factors when developing the skincare solutions for the brand.
“We first take into consideration the tropical environment we live in and now also take into consideration the usage of masks. Then, we factor in genetics, and the fact that most people with sensitive or acne-prone skin are unable to undergo laser skin treatments,” she explains.
But here’s the thing: while many skincare products contain quality ingredients, good skin is also largely dependent on how these ingredients are delivered to the skin.
“Innovation in the delivery system is the key to better skincare. As such, we are always on the lookout for technology that provides the best results for our customers.”
She adds that it helps that her team shares her vision, and that they are not only “the right people with the same values”, but are also “persistent and patient” when solving challenges.
Putting people first
Subrina may have found success in business but it didn’t come without blood, sweat and tears: as someone who “did not come from a well-to-do family”, she started Caring Skin entirely with her hard-earned savings and did not take any loans.
“I will always avoid borrowing money to cover shortfalls in revenue as that will only have me dig a bigger hole for myself. One needs to be prudent and ensure that every cent well-spent,” she says.
“During the initial years, the majority of the earnings were reinvested into the business so we could boost product innovation and procure the right machinery. Expansion only came into play when a firm foundation was established.”
And even though she had found the prospect of entrepreneurship daunting, she took the plunge anyway because, as the saying goes, fortune favours the bold.
“I strongly believe that if I genuinely do good for others, people will be able to feel it and return the gesture. So even though I didn’t know if I’d succeed, I just worked extremely hard.”
As of now, the company doesn’t have further expansion plans, but Subrina lets on that it is working on a “digital future” that may allow customers in as far as Jakarta or Shanghai to enjoy the same skincare solutions without having to leave their homes.
Looking to start your own business? She has some advice: don’t wait, and put your customers first.
“Success is never about the resources you have, but what you do with what you have. The journey of learning is never-ending, so never wait until you are ‘fully equipped’ to commence on executing an idea. Also, every business exists to help customers solve their problems, and if you can take care of them, your business will be taken care of.”