In this special column called the “TLC x Fempreneurs Series”, we will be featuring inspiring Female Entrepreneurs (Fempreneurs) in short. You will be able to have a sneak peek at their mindsets and their daily habits.
Believe in the power of community. On some days when you feel big goals are impossible, or when you feel like giving up, you need to lean on your like-minded community. You can even “borrow” motivation, and in turn “return” with your own inspiring stories to pay it forward.
Meet Lily Kew, (Kew Organics)
Tell us a little about yourself. What is your business/brand about?
Hi, I’m Lily Kew, 51, mother of two girls, aged 6 and 3. I’m the Founder of Kew Organics Facial Bars, Kew Organics Skincare Line, and Sugar K Organic Peel Bar.
Kew Organics Facial Bar
Date of Launch: April 2014
Singapore’s first facial bar to offer full-fledged bespoke organic facials, combined with the safe use of high-tech machines to enhance the efficacy of its facial treatments. Uses water-based, vegan, and certified organic products from the Kew Organics Skincare range.
Kew Organics Skincare
Date of Launch: Nov 2016
The world’s first high-performance, water-based i.e. Liquid botanicals extract formulations, vegan, and organic skincare label. Houses a total of over 30 retail products, each loaded with certified organic ingredients and botanicals. Kew Organics’ bespoke organic facials and skincare products promise skin transformation, not just improvement. We have many successful cases of our users ditching their makeup for good as they have nothing to cover up after embarking on their green beauty journey with us.
Sugar K Organic Peel Bar
Date of Launch: May 2017
The first-of-its-kind organic peel bar concept provides busy urbanites with fuss-free, effective, and result-driven express bespoke organic facials in under 30 minutes, without any downtime.
What got you started on your business?
During my adolescent years, I was plagued with severe acne issues that badly affected my daily life and self-confidence. In search of a solution, I consulted with several beauticians and dermatologists and was prescribed harsh treatments and chemical-laden products, which did not solve my acne issues. Instead, it left my skin thin, weak, sensitive, and dehydrated on the surface while oily underneath and with recurring breakouts.
The struggle continued well into my adulthood and decided to resolve my skin issues by myself. At 29, I pursued a diploma in beauty therapy and cosmetology in Singapore and subsequently in Canada. Equipped with knowledge about skin health, I then worked as a beauty therapist to hone my skills while treating my skin.
In 2004, together with a close relative, we created our own spa brand, Glow Aesthetics. Unfortunately, after eight years, in 2012, given differing visions, I was ousted from my own company. Glow Aesthetics closed down 18 months after I left.
Two years later, in 2014, I opened the first Kew Organics Facial Bar in Everton Park. While providing facial services for my customers, I realized that the existing organic skincare brands were either too mild so they only worked for skin without problems; or were too rich and oily for Singapore’s tropical climate. This, and the desire to deliver optimal results to my customers, prompted me to create my own organic skincare label, Kew Organics, which I formulated with the expertise of leading labs in Singapore, Canada, and Korea – to cater to skincare woes such as clogged pores, acne breakouts, pigmentation, and dehydration.
Before you started on your business, what did you do on a full-time basis?
I worked in the entertainment industry. I ran a deejay company where I supplied deejays and karaoke deejays to clubs and events.
What were some difficulties you faced in your life and how did you overcome them?
Prior to Kew Organics, in 2004, I co-created a spa brand called, Glow Aesthetics, together with a close relative. After eight years of building the business from scratch, given differing visions, I was ousted from the company.
It was a painful time in my life. I sank into depression, it was so bad that I neglected my personal hygiene and didn’t take daily baths. Fortunately, I have a strong mindset, and grit and my pragmatism helped me through the ordeal. I remember giving myself a timeline of 6 months to address my grief and other emotions; then I told myself to snap out of it.
Another incident was the hiring of a close relative. Soon after confirmation, he went on a 2-month medical leave and resigned when he returned. He even expected an AWS payout for that short stint of work. In addition, he was badmouthing me and a few other colleagues behind our backs. That experience was scary for me as it made me doubt my judgment and leadership. Thankfully, I was able to snap out of it with the help of my Christian faith and exercise.
Who inspires you?
My mother. She has never been to school but that did not deter her from achieving what she wants. She gets things done through her resourcefulness, grit, and ‘never take no for an answer’ attitude.
What excites you most about your industry?
I’m excited to receive recognition and affirmation from Enterprise Singapore recently that the future of beauty is green. It is my lifelong mission to introduce the goodness of organic beauty because I know that the skin absorbs whatever is applied to it and the harmful, toxic effects of conventional ingredients, chemicals, and preservatives and the nasty, negative impact not only on skin health but our overall health. I’m excited that the government is pushing for green beauty and organic beauty. There is so much potential to explore.
We are starting our own lab next year so we will have complete control over the organic ingredients that can be included in our products to help others. In particular, the younger generation tends to be very conscious of their looks due to social media influence. It is our hope to help them look good naturally without harmful effects on their health.
What is your vision / personal motto?
I am an advocate of clean beauty and have been on a mission to harness the power of organic skincare to help women and men achieve clear, healthy, and make-up-free skin. I am dedicated to transforming skin with a marriage of my organic skincare products under the Kew Organics Skincare label with the safe use of high-tech machines that enhance the efficacy of my facial treatments. I believe good skin can transform and empower lives. Slogan: #Bareskinrocks
Do you have any word of advice for other ladies who are starting their business/ starting to pursue their dream?
My family is my top priority as I believe that a happy home is imperative to ensuring my success at work. My advice to female entrepreneurs, particularly mothers with young children like myself who might be pressured by society to, ‘have it all’, is to pace yourself. Yes, you can have it all, but perhaps not always everything at the same time.
What have you learnt recently that you hope the other ladies can take back?
It is okay to say no and to set priorities. Be resourceful and delegate where possible. I’ve recently let go of my helper and with two young daughters, a growing business, and a team to lead, how do I manage it all? I’ve realized that it is about managing my expectations – as long as things are 70-80% of what I want, I can accept that. I’ve also learned to say no to certain things and people so I don’t overcommit. It’s important to not pack too many things on your to-do list.
Being self-aware of my strengths and weaknesses helps me understand what I can and cannot do. This way I am able to set my priorities. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help, be resourceful and delegate where possible. For example, my kids are very young – 6 and 3 years old. To ease my workload, I’ve been getting them to do more for themselves such as brushing their own teeth, packing their bags, and tying their shoelaces. They are also helping with simple household chores such as putting their plates in the sink, wiping the table, and hanging the laundry. Although they can’t do it perfectly – it is okay as long as they are trying and improving with time.
As women, we have so many hats to wear, so it’s important to be bold and ask for help when we need it. We want it all in life – career, family – perhaps a better way would be to not expect everything at the same time. I hope these pointers are useful for women reading this.
How do you think you can help ladies to feel confident and empowered?
When we look good on the outside, we naturally feel good about ourselves. I have helped many ladies to be the best versions of their selves. Once their skin clears up and is healthy, youthful, and beautiful, they feel confident and have improved self-esteem. They are empowered to transform their lives in many ways. It was the same for me, when I had troubled skin, I didn’t even want to get out of bed. When my skin condition improved, my life improved in many ways – my relationship with others, and my career.
With Kew Organics, my mission is to transform skin and empower lives.
What is one thing you are grateful for?
I am grateful to be able to wake up every day with clear and healthy skin that does not need any makeup so I can be ready and out of the door quickly. At the end of a long, tiring day, I don’t have to go through the process of removing my make-up.
What do you do in your free time as self-care? How do you unwind?
I enjoy cooking healthy, organic meals for my family and have recently taken up gardening where I grow herbs to harvest for cooking.
I love the outdoors and running whenever time permits. I am also an avid reader.
Let us know more about what you do!
Kew Organics is a made-with-passion brand. This recognition from the government means we are a trusted, reliable, and quality brand with lots of potentials to grow locally and globally.
Kew Organics Facial Bar is the first in Singapore, and around the region, to offer full-fledged bespoke organic facials. We use products from our in-house Kew Organics Skincare range – water-based, vegan, and certified organic and the safe use of high-tech machines to enhance the efficacy of its facial treatments.
We have four outlets at Cluny Court, Everton Park, Clarke Quay Central, and Tangs Orchard. We also have an online store to cater to local and overseas customers. We have another brand, Sugar K Organic Peel Bar, which offers fuss-free, effective, and result-driven express bespoke organic facials in under 30 minutes, without downtime. Sugar K is to cater to the needs of busy urbanites, and they are available at all our outlets.
You may also find us featured on 8 Days, Enterprise Singapore, Singapore Tourism Board – Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines, Singapore Business Federation, Cosmetics Designs Asia, Fortune Times, Girls Style, Her World, Honeykidsasia, Today, Singapore Motherhood, Nylon, Prestige, South China Morning Post, The Edge Options, The Straits Times Life!, Today, and Vulcan Post.
Connect with Kew Organics!
2 lucky winners stand a chance to win a Sugar K LED THERAPY worth S$86 per session (to be redeemed by 31st December 2022)!
Developed by NASA to speed up astronaut tissue healing and repair, LED light therapy heals ATP (a cell that stores energy like a powerhouse). Using different wavelengths combined with over 95% of fresh, organic botanical active ingredients to promote absorption into the deeper skin layers, it is an all-in-one treatment that boosts collagen, reduces acne bacteria, prevents pigmentation, desensitizes skin, and delays aging.
𝐇𝐨𝐰 𝐭𝐨 𝐏𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐢𝐩𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐈𝐧𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐦 𝐆𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐚𝐰𝐚𝐲:
1. Like this post.
2. Follow @keworganics and @theladiescue on Instagram.
3. Tag 1 friend who loves glowy skin! One tag per comment. More tags = more entries
Best of luck!
Are you a Fempreneur too?
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