Despite the booming beauty sector in Singapore, there remains an ugly side to this industry. This niche market has been consistently ranked among the top three industries with the most complaints, according to the Consumer Association of Singapore (CASE).
Most of such complaints include customers facing dodgy beauty sales tactics, from the hidden add-ons to aggressive sales approaches.
Being a facial fanatic herself, Crystal Lee experienced this too. It wasn’t long before she decided to take matters into her own hands, with the launch of Singapore’s first bespoke membership skin bar — Peachy Skin Bar.
A Love For Skincare
Having been brought up in a home salon, the 29-year-old’s love for skincare runs deep. As her mother worked as a beautician, she would observe her customising of treatment plans according to customers’ skin concerns.
Crystal would go on to assist her mother, giving massages and navigating the ways of customer service.
“Some of the aunties really loved my head massages and would request for them as an add-on during their facial. I guess growing up in the beauty and skincare environment made me both familiar and passionate about this industry.”
With skincare being a quintessential part of her everyday life, she unsurprisingly turns to salons as an avenue for self-care and love. This was especially so when she went through a rough patch in life several years ago.
Awakening the Entrepreneur in Her
Struggling with personal problems, Crystal sunk into depression and her health deteriorated. However, she was inspired after chancing upon a quote from Dalai Lama: The purpose of our lives is to be happy.
“It was simple and yet, it hit me deeply. I realised I have to walk out of this dark period and rediscover myself,” she says.
It was also during this period that she and her friend had lamented about their annoyance for beauty salons’ pushy sales tactics and expensive, restrictive packages.
As Crystal suffers from hormonal imbalance, her skin problems tend to vary frequently. Coupled with her erratic work and travelling schedule, her dehydrated skin could be peeling one week and battling a breakout the next.
Traditional beauty packages didn’t make sense to her. “I have to change my skincare products from time to time to suit my skin needs, but whenever I go for facials, my package would only entail one, or at most two, categories of treatments to choose from because I’d have prepaid 10-12 sessions,” she explains.
These packages may seem like a bargain, but salons would often accompany their sales approach with insensitive comments – just to entice them to sign up for a long-term commitment.
All this led to one question that continuously harboured in her mind: Why can’t there be a place where people are happier and choose what they want to do?
It wasn’t long before this enlightening conversation with her friend soon awakened the problem-solving entrepreneur in her. She channelled her energy into a new project, and grew determined to fix this longstanding issue that perpetually haunts the beauty industry.
“With a new-found purpose, I rekindled my passion for beauty and entrepreneurship. I knew it was risky but the thought of creating something from ground zero and contributing positively to my community gave me a greater sense of purpose,” Crystal recounts.
“It made me feel alive again.”
Different Strokes For Different Folks
Armed with a goal to reinvent the typical facial experience in Singapore, Peachy Skin Bar was thus born in 2019.
Peaches are often rosy, dewy and soft to the touch – everything the enviable, ideal skin encompasses. The term ‘skin bar’ was also Crystal’s conscious effort to steer away from a conventional spa image, a way to modernise skincare treatments fit for contemporary urbanities.
“Skin bars serve accessible beauty with a dash of luxury and without all those spa frills, so you don’t have to sacrifice a wad of your wallet for good skin. And it sure helps that my fiancé and I love eating peaches!” Crystal explains her inspiration behind the tongue-in-cheek name.
Taking into account Crystal’s personal experience with hormonal imbalance, Peachy Skin Bar shines a light on bespoke facials. There are two ways on how the skin bar executes this, she explains.
First, no packages are offered. Customers are allowed to pick and choose the type of facial according to their skin needs, which may vary across different visits. Each session then becomes a bespoke treatment based entirely on one’s skin concerns at that particular moment.
Instead of packages, Peachy Skin Bar subscribes to a membership programme.
Those who shun commitment can choose to sign up for a basic membership, which entails member privileges and no hidden add-ons at a one-time fee of $150. Higher-tiered members can further top up credits into their Peachy Wallet to enjoy treatments of their choice, which are accompanied with varying bonuses and discounts.
These membership credits can also be co-shared among your loved ones, aligned with the skin bar’s vision on creating a relaxing, feel-good environment for everyone.
Second, bespoke facials at Peachy Skin Bar take the form of professional skin analysis and full customisation of each and every treatment. This includes many considerations that their skin analysts have to bear in mind – choosing products with suitable ingredients, deciding between manual or aesthetic treatments, deciding the type of aesthetic machine, and executing the type and pressure of facial massage that would best suit one’s skin needs.
Peachy Facials from the Heart
Peachy Skin Bar prides themselves on their no hard-selling culture, and this is constantly emphasised through their interior design, membership policy and overall facial experience.
The team even decided against that dreaded consultation room, and customers are instead welcomed with a cozy lounge.
Crystal has also thoughtfully designed every session with a jam-packed routine. While most salons would simply leave their customers resting alone at different lengths of time in-between facial steps, each Peachy Skin Bar treatment includes mini face, décolletage, and hand massages.
“I feel that most facial places don’t emphasise enough on facilitating relaxation, but I approached this similar to how people practice yoga. Our body needs guidance and a series of steps to facilitate restful relaxation, and these mini massages serve to give customers unwinding therapy.”
To top it all off, every session ends with a complimentary bubbly – or a non-alcoholic beverage for non-drinkers – ensuring a self-pampering routine from start to finish.
It goes without saying that this brand new concept that Peachy Skin Bar offers remains revolutionary, especially so in a time where salons can ironically bring more stress than enjoyment.
“I think we have created a fresh and friendly skincare concept in the highly competitive local beauty industry. We just hope to build stronger roots and expand our range of beauty services in the near future, and for more people to support our vision!”