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Sugar(ed) started out as a home-based business for three years before it evolved into a brick-and-mortar sugaring studio.

Published 2020-12-17 11:51:14
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Jasmine Yong used to travel around the world when she worked as a flight stewardess for Singapore Airlines.

After quitting in 2008, the polytechnic graduate moved over to the United States, which was where she first discovered sugaring.

“Having been waxed for many years, I was so amazed to have my hair removed with barely any pain and heat,” said Jasmine.

“My first sugaring experience was momentous enough for me to dig a little deeper, and eventually undergo training with Alexandria Professional as a sugaring educator.”

After receiving her certification, Jasmine flew back to Singapore and started a home-based business that specialises in sugaring in 2012.

She later founded Sugar(ed) — it is Singapore’s first body sugaring studio, which now has four outlets islandwide to date.

Sugaring Is 100% Organic

sugar ball
Sugar ball / Image Credit: Sugar(ed)

Jasmine describes sugaring as an ancient method of hair removal that is said to originate from Mesopotamia, Egypt and Greece.

“It is 100 per cent organic because it only requires a ball of sugar made of lemon, sugar and water,” she explained.

Since it is organic, it is also safe for people who have sensitive skin such as psoriasis and eczema, and even pregnant women.

She stressed that sugaring and waxing are two different types of hair removal techniques.

legs sugaring sugar(ed)
Sugaring on legs / Image Credit: Sugar(ed)

With sugaring, the sugar paste is heated to body temperature. It is then applied onto the skin and hair is removed in the natural direction of growth, picking up on dead skin cells.

The same ball of sugar can also be used to remove hair on other parts of the body, making it an eco-friendly alternative to wax strips and spatulas.

Waxing on the other hand, involves wax being heated to high temperatures, adheres to live skin cells and removes hair in the opposite direction of growth. This tends to be more painful and abrasive to the skin, according to Jasmine.

While sugaring is indeed a gentler alternative, it doesn’t mean that the hair removal process is painless.

With any and all hair removal methods where hair is directly removed by the root, pain is inevitable. This is however, not to say that it is intolerable.

We each have our own individual pain thresholds, which is why we highly recommend clients to come get sugared and test things for themselves.

– Jasmine Yong, founder of Sugar(ed)

As someone who has personally tried out sugaring twice — my second and most recent experience was at Sugar(ed) — I can attest that the hair removal experience is very comfortable.

I have a low pain threshold myself, but I find the pain level to be very bearable. My therapist actually commended me for not even flinching throughout the entire session, and joked that I can sleep through it if I wanted to.

Beyond that, my therapist was also very friendly — which helps a lot in distracting me from any pain. It surprisingly didn’t feel awkward at all to be exchanging life and love stories with her although my bottom half was absolutely exposed throughout our conversation.

Besides being less painful, sugaring also left my skin soft and smooth as opposed to red and irritated.

The aftercare treatments probably helped — I was pampered with a mud treatment (complimentary for all Virgin Brazilian/Manzilian services), followed by a Phenomen-all skin conditioning, which is a hydrating cream of sorts that helps to repair the skin.

Sugar(ed) is an exclusive partner of Alexandria Professional, so their range of products that is formulated specially for pre- and post-hair removal is actually used in the treatment rooms.

alexandria professional skin conditioning travel kit
Image Credit: Vulcan Post

I was actually given a complimentary travel kit that carries mini-sized versions of their products so I can continue to give my ‘V’ some TLC even at home.

Right after my treatment, I actually signed up for a package, which speaks volumes about the way I feel about Sugar(ed) — it was indeed a sweet experience!

What I also love about Sugar(ed) is that they make it a point to educate clients about sugaring and skin conditioning before, during and after treatment.

So far, I have noticed a huge difference in the regrowth with no ingrown hairs (this used to be a problem for me) and finer hairs growing back.

Starting Out From Home

Sugar(ed) isn’t actually Jasmine’s first business venture.

She had dabbled in reselling handbags, and attempted to introduce sugaring to the local market back in 2012 prior to Sugar(ed), but failed due a “lack of experience and poor execution”.

She had thought her entrepreneurial journey would end there, but she was very wrong. Little did she know, Sugar(ed) would hit a sweet spot for her (pun intended).

jasmine yong sugar(ed) founder
Jasmine in the sugaring room at her Clementi home / Image Credit: Sugar(ed)

Her home-based sugaring business started out with only five customers who were friends. Thanks to the power of word-of-mouth, her customer base quadrupled in a span of nine months.

It gradually grew to 500 over three years — to a point where her house could no longer accommodate them.

sugar(ed) bukit timah
Sugar(ed)’s Bukit Timah outlet / Image Credit: Sugar(ed)

She then opened her very first brick-and-mortar studio in 2016 in the heart of Bukit Timah and other subsequent studios with each passing year — Katong in 2017, Keong Saik Road in 2018 and Upper Thomson Road in 2019.

From her first house at Bukit Panjang, her loyal clients actually followed her to her second home at Clementi, and later on to her very first studio.

Recalling the early days of Sugar(ed), Jasmine said that her greatest struggle was keeping up with the demand as a “one-woman show” because she had to juggle different roles in the business.

Starting out small and committing my time to build my brand, rapport with clients and create awareness about sugaring is what led me to where I am today, and I could not have done it better any other way.

My success is that I am willing to do something that most people won’t do, which is as simple as removing someone else’s hair (and lots of it in the pubic region!). I am passionate about personal grooming and de-stigmatising the taboo that comes with intimate care, and love what I do everyday.

– Jasmine Yong, founder of Sugar(ed)

Running A Business At 27

Jasmine Yong, founder of Sugar(ed)
Jasmine Yong, founder of Sugar(ed) / Image Credit: Sugar(ed)

Jasmine started up Sugar(ed) in 2016 when she was just 27 years old.

When asked if she faced any doubt or criticism then, she simply said that small business owners are “inherent self-starters making significant personal sacrifices on behalf of our business and vision.”

“I needed constant encouragement and assurance as a business owner, relying mostly on my family and friends for emotional support. Volunteering and providing business referrals are other non-financial ways that family and friends can (show their) support,” she added.

The business journey itself has been fraught with its set of challenges, and she cites “human resources and technique awareness” as the main hurdles.

As a certified Alexandria Professional Body Sugaring Educator, she personally trains each one of their sugarists to master the technique. 

sugar(ed) alexandria professional
Image Credit: Sugar(ed)

All sugarists undergo three months of training, which are followed by examinations before they can be certified under Sugar(ed).

“We expect a lot from our team when it comes to technique, but even more so with knowledge. It truly is about going beyond the service and sharing information about hair removal, skincare and even sexual health,” said Jasmine.

She also emphasised that Sugar(ed) is more than just any regular sugaring salon.

We pride ourselves in going beyond a hair removal experience to learn about each and every client’s background, and educate them on how best to love their skin and hair in a natural, eco-conscious way.

Though Sugar(ed) provides sugaring services, it is important for us to reiterate that hair removal is an individual preference, not a must. Our educational materials touch on the fundamentals of skincare and are holistic in that it can even benefit someone who shaves, waxes or goes au naturale.

– Jasmine Yong, founder of Sugar(ed)

COVID-19 Challenges

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many businesses in Singapore, and Sugar(ed) is no exception.

The circuit breaker period was especially difficult for them as they were forced to halt business operations.

Over that period, we kept our spirits high and focused on online sales, social media engagement and virtual staff training.

Business has been picking up since Phase 2, but our number of daily appointments is still limited given safe distancing protocols. Till this day, we are fortunate enough to have our clients’ consistent support and enthusiasm to get sugared.

– Jasmine Yong, founder of Sugar(ed)
sugar(ed) team singapore
Sugar(ed) team / Image Credit: Sugar(ed)

Today, Sugar(ed) has an all-female team of 30. Despite that, Sugar(ed) also sugar male clients and Jasmine expresses optimism for a gradual increase with time and cultural openness.

There is a common misconception that sugaring is reserved only for females, and Sugar(ed) is determined to dispel this.

“As a brand that does not discriminate between gender, skin condition or background, this is certainly a myth we seek to challenge,” said Jasmine.

Sharing future business plans, she revealed that the pandemic has unfortunately shelved their regional expansion plans.

For now, Sugar(ed) is focusing its efforts on re-education — this includes hair removal, skincare and sexual health.

Wrapping up the interview, Jasmine shared her personal business mantra and a piece of business advice to fellow entrepreneurs.

Never be afraid of failure — failure is the opportunity to build resilience and begin again more intelligently.

My advice is to train your thinking, instil positivity and be inspired by the good around you everyday. The stronger your mindset is, the more successful your business will be.

– Jasmine Yong, founder of Sugar(ed)

Featured Image Credit: Sugar(ed)

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