Singapore-based Sage & Ylang was established 2018 by Irene Chong, a former registered nurse turned skin care formulator.
Last year, the brand debuted its microbiome-friendly skin care range that was developed in collaboration with the Agency for Science, Technology and Research’s (A*STAR) Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE). IMRE researchers did bacteria viability studies and used machine learning to help the brand optimise the performance of its formulations.
This range of products was also certified to be microbiome-friendly by Sequential Bio and MyMicrobiome.
Up till now, Sage & Ylang had been focused on a direct-to-consumer (DTC) approach, primarily selling its products via its official website.
“From back in 2018, the strategy was mainly focused on e-commerce. It’s been a perfect time for us, we have grown our following and today our repeat rate is 80%. That’s a good sign that our products have been working for people with sensitive skin,” Chong told CosmeticsDesign-Asia.
This year, however, the company has shifted its strategy and is now targeting the niche beauty segment.
“Our products are not mass-market products, so we are looking at partnering with niche retailers, online and offline, and we have also included the spa channel as well,”said Chong.
As part of this strategy, the company has partnered with the COMO Group, a Singapore-based conglomerate with businesses in hospitality, fashion, wellness, lifestyle, and dining.
The companies worked together to develop a signature microbiome-friendly facial for its wellness centre, COMO Shambhala Urban Escape. The company claims that it would be the first certified microbiome-friendly facial treatment in Singapore.
As part of this collaboration, Sage & Ylang worked with COMO to develop new exclusive products that cannot be purchased off the shelf.
“As we manufacture 100% in-house, we are able to be quite nimble and crate very exclusive products. I think going in this direction with kind of a curated spa is right in line with our strategy,” said Chong.
2022 and beyond
In addition to COMO, Sage & Ylang is also in talks with other potential partners to create another exclusive line. In fact, this year, expansion will be a key area of focus for the company.
Chong told us the company was eyeing an expansion into Malaysia, the US and the UK, where she believes the brand can fill a gap in the niche beauty market.
“We’re doing well in Singapore, and we want to see if we can repeat it Malaysia, the US and UK as well. Most importantly, we want it to be a natural course of action.”
The company is hoping to find partnerships with niche beauty retailers as well as cultivate the brand among spas, salons and clinics, said Chong.
“We see a lot of potential in Malaysia. And in the US and UK, there’s a lot of awareness and demand for microbiome products. Given our strength in creating microbiome products, we want to leverage on that early.”