This 31-year-old former nurse creates an eco-friendly soap company and achieves profitability soon after – Health Guild News


She was a former nurse at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital. During her stay in the hospital, Singaporean Chew Jia Tian decided to explore the creation of Rough Beauty, a business that sells handmade soaps.

As a person who had to wash his hands very often for his work, he thought of creating bath and body products made by hand with botanical ingredients that soothe and nourish the skin.

Jia Tian had the vision to create soaps for those who love rustic simplicity and enjoy a conscious cleaning experience. The products would also focus heavily on sustainability and attract environmentalists.

When Jia Tian completed her bachelor’s degree in nursing at the University of Manchester through the Singapore Institute of Technology in 2016, the Rough Beauty business was already taking off.

Chew Jia Tian, ​​founder of Rough Beauty / Image Credit: Rough Beauty

The 31-year-old decided to run her business full-time that same year. The decision turned out to be a good one, as Rough Beauty soon became profitable.

“We focused on a top-notch approach to keeping our overheads low and our soaps affordable,” the employer said.

Today, Rough Beauty is no longer an individual show but a team of five people.

Since then, he has worked with brands and organizations such as Shopee, Lazada, Far East Flora, Lee Hwa Jewelery and the National University of Singapore.

The Rough Beauty Team / Image Credit: Rough Beauty

The Singapore-based craft brand is now a hit among the growing organic crowd, attracting many returning customers as it uses only natural ingredients such as vegetable and herbal essential oils and spices for scents and colors in all of its products.

Its products are also free of synthetic fragrances, dyes, sulfates and parabens.

Former nurse turned entrepreneur

Jia Tian shared that she is mostly self-taught, as she had learned the method of making cold soap when she started the business.

The cold process allows better control of the ingredients, such as the types and amount of oil that enters the final product. “Our team spends time experimenting with these formulas to create soaps with different properties,” he said. Soaps are handmade and made in Singapore.

Popular bar soaps sold at Rough Beauty / Image Credit: Rough Beauty

The company creates and sells bar soaps and they have been maintained to become the best sellers and customers’ favorites.

Some of its bestsellers include Mint Rose and Saffy Fields soaps, which cost S $ 9.50 for a 110g block. The ingredients are clearly listed on the website so that consumers know what the products include. For example, Mint Rose soap contains a blend of floral, herbal and citrus essential oils with some dried herbs like rosemary leaves.

Rough Beauty developed its line of liquid soap products after its soap bars were a success. “What’s unique about our liquid soaps is that we also make soaps from scratch, which is unlike many mass-produced products commercially,” Jia Tian said.

The Cold Process Method for Making Soap / Image Credit: Rough Beauty

Rough Beauty only uses natural ingredients for both the smells and the colors of the soaps. For example, use essential oils and not fragrance oils to create scents.

Soap odors are created through an internal R&D process and are often referred to by customer feedback when new products are formulated.

Sustainable production line

Rough Beauty said it strongly advocates for sustainability and this is seen in its day-to-day operations. On the one hand, their bar soaps can be wrapped in magazine paper given if customers opt for a low-residue option in the box.

“We keep our packaging simple to reduce the materials used. We use recyclable materials such as paper and cardboard to package our products. We also reuse bubble wrap from our supplies and donations, ”Jia Tian said.

It also produces small batches of soap on demand to reduce waste.

Soap tips are also sold at a cheaper price to ensure there is no waste / Image credit: Rough Beauty

“We strive to obtain sustainable ingredients. For example, we use sustainable palm oil in our production. We also sell our soap tips (the pieces of soap that are cut from the ends of our soap pans) and any soap that doesn’t make the quality cut, so no soap is wasted, ”Rough Beauty said.

The brand wants to carry out its ethos of “living simply and consciously” through its offerings. “Our vision is to inspire a conscious day-to-day life, and we see simplicity as part of that process. We want our products and packaging to reflect that ethos,” he added.

“We also use only botanical and natural ingredients in our soaps. After production, our soaps are also left to cure so that they reach the ideal conditions for the best cleaning experience.”

Reuse of bottles and sale of spare packages

Bar soaps usually last about a month for single-person use. To help them last longer, Jia Tian recommends storing soaps in a soap drain between uses.

Due to the natural ingredients, it is recommended to use soaps within four to six months, as the odors of the essential oils fade over time. They can still be used for cleaning after that and have a shelf life of a few years.

Replacement packages are sold at a discounted price / Image Credit: Rough Beauty

Rough Beauty’s e-commerce store offers automatic delivery and collection services. He also opens his studio in Sin Ming Lane on Friday to come in and refill by appointment.

A spare pack of 500 ml of liquid soap costs a little less, around S $ 29.00, compared to the same amount in a bottle for S $ 32.00. “Customers can come in to buy our products without packages or bring their own containers to fill,” Rough Beauty said.

Business gifts and wedding gifts

In the midst of the pandemic, Rough Beauty saw an increase in demand for its soaps to be gifted as care packages for front-line staff and as corporate gifts. Most orders are in the hundreds and can range from bar soaps to games or packages.

“Soaps as corporate gifts offer something practical and different for customers to give away to their business or personal partners,” Jia Tian said.

The brand also sells wedding gift packages as part of its product line following customer requests.

Corporate Gifts Created for Common Man Coffee Roasters and Lee Hwa Jewelery / Image Credit: Rough Beauty

“Couples usually opt for bar soaps in half bar sizes. As part of our customization packages, we allow customers to choose colors, designs, scents and also include custom labels,” he added.

The company also runs a soap subscription club to keep its loyal customers committed to the latest aromas and products. Currently, the brand has several dozen members in this club and are usually longtime fans.

“Our Rough Beauty soap club has been the favorite way for Rough Beauty fans to get our soaps consistently. Our soap club ships products every two months and customers can choose from two to five bars of soap, and use depends on people, ”Rough Beauty said.

Pandemic challenges, more products in process

On any business impact caused by the pandemic, Jia Tian said Rough Beauty had to stop its soap-making workshops for health and safety reasons for all customers.

“We are learning to deal with it as a company and that means dealing with the growing pain that this entails. We are still receiving inquiries for the workshops and hope to return them soon, ”he said.

Supply chain disruptions caused by the Covid-19 also affected the business and it had to deal with unexpected changes in demand and supply.

On the other hand, the pandemic stimulated him to introduce his own range of disinfectants. The series includes aromas of Rough Beauty such as Cedar Woods and Geranium Reefs. Customer feedback and reception have been good for these products, Jia Tian said.

The series of brand disinfectants and other new products / Image Credit: Rough Beauty

In the short term, Rough Beauty will focus on expanding its product range.

“We want to continue to bring new products to our fans and we currently have some products in the process. We rely heavily on our customers’ feedback on which products they would like us to sell. For example, we recently introduced our face bar which consists of a soap formula. soft and has no perfume, which our customers asked for, ”said Jia Tian.

Another highly sought after item that is in the process is your hair shampoo series. The brand is currently working to create the right formula that combines effective washing along with Rough Beauty values. It is on track to release this series later this year.

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Featured Image Credit: Rough Beauty, shared by Sabrina

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