[Article has been updated on 18 November 2020, 5:06pm]
During the three-month circuit breaker in Singapore when most were home-bound, many turned to starting their own businesses and passion projects.
CHU Collagen is one of the businesses that launched during the circuit breaker period, and its popularity has continued to soar despite the fact that Singaporeans have been out and about for months now.
Launched by husband-and-wife team Ethel Neo and Peter Lau, CHU Collagen specialises in pre-packaged, premium soup.
According to 29-year-old Ethel, CHU Collagen is the first in the market to launch, and brought the trend of frozen premium collagen soup home delivery to Singapore.
While the brand started out with just one flagship product — its Premium Chicken Collagen Soup — it has also since launched a Premium Prawn Mee Soup and a Crab Bee Hoon Kit.
Elevating The Home-Dining Experience
After the birth of her first son two years ago, Ethel began making chicken collagen soup to bring to gatherings with friends and family.
“I realised that while many people could have their collagen hotpot fix at various restaurants, there wasn’t really an option to have it at home,” Ethel told Vulcan Post.
The road to creating the perfect chicken collagen soup took Ethel and Peter through “lots of failures and kilograms of chicken bones.”
Eventually, they received the seal of approval from family and friends, who loved the soup so much that they started asking her to sell it.
This led to the birth of CHU Collagen’s first product — the Premium Chicken Collagen Soup.
Bearing in mind that others may not have the time to make their own fresh stock, we started CHU Collagen with the aim of delivering high quality stock into households to elevate the cooking and dining experiences at home.Ethel Neo, Co-founder of CHU Collagen
The husband-and-wife team then partnered a food manufacturer to replicate Ethel’s recipe and commercialise the process.
Ethel shared that they had actually begun working with the food manufacturer this February, and spent two months on research and development.
Even though the store was launched during the start of the circuit breaker in April, it was unplanned.
However, the “timing turned out to be perfect” as everyone had to stay home and were looking for recipes to try.
When people are cooped up at home, it also gives them more motivation to try out new food products. Eating habits were changing too.
That helped our business as people were curious and more willing to try our broth.Ethel Neo, Co-founder of CHU Collagen
‘CHULY’ The Best
Ethel stresses that CHU Collagen does not use the word “Premium” lightly.
According to the neuroscience graduate, the quality and texture of CHU’s soup is not one that can easily be found in other products.
As a testament, the product is highly-raved about by customers and their brand has seen phenomenal growth.
In the first month of operations, its volume of sales increased by 161 per cent. Thereafter, it continued to grow at a steady rate of five to 15 per cent monthly.
To date, CHU Collagen has already hit a “high six-figure revenue”.
It is also retailing in NTUC Fairprice Finest, so the team is expecting to hit even higher growth rates.
Restaurant owners have also started reaching out to CHU Collagen, requesting to use their broth as part of their dishes.
Currently, the brand is collaborating with Takeshi Noodle Bar, which is the first restaurant to feature CHU’s broth in a Uni ramen specially curated by its head chef.
Ethel and Peter are an entrepreneurial pair. Ethel told Vulcan Post that while she enjoyed her previous job as a teacher, she wanted to create a brand that belonged to her.
Besides CHU Collagen, the duo also started a jewellery label — Éclat by Oui — in 2017. The brand offers high quality diamond simulants, and was started up because Ethel lost her actual engagement ring while travelling.
Traumatised and disappointed, she decided to look into a luxurious yet guilt-free diamond alternative.
CHU Collagen is the couple’s second venture together, and they intend to bring the brand into other Asian countries, as well as introduce new products.
“We are glad that we are providing an alternative to dining at home and making people happy through their stomachs especially in such challenging times,” said Ethel.
Featured Image Credit: CHU Collagen