Spa queen's natural evolution

Spa queen's natural evolution
Ms Cynthia Chua, founder and managing director of the Spa Esprit Group.

While she has devoted most of her time to launching food and beverage businesses, such as Tiong Bahru Bakery and Bochinche, in the past few years, Ms Cynthia Chua is now turning her attention back to beauty.

The founder and managing director of the Spa Esprit Group, who introduced Brazilian waxing and Intense Pulsed Light hair-removal treatments to the mainstream market here in 2002, is diving into product development.

By the end of this year, she plans to roll out 10 products under her various brands.

They include a mascara and eyeliner which will be stocked at brow-grooming chain Browhaus; moisturising, brightening and nourishing feminine washes to complement the Intense Pulsed Light hair-removal and waxing services at Strip; as well as a sunscreen by skincare brand Skin Care Options (SCO), which will be sold at most of the Spa Esprit Group salons. These products are being developed in the United States, France, Japan and South Korea.

Aside from Strip and Browhaus, she also owns spa chain Spa Esprit; cult beauty brand stockist Beauty Emporium; Qi Mantra, which offers traditional massages with a twist; and men's grooming salon We Need A Hero.

SCO is a New York-based skincare brand which Ms Chua bought for about $500,000 in 2012, as she liked its "progressive infusions like mushroom, topical Botox and molasses".

She is counting on her new in-house products - she has spent about $2 million to develop this year's launches - to set herself apart from the competition.

"While we keep rebooting our services to make them relevant and innovative - like the IPL Ace treatments which brighten and tighten skin while removing hair with Intense Pulsed Light - we're thinking out of the box and developing products to complement the services," says the 43-year-old, who road-tests all the formulas and takes about nine months to develop each one. She travels five times a year to work on her brands and get inspiration.

The entrepreneur also hopes to reach a wider audience with her new products as she plans to stock them at third-party retailers. She declined to reveal more details.

Plans are also underway to grow and consolidate her beauty brands internationally.

There are 38 beauty outlets under the Spa Esprit Group in Singapore and another 38 overseas.

The money spinners are the Strip and Browhaus outlets, which raked in a total of $47 million last year for its local and overseas businesses.

There are Strip and Browhaus outlets in Malaysia, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Jakarta and Manila, as well as in London and New York.

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