May 29, 2020
Crystal Lee Opens Up About Herself & Her Start Up Journey
This journey has been a whirlwind. In January 2019, I formally founded Peachy Skin Bar and never looked back. There were many a raised eyebrow when it was revealed that Peachy Skin Bar was founded by a young entrepreneur. It is rare for a relatively young entrepreneur to start a beauty salon business in Singapore with neither network nor net worth, but when I explain that I grew up in a humble home beauty salon with my esthetician mother for over 20 years, the “oh-I-see” moment of revelation kicks in.
A little backstory
“I think I’ve developed a strong passion and interest in the skincare industry – probably more than most of my peers because I grew up in this environment.”
Having grown up in a home salon, I started picking up the skills for facials really early on, occasionally helping my mum over the school holidays since my late teenage years. The hands-on experience was invaluable, and I learned lots, but I also wanted to enhance my knowledge through formal training in the aesthetic arts – hence my decision to enrol in a training course in cosmetology school.
The Spark that Ignited the Fire – Peachy’s inspiration
Prior to starting Peachy Skin Bar, I was pursuing my Master’s Degree in International Business having worked in the field of branding and marketing. Peachy Skin Bar was however, not an idea that sprang forth from education or inspiration overnight. It took me more than a year for Peachy Skin Bar to go from ideation to execution, and on 7th September 2020, we finally opened our doors for business.
My journey as an entrepreneur was as much a process of self-discovery and evolution as each iteration of Peachy Skin Bar took shape. The journey began as most journeys do, at the lowest point of my life and I can credit a particular ranting session I had with my best friend as the moment the idea was conceived – one where we lamented some of the underhanded practices beauty salons were using.
From hidden add-ons to pressuring sales tactics, many beauty customers have seen their relaxing retreat turn into a pushy, expensive nightmare. It’s amazing that while skincare technology has come on leaps and bounds, the business practices still seem mired in the 1980s.
“When I realised customers – especially millennials – are shunning beauty salons because of unpleasant past experiences, or the stories they’ve heard from their friends, I just felt it was a pity. It’s ironic that an industry that’s all about wellness, can inflict such stressful experiences on its customers.”
During the peak of my hormonal imbalance resulting from stress, my skin condition was constantly changing and I realised that typical facial packages were not going to be effective. I would usually be offered a package bundle for one treatment at “best price” if I signed and prepaid for 10 sessions upfront. But I soon realized that one type of treatment only would not necessarily be suitable for my temperamental, wilding fluctuating skin woes – so I always ended up paying extra to upgrade for machines or products that would be more tailored to my skin concern at the point of treatment. When I raised these concerns, my therapist tried to sell me 5 to 10 more sessions of a different treatment so I can alternate treatments in the future – which once again was a “best price” offer. It was so frustrating, ineffective, and not to mention expensive.
That ranting session with my best friend who also had similar experiences with her beauty salon, triggered me to reflect on the industry as a whole. After more research, I realised there was a community of skincare enthusiasts who are equally upset with the industry’s expensive yet restrictive packages that don’t cater to the vicissitudes of our skin, and even worse – hard selling practices.
“I quickly realised there was a gap in the market. There was a lack of reputable, affordable, and accessible salon in the market that focuses on delivering timely, high quality facials that meet customer’s skincare needs and provided much needed relaxation in every facial session.”
One thing led to another and the problem-solving fire in me was ignited. I decided to reimagine the whole facial experience and shake up the industry with a new concept. Unlike conventional salon practices, our skin bar has no packages, no consultation rooms, and we only offer bespoke facials. If you love us, you can join us as a member to get bonuses, preferential rates, and discounts for all our treatments. With no restrictions and fully transparent pricing, customers can rest assured that they will get any treatment they need with no hidden costs. As Singapore’s first bespoke membership skin bar, we strive to provide a pleasurable and positive experience to all our customers without neglecting results.
On depression, self-care, and getting back in the game
One of the things I really wanted Peachy Skin Bar to represent was “Self-Care”. Like many, I‘ve had my fair share of problems, and the negative perspective began to wear me down. Slowly at first, then all at once, I spiralled into a deep and dark phase of my life fighting an exhausting battle with depression. I know from personal experience that people who are depressed tend to neglect themselves and they get overwhelmed easily. With the right support group, love, and encouragement, I very gradually got back on my feet, and took those tentative baby steps towards recovering my mental health and took control of my life.
“Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life” – JK Rowling
William James once said “Action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling”. My journey taught me that it is important to stop the downward spiral at some point. We need to put in the effort to understand and love ourselves. That includes regular self-care such as facials, haircuts, social mingling with positive people, and self-improvement projects. When we groom and invest in ourselves, we unconsciously feel better about ourselves which indirectly affects our attitude and perspective of life.
I neglected myself when I was depressed but my partner was very positive and encouraging. Knowing how facials helped me relax and tune out the stresses in my life, he once gifted me a salon package and those pampering pockets of me-time amidst the chaos inevitably had a positive effect on my overall mood and outlook.
I’m sharing this rather personal part of my story because I want those of you who are in difficult situations and tough times to know that these low moments you are feeling now will pass. When you are feeling tired and drained, don’t give up, take a break and seek proper support if you need it – no shame or stigma. You are not weak for battling depression; you are a warrior. It is totally ok to take a break, to love yourself and do something just for you. You are worthy it all.
That low period in my life always reminded me how little acts of self-care, positivity, and love from the people around me brought me back to the right path. With new strength, I found my purpose and dream.
With Peachy Skin Bar, I hope to inject more positivity over fear of imperfections, provide more inclusivity like a community, and a safe TLC haven for all our Peachy customer’s skins and souls.
It’s time to outdream and love ourselves.