Women know what they want; so that’s why we won’t settle for anything less than what we expect.
From food to clothes to makeup, the same thing goes for skincare – we want to feed our skin the best nutrients so we’ll look good and feel good.
And you can bet women will give you unfiltered, honest-to-goodness reviews on things we care about.
When South Korean expatriate, Angie Kang (46), went back to Seoul in winter, she brought back skincare to recommend it to her friends in Singapore.
One of her friends she recommended the skincare to was her ex-colleague, Joanna Toh (34), who used it for six months and saw her skin improve visibly.
What seemed like a casual meetup between two women, turned into the first business meeting for these budding entrepreneurs.
From Former Coworkers To Co-Founders
Angie has been living and working in Singapore for the past 15 years, and has around 10 years of experience in customer service.
She met Joanna, a Malaysian working in Singapore for close to nine years, when they were at the same medical equipment company.
Even when Angie left the company to further her career and Joanna found better opportunity elsewhere, the two ladies still kept in close touch, meeting at least once a month for dinner and drinks.
It was during one of those regular hangout sessions that Angie told Joanna about the skincare brand she was using, Spatulaworks, a brand founded by her friend back in Seoul.
“I heard about Spatulaworks from my sister so many times and asked her to bring me to visit their studio when I went back to Korea,” Angie recounted.
“[Spatulaworks] focused on the [beneficial], fundamental things that are usually neglected by other skincare companies,” Angie explained.
Initially, Joanna used Spatulaworks “just to try it out”, but later noticed her complexion improving and compliments on her skin started pouring in.
She recounted the night Angie told her she wanted to try her hand at business, and her interest in bringing Spatulaworks into the Singapore market, seeing that it really works.
The conversation naturally became a discussion about their potential business, and it helped that the two friends both displayed entrepreneurial characteristics.
They were willing to try new things and wanted to find new ways to improve themselves and pursue their dreams.
Not Another ‘Organic’ Brand
Peapodsg began in late 2017 and is the manifestation of their vision of providing “natural-made products for everyone for hair, skin, and body especially [in this] harsh climate”.
Spatulaworks was just their first step into the foray and eventually, they hope that Peapodsg will become the platform for like-minded, conscious people to get natural beauty products from South Korea.
Prior to launching Spatulaworks on Peapodsg in January 2018, Angie shared that they only sold to friends to gather genuine feedback, and added that their friends are still their regular customers.
“The number of products we sold have been increasing since the launch. [But] for this year, the number of products we sell is not our main priority as we are still at an experimental and introductory stage.” Angie noted.
“What we are looking at currently is getting our brand out in the market, to get more people to notice, and by then, we would have scalable market demographic.”
Angie, a mother-of-two, described their way of doing business as “unique and manual”; only when an order has been placed, the product will then be shipped out of South Korea with the month’s freshest batch.
“This allows us to have very little first-hand capital investment while maintaining the made-to-order concept which is not usually practiced with consumer products elsewhere.”
To date, the duo has invested about $1,000 in creating the business.
Joanna believes that what makes Spatulaworks special among the sea of products that tout themselves as ‘organic’ in Singapore, is that they are skincare that uses “specialised, made-to-order formulation”.
Spatulaworks’ ingredients are natural, compounded with high-grade chemical, and “made with love and care”.
“Each formulation is made fresh every month and it’s best to use within six months,” Joanna shared.
Entrepreneurship Made Easy With Ecommerce
With Peapodsg as their new-found baby, Angie and Joanna were excited to start growing the business.
However, with no experience setting up an ecommerce business, they met with some challenges along the way.
Joanna recalled spending hours over the placement of the products on the screen but Shoptiq’s simple positioning function helped them build their ideal online store.
The easy navigation, handy templates, and efficient backend services gave them a boost of confidence they needed as first-time entrepreneurs.
“Time was also another challenge as both of us are not into this full-time [so we spend our] extra time left over the week and the weekends, which does need some effort,” Joanna said.
“But, I’m glad it turned out not so bad as we made one with Shoptiq by ourselves without engaging the help from experts. Now, everyone who has great ideas and passion can be an entrepreneur just with a click of a mouse.”
They had also participated in a flea market organised by Angie’s friend and Joanna thought it was a good experience.
“The turnout was pretty much focused on the Korean expat groups so, we did manage to [gain] awareness for Spatulaworks but we still need to [reach] out to more [people] in Singapore.”
On top of using tools like Shoptiq to kickstart their business, Joanna revealed that they also use social media like, Facebook and Instagram, to expand their reach.
Joanna and Angie are working towards building and growing a community in Singapore that cares for the importance of natural skincare, and exploring collaborations with like-minded businesses in the industry.
Hopefully, this story of how two aspiring entrepreneurs came to be has inspired you to become your own boss too!
With Singtel Shoptiq’s extensive ecosystem of support and suite of services, small businesses and fresh-faced entrepreneurs can focus on their passions without sweating the small stuff.
Find out more on Shoptiq here!
This article was written in collaboration with Singtel Shoptiq.
Featured Image Credit: Angie Kang, Joanna Toh