Natural healthcare organic products have always been Lynsey’s preference, especially in skincare.
Desiring an organic alternative, she sourced for all-natural brands but found none up to par. Either they were not fully loyal to their organic values, or the substitutes were too expensive and not within easy order.
This led her to create her own concoctions of natural skincare products for her own use.
It was both something she enjoyed and found an interest in, so it didn’t take long for it to evolve into a full-fledged passion which she chose to carry the name of her brand, Handmade Heroes. She started running it out of her own home in 2014.
Coordinated with her husband Adi Ong, the Singaporean-Malaysian duo manage the business with one in charge of each end. The formulating and blending of the products falls to Lynsey’s experienced hands.
In November 2016, she officially launched Handmade Heroes in Malaysia with partners Isabella Wong and Caijin Lim on board to handle the distribution and marketing of products in Malaysia.
Adi, having already had hands-on experience in starting a business, decided to provide her some assistance with his technical expertise and in operations.
Despite its Singaporean roots, the duo has recognised the importance of maintaining a healthy relationship with its neighbouring countries.
“Currently we retail in Singapore, Malaysia and the United States. As of our latest figures, we sell 130 units a day which adds up to 1 product every 10 minutes.”
Now in three countries, maintaining and upping product quality is key. Lynsey remains determined to deliver the best from the results of her personal arsenal of recipes.
“With our products being all-natural, made without synthetic chemicals and preservatives, this has limited the pool of ingredients we can use. To overcome this, we had to make our products self-preserving and utilised other non-conventional ingredients and processes in our production.”
To ensure quality, they import a large amount of their ingredients and BPA-free packaging from the United States and Australia.
Their product range consists of a small line of skincare essentials; they believe simplicity is the foremost and important key to upholding a positive image of the brand.
“With Handmade Heroes, we only sell a small streamline range—you definitely won’t see a 12-step skin care routine from us. Even our products are made with 10 or less ingredients each with no filler ingredients—only the best natural ingredients.”
A total of 12 products make up their entire skincare range; lip balm, lip, body and face scrub, even dry hair shampoo which comes in two sizes for your convenience.
A quirky little fact about them is how they choose to incorporate their Southeast Asian roots into their products in terms of packaging and production. They use traditional beauty methods that have been passed down through generations as a tribute to the heritage they were brought up with.
“For example, our rice scrubs were inspired by the use of rice to tone the skin as in Bedak Sejuk.“
“We also use charcoal to deodorise in our dry shampoo as with the Chinese method of purging impurities, turmeric in our face mask to balance and brighten the skin as the Ayurvedic practices, and coconut in our lip scrubs to soften the skin (which is a bonus that our lip scrubs taste like kuehs!)”
Their pride is clear to see with how earnestly they market themselves even to foreign customers. Their latest packaging revamp included a Peranakan-themed design which clearly drives their point home.
Their latest accomplishment was when their Lip Scrub was listed as a top best-selling product on Amazon in the US.
Thrilled and excited, this break marked an important milestone in their list of achievements to carve out an international name for themselves.
“Our revenue has seen a growth of 250% in the past 12 months. This is a very important validation for our products, and we intend to continue working to towards reaching more customer and with a target growth of 20% month-on- month.”
Organic brands are a dime a dozen, so we did wonder a bit why Handmade Heroes is seeing the growth it did.
Aside from the shifting trend of users looking for and embracing organic and natural products, customer service is also key.
They know to listen to customer feedback from time to time, as a way to improve each product and ingredient.
According to an interview by South China Morning Post, Handmade Heroes did not realise that the coconut oil, a prime ingredient used in their Lip Scrub, would harden over time in the US. This made it hard to use and customers took to the page to give their honest feedback—it was not usable.
Whether it is was the difference in climate, or transportation woes, we will never know. But Lynsey was able to provide a direct solution to the problem by substituting sweet almond oil in the formula.
They’ve gotten pretty efficient in product-making in the last 3 years by hand, admittedly requiring a lot of labour and time to keep process going. But a bigger team opens bigger possibilities; which is why they are looking to expanding their skincare and makeup range as well.
As such, they are launching a new Matcha Latte Lip Scrub next month.
“Aside from that, our main goal with starting Handmade Heroes has always been to make natural products more accessible and reachable to everyone, young women or men alike.”
The team agrees that natural products shouldn’t have to cost a fortune. They hope to expand their reach and provide an option for anyone who’s looking to adopt a healthier and natural lifestyle.
“We are consistently researching and innovating, looking to experiment with lesser known natural compounds and methods to expand our product line to include a full skin care range, and products that otherwise typically require preservatives and synthetics.”
Feature Image Credit: Handmade Heroes