Entrepreneur

Hit By Eczema, She Turned Lemons Into Lemonade By Building A Skincare Brand In M'sia

Inspired by a 1960’s comic strip featuring random letters of love notes between the artist and her husband, Primila referenced it as the brand’s name as a mission to all—doing simple gestures that made people happy.

“I believe that is what the brand is about, simple heartfelt things of making others feel loved,” said Primila, founder of Love Is.

Love Is began in 2014 as a home-based hobby of making soaps and salves for the two founders, Primila and Pam. 

That interest to make things actually stemmed from a list of skin problems.

“I had a recurring issues of eczema and psoriasis due to factors such as change of climate, stress and lifestyle. Pam’s mother had dry skin from ageing and was finding it difficult to get a product to suit her maturing skin.”

This is what spurred Primila to try her hand at creating her own skincare products, using natural ingredients and focusing on materials that would be suitable for all skin types.

To ensure product quality would not be compromised, she even travelled to Australia and Canada to visit the suppliers directly to know for sure the materials they used were akin to her choices.

“Since we started making these products, many had come to sought us out online as well as in fairs, markets or bazaars. Slowly the business overtook our daily careers and both me and Pam decided to fully concentrate on Love Is in 2016.”

Image Credit: Love Is

They opened their first store located in Publika, Solaris Dutamas at the end of 2016 and are looking to open more in other states.

The capital for the business was gained from their savings and bonuses from their corporate jobs from over 10 years.

A college graduate from Penang in Professional Secretaryship, Primila makes all the products herself by hand. Pam helps her with the marketing, advertising, designing and manages the social media page.

“We face many challenges at Love Is often, including difficulty in getting skin-safe materials and ingredients locally and producing products in large quantities in a very short time.”

“This is especially challenging because I only have 1 pair of hands. However, large quantities can be produced with a lead time given ahead.”

Managing customers’ expectations by being clear about how much time is needed to make the products is also key to keeping them happy.

They use natural ingredients as the basic fundamental to create all of their products.

It’s also necessary to study the property of each flower and herb extensively to bring products that work naturally with human skin.

Primila added that many of their designs are seasonal according to festivities. Their upcoming range will be themed accordingly for Halloween.

Image Credit: Love Is

According to a interview covered by The Star2, Primila stated that all Love Is products are only tested on humans—friends, family, staff.

“It’s through them that the business has grown—I owe them so much. We have always found our way through with the help of our friends and family who have always stood by us.”

Their star product is bath bombs, but they have already expanded to an catalogue of Bubble Bars, Bath Salts, Body Scrubs, Lip Balms, Hair Masks, Face Masks & Soap, Pumice Soap, and Healing Balms.

Love Is isn’t just committed to providing the best bath experience for humans—they have a extensive assortment of pet products as well.

“Our own rescued pets suffer from occasional bouts of skin problems. The usual medication consists of ingredients such as steroids, which we want to avoid.”

Love Is’ pet products also contribute to the spaying and neutering funds of rescued animals at the Independent Pet Rescue And Adoption Network (IPAN).

Elbow and Nose Balm, Hotspot Cream, Paws and Toes Balm / Image Credit: Love Is

Primila believes that people are more aware of the products they use now, as they prefer to choose natural alternatives for skincare as they tend to bear faster and better results.

They’re also not afraid of competition or having their name drowned out by all the other brands popping up, and said, “There are many brands similar to Love Is and there will be new ones coming up as well.”

“I think what sets us apart is the way we make the products look and feel more appealing and less clinical. They produce great benefits and have a more approachable look,” said Primila.

“Competition is so old school; the new word to describe this is collaboration. Love Is is lucky to have made so many friends in the same industry and we had a chance to collaborate with many awesome brands in our store at Publika.”

Love Is maintains a healthy growth—they broke even in 2015 before the team even worked on it full-time. Primila described the business as “now self-sustaining and also sustaining our lifestyle”.

“Love Is is motivated and driven by our customers. We make each product by hand; depending highly on our customers feedback, requests and needs as Love Is practices a safe space where feedback is always welcomed and advice is always considered.”

Feature Image Credit: Love Is

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