"I've been told to give up many times, that I'm fighting against the big guys, that I'll never win."

Priscilla Tan  |  Singapore
Published 2016-09-02 11:58:31

Sarah-Eden Chan is a big dreamer and go-getter.

After learning what the founders of the companies she worked at had gone through to start a business, she discovered that she, too, had an appetite to scratch the entrepreneurial itch.

“I had been wanting to start an E-commerce business for a couple of years, but [I] had no idea what I wanted to sell and I didn’t even shop online,” Sarah divulged.

Despite the lack of grounding in the industry, deep down, Sarah knew she was meant to hit the road less travelled. “I knew that E-commerce was the future.”

So when Sarah’s mother, an accomplished entrepreneur with a decade of experience under her belt, approached her about a new product marketing gig, she said yes without missing a beat.

24 SATURN products
Image credit: 24 SATURN

The Birth Of 24 SATURN

The inquisitive greenhorn shared, “I figured this was the opportunity I’d been waiting for. [I] told myself I’m going to take on this crazy challenge and set up an E-commerce business from scratch. It was a steep learning curve; I worked on it 7 days a week. I was obsessed.”

For Sarah, starting from the bottom did not deter her; in fact, it pushed her to do more. “I spoke to as many people as I could about marketing, branding, and E-commerce. I also read a lot. I still do all this today. I was completely clueless, and yet, I wanted to do this. I had never been so excited.”

24 SATURN products
Image credit: 24 SATURN

Her ruling passion turned out to be a fruitful move — it sparked off 24 SATURN, a local fempowerment (female + empowerment) beauty brand that offers novelty skincare products made with skin-friendly ingredients such as plant oils, gentle acids, and vitamins.

Currently, they carry serums, body scrubs, and shower products.

The startup also just released a new liquid moisturiser serum made with pure sodium hyaluronate, an ingredient known to penetrate the skin effortlessly and attract up to 1,000 times its own weight in water — a feature that works more effective than traditional moisturisers by a mile.

24 SATURN products
Image credit: 24 SATURN

Behind Every Mistake There’s Always A Lesson

During the interview, Sarah admitted it was “awfully painful” to work their way up.

“Everything we did laid the foundation we are standing on today. We’re so nimble and quick to learn from our mistakes. I love my team. Every mistake made was a step forward to doing something better than the last,” she quipped.

“I’ve always been the type of person who’s ‘Go big or go home’, ‘Give 100% or don’t even try at all’. No regrets.”

24 SATURN products
Image credit: 24 SATURN

Haters Gonna Hate

Like many entrepreneurs, Sarah’s entrepreneurial journey wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows – a few naysayers even tried to cast a shadow over her innovative venture.

The self-deprecating entrepreneur revealed, “People can’t understand why I’m building a skincare company. I’ve been told to give up many times, that I’m fighting against the big guys, [that] I’ll never win, [that] I don’t even have a background in skincare, that I should leave it to the experts. Well, I’m doing it anyway. I guess I must be crazy!”

She continued on a more serious note, “I always have to remind myself that Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

24 SATURN products
Image credit: 24 SATURN

What Makes A Great Company

24 SATURN prides themselves on their company’s mission.

“As a startup, we can’t set out to compete with the established brands. Instead, we set out to solve problems established brands are not strong in. We focus on offering good solutions. It’s a mix of creating great products and only making products that are relevant to our customer segment.”

With a wealth of experience in the legal department of multinational corporations like Seadrill and Global Law Alliance, it’s no wonder that Sarah employs her acquired skill sets and work ethics to manage 24 SATURN.

“I love the blank slate I’m working on, it’s a challenge I’ve never had before and [it] keeps me very occupied with endless possibilities that we can pursue.”

24 SATURN products
Image credit: 24 SATURN

Mother-Daughter Team

In addition to her impeccable career, Sarah also credits her mother as her source of help, citing her as a “valuable mentor”.

The 24 SATURN founder spoke highly of her mother, “She’s incredibly resilient, you can’t bring this woman down. She does not spoon feed me, she wants me to find my way, to struggle. Our partnership at 24 Saturn is very much a business relationship. Always keep an eye on cash-flow. With her experience, she can spot things quickly. She always reminds me that business is a marathon. Slow and easy, pace yourself.”

24 SATURN website
Image credit: 24 SATURN

The Future Of 24 SATURN

24 SATURN initially set out to sell other companies’ beauty products. However, after taking a long look at other Singaporean home-grown natural brands, the one-year-old beauty company decided to march to a different beat.

“We decided to take a different route and to work with chemists to create mass consumer products instead and to build a brand for the mass market that has the potential to be scalable to become a worldwide brand.”

Sarah is a realistic optimist.

As the interview drew to a close, she went on with conviction, “Big brands will one day become old and tired, then it’ll be our turn to shine. If we don’t start now, we won’t be ready when the opportunity presents itself. It’s all years of work in the making, never an overnight success.”

Feature Image Credit: Sarah-Eden Chan, Founder of 24 SATURN

Also read: 3 Instagram Influencers Reveal How They Come Up With Sponsored Post Rates – And It’s Complicated

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