The beauty industry is often fixated on new things like the latest ingredients. But when Chia Su-Mae started BSkin in 2015, she based it on something with a long and storied history.
“Bee ingredients are not faddish or novel. They have been used for centuries as medicine and in beauty treatments. Having these tried and tested ingredients as my brand’s foundation gave me the confidence to go through with it,” she says.
She hit on the idea when customers of her family’s bee wellness business began asking for skincare formulated with honey, royal jelly, propolis and pollen. They were convinced they’d get similarly great results applying them on skin as they did consuming them. The desire to help others boost their self- confidence further fuelled her resolve.
“I feel a sense of pride each time a product wins an award, but my greatest reward is when customers send me before-and-after photos or testimonials of how our products have dramatically improved their skin,” she says.
A former corporate lawyer, she had to forego the stability and structure of simply being an employee. “Knowing that other people’s salaries and careers depend on me is a huge responsibility that sometimes keeps me up at night,” she confesses. “Also, in a corporate job, there’s a clear measure of success. Did you get a promotion? A pay raise? In business, there’s no formal career path, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself with more successful business owners. That can be very paralysing.”
The travel lockdown caused by Covid-19 forced her to rethink how she runs her business. “When I first started working from home… there was little to no separation between home life and work life. But I am a lot more efficient now, and disciplined about shutting off after work to recharge,” she says.
“And now that I have a new baby in tow, I’m the queen of multitasking. Many of my virtual meetings are conducted while I’m nursing my son or wrestling with a dirty diaper.”