Tired of only being able to use bath bombs when staying in hotels overseas, 20-year-old Nastasia Cheng decided to create bath products that everyone could enjoy, even without having a bathtub.
After years of toying with different recipes for bath products, she recently launched her first batch of dessert-scented whipped soap on May 12, selling out in merely 20 minutes.
Nastasia's Farly and Voe is one of the many online businesses selling homemade beauty products that have popped up on Instagram recently.
Another home business, Peach Glam Beauty, started off in July 2019 selling lip glosses. Its catalogue has expanded to fake lashes, body shimmer oil and hair oil.
Youth.SG spoke to these two young entrepreneurs to find out how and why they started their businesses.
Creating handcrafted products for the local market
Nastasia, a third-year student at Republic Polytechnic, started selling her own bath products so that people can indulge in luxurious bath products.
"In Singapore, we don't usually have bathtubs, so we have to miss out on scented bath bombs. I started my business so that people can enjoy scented soaps even in standing showers."
Nastasia's handcrafted vegan products, which are paraben and cruelty-free, have unique dessert scents like bubblegum ice-cream and chocolate orange cupcake.
Whipped soap is semi-solid and contains body oils that moisturise your skin, similar to a foaming body butter.
PHOTO CREDIT: FARLY AND VOE'S INSTAGRAM
Her business idea also stemmed from the lack of variety for soaps available in Singapore.
"I noticed people mostly made solid soap in the local scene, so I decided to bring in something new," added Nastasia.
Peach Glam Beauty also offers cruelty-free beauty products. The brand's star attraction, lip glosses, is reminiscent of the early 2000s makeup fad.
Owner Jade Oo started the business when she couldn't find affordable cruelty-free vegan beauty products in Singapore.
"Around 2016, I became extremely interested in veganism and cruelty-free beauty," recounted the 19-year-old.
"I didn't know of any brands in Singapore that were selling vegan makeup at a student-friendly price point, so I decided to make them myself."
Jade started making her lip glosses as she believes lip products are an effortless way to elevate one's look.
PHOTO CREDIT: PEACH GLAM BEAUTY'S INSTAGRAM
Keeping products accessible for youth customers
In recent years, wellness brands have been promoting expensive skincare products under the #selfcare trend, which has amassed more than 28 million posts on Instagram.
The youth shop owners we spoke to have made it their mission to keep their products as reasonably-priced as possible, for the benefit of their customers.
Farly and Voe's bath products come packed with beneficial ingredients for the skin, such as mango seed butter and apricot kernel oil.
PHOTO CREDIT: FARLYANDVOE'S INSTAGRAM
Farly and Voe's whipped soap costs $15 with free local delivery, while Peach Glam Beauty's products start from $13.
Nastasia shared how she prices her items: "I don't believe in charging people more than necessary. After thoroughly calculating the cost price of one product, I usually come up with a selling price and ask my family members about it."
Nastasia (pictured) finds it therapeutic to make her soaps, which is why she doesn't mind selling them at a lower price point.
PHOTO CREDIT: NASTASIA CHENG
Although Farly and Voe is active on Instagram, their selling platform is Shopee, which has a fuss-free checkout process.
Jade, on the other hand, has her own website for Peach Glam Beauty.
She also decides her prices through a similar process: "Having affordable yet good quality products is my main concern. I take into consideration the prices of all the materials that went into the product and packaging, and add in about a small percentage for workmanship."
Staying motivated despite facing challenges
Although Jade and Nastasia only started selling their products recently, they have cultivated a decent following. Peach Glam Beauty has more than 2,500 followers, while Farly and Voe has about 300 followers and counting.
Running a business is not without its challenges, though.
For Nastasia, running her business alone meant that she is responsible for every aspect of her business, all while balancing her final year in polytechnic.
"Frankly, it's pretty tough. It's a one-woman show. I still have mandatory online classes to attend and lots of projects to fulfil on top of running Farly and Voe," said Nastasia.
Jade also feels the pressure of managing Peach Glam Beauty on her own: "The biggest challenge I face would be the advertising. As my small business is still growing, I have a very limited budget when it comes to product photoshoots and content creation for better advertising.
"I currently handle everything myself or engage my friends' help."
Jade conducted the photoshoot for this promotional shot for Peach Glam Beauty's lip gloss.
PHOTO CREDIT: PEACH GLAM BEAUTY'S INSTAGRAM
Both owners also put in intensive research and time to formulate products that are safe for sensitive skin.
"As someone who struggles with sensitive skin, this was my first priority when creating my products. All our products are made with natural ingredients and full material lists are available on my website.
"I always test the products on myself or other volunteers before launching the product," said Jade.
While Nastasia ensures her products do not irritate the skin, she continues to advise users with sensitive skin.
"Before using an ingredient, I search extensively for its benefits and what it does for the skin. As I come from a health-related course, I am trained to find reputable sources from journals and steer clear from unreliable sites. This way, I could ensure that my products do not irritate the skin.
"However, I still do not recommend people with really sensitive skin to use my products because they contain fragrance."
Despite these limitations, both owners agree that it is their customers' support that keeps them going.
"My favourite part about running my own business would be interacting with my customers. I love talking to them through Instagram. They're a big part of my life and this business," said Jade.
Goals for the future
Although the circuit breaker has affected certain aspects of their business, such delays in delivery, both businesses show no signs of slowing down.
"My dream would be to open a small factory where I can produce my products in a larger space! In five years, I truly hope my products make people happy without causing too much harm to the environment," shared Nastasia.
Jade also has dreams breaking into the local mainstream market and getting her products onto the shelves of local beauty stores.
While Jade remained tight-lipped about her upcoming product, Nastasia is working on releasing scented shower gels and body scrubs meant for people with sensitive skin.
"Psst, I'm making a Dalgona Coffee whipped soap for my next batch!" she shared.
WRITTEN BY: WINNY WINT HTAE AND ANIS NABILAH
BANNER AND TEASER PHOTO CREDIT: JADE OO, NASTASIA CHENG, FARLY AND VOE'S INSTAGRAM AND PEACH GLAM BEAUTY'S INSTAGRAM
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