In this article

The genesis of PINE & CO happened in 2018, inspired by founder Joshua Yong’s love for idyllic living.

A musician by trade with a degree in piano performance, Joshua turned to a friend who is a cosmetic scientist to bring his vision to life.

However, it wasn’t until 2019 that the brand truly took on its current form.

Throughout 2018, the founding duo had extensive debates and discussions about a planned product range.  

Image Credit: PINE & CO

But faced with budget and time constraints, they strategically decided to concentrate their research and development efforts on a single product.

Their choice ended up being a body wash, with the inspiration being the arrival of Joshua’s baby daughter.

Meticulousness is key

While his wife had been pregnant, Joshua was searching for a gentle body wash for the baby. This quest turned into PINE & CO’s development of a product that checked all the boxes.

Personally invested in the product, Joshua and his partner’s top priority then was to secure high-quality ingredients from reputable and certified producers—something the business still does today, so much so that R&D for one product typically spans over a year.

From the minimalistic packaging to the scent selections, everything is done with intention and care.  

Image Credit: PINE & CO

“Working closely with aroma specialists, we craft distinctive aromas that set our offerings apart,” Joshua shared.

“Once the formulations are finalised, the ingredients find their way to our two production facilities—one in Singapore and the other in Malaysia—where the meticulous process of mass production begins.”

Today, PINE & CO aims to be a brand accessible to as many people as possible, not just for parents.

Over the years, they have developed body washes for various purposes and skin types, such as its “Tacet Hair & Body Wash” for children. As it is unscented, this option is suitable even for adults allergic to natural fragrances and essential oils.

“Despite the high cost of our ingredients, manpower, and production, we strive to keep our prices as low as possible,” Joshua said. A 500ml of their body wash is S$17.

Image Credit: PINE & CO

And it seems that their dedication has paid off, as Joshua reported that sales have been “doubling or tripling” each year since 2021.

“This growth is a testament to the support of our incredible customers and partners who have graciously spread the word about us through enthusiastic word-of-mouth recommendations.”

Beyond bodywash

Contributing to this growth also is no doubt the brand’s expansion beyond its initial range of body washes.

Noticing the needs of hospitality and travel partners, PINE & CO embarked on a journey to craft shampoo and conditioner products, utilising their best-selling aroma (Spring) as a foundation.

Currently, PINE & CO offers eight body wash variants, along with one shampoo and one conditioner.

But of course, body wash, shampoo, and conditioner are household necessities that can be found in almost every grocery or even convenience store. Ranges for sensitive skin aren’t rare nowadays, either.

On the question of their competitive edge, Joshua said, “At this stage, distinctions often lie within subtle nuances, including quality, suitability, design, and overall experience—largely intangible aspects.”

Image Credit: PINE & CO

Diversifying revenue streams

Aside from developing new ranges of products, they’ve also expanded into a whole new offering through PINE & CO: STUDIO.

Started mid-2022, PINE & CO: STUDIO is a concept dedicated to customisation and bespoke formulation.

“We started it because we wanted to bring the experience of formulation to our audience and allow greater customisation and flexibility for our corporate and hotel clients,” Joshua explained.

PINE & CO: STUDIO is split into three opportunities—for businesses and establishments, for events, and for exclusive pop-ups.

The primary goal of PINE & CO: STUDIO is to assist corporate clients, such as hotels and emerging brands, which is where the aforementioned travel hospitality and travel partners come into play.

Aside from serving these clients, though, it’s also an offering for individuals, typically for events such as weddings.

For such events, not only can partners and guests customise their scents, they can do it in person.

“PINE & CO: STUDIO offers an aromatic formulation experience for guests,” Joshua elaborated. “Participants can choose from a selection of essential oils provided and infuse them into a 50ml base body wash, creating an interactive and personalised door gift for the events.”

Image Credit: PINE & CO

This offering is somewhat similar to the one they offer at exclusive pop-up events, which got its start last year when they were invited to Sengkang General Hospital.

Here, customers selected essential oils and watched as specialists skilfully blended them into a 300ml base PINE & CO body wash.  

“The experience captivated the audience, akin to witnessing a barista expertly craft your coffee,” Joshua described. “The event proved immensely successful, with a sell-out in less than three hours.”

Given the success, they plan to host more pop-ups this year.

Plus, the studio has also been growing rapidly, with more sales and bookings by the quarter. It currently makes up about 15% to 30% of the business’ current revenue. 

From here, Joshua shared that the next goal on the team’s docket is to expand to a physical retail outlet in the near future.

From musician to entrepreneur

Today, PINE & CO has four partners, including Joshua.

While his co-founder delves into the R&D side of things, Joshua focuses on the business aspects at PINE & CO. Even though he doesn’t have an entrepreneurial background, he believes he has amassed a wealth of relevant experiences.

Image Credit: PINE & CO

“As a freelance musician and piano teacher, my journey has been full of experiences, encompassing not just music, but also sales, people management, and innovative problem-solving,” he shared.

Transitioning to PINE & CO, he found that his diverse abilities have seamlessly integrated into his current role.

And amidst this blend of skills, one quality has stood out—discipline.

“It’s a trait that has been ingrained in me since my days in music college,” he said. “It has pulled me through really bad days and kept me and the team moving forward. I owe a lot to the people who have shaped me.”

  • Learn more about PINE & CO here.
  • Read other articles we’ve written about Singaporean startups here.

Featured Image Credit: PINE & CO

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Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)