On running Peachy Skin Bar during the pandemic: “Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will”

Founder Crystal Lee. (PHOTO: Peachy Skin)
Founder Crystal Lee. (PHOTO: Peachy Skin)

SINGAPORE – Coming into the new year seemed to have left some of us feeling unaccomplished in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown many into a haze, giving us an excuse to put off starting a new endeavour or making any big life changes.

However, Peachy Skin Bar’s founder Crystal Lee took an unorthodox approach during the pandemic and started her beauty brand, getting married, and top it off, renovating a new home. Yahoo Lifestyle SEA speaks with the young entrepreneur to know more about her launch and managing her brand during the pandemic, changes in her life during turbulent times, and what else in the pipeline for the businesswoman.

“I did not want to look back and wonder all the ‘could have, should have, would have’ in my life if I had not pursued my dream. After some personal struggles, I realised that we only get to live one life, and that fear kills more dreams than failure ever will.”

Turning her love for skincare into a business opportunity, Lee opens a bespoke membership skin bar, Peachy Skin Bar, at the end of 2019, just as the world braces itself for the unprecedented pandemic. Going into her business, Lee was armed only with her experience of growing up in a humble home beauty salon run by her mother.

However, she and her business partner bring to the table something Singaporeans desperately need in the beauty parlour industry: no more hard selling and unsavoury beauty parlour practices. “We believe it’s time to address these issues and create a skincare brand that meets modern consumers needs,” Lee shared.

Founder Crystal Lee. (PHOTO: Peachy Skin)
Founder Crystal Lee. (PHOTO: Peachy Skin)

It is common to see beauty parlours offering low trial prices to lure in customers before engaging in hard selling before, during, and after a treatment. They are major pain points for local consumers, and it is further backed by the numerous complaint cases filed with the Consumer Association of Singapore (CASE).

Lee stressed: “Our brand is founded on two principles: one, no hard-selling; and two, no judgement. We aim to build an all-inclusive, safe, and judgement-free community for skincare lovers to enjoy their well-deserved TLC.”

The former executive has since transformed Peachy into a thriving beauty haven through sheer grit and passion. While businesses suffer in the bleak economic situation due to the pandemic, the entrepreneur has grown her business by more than 50% since June 2020. She is also gearing up to open a second outlet.

The success did not come without hours of hard work. The beauty industry was hit by fear of COVID-19 transmission even before circuit breaker, with customers postponing their beauty treatments and shunning beauty parlours islandwide. As a start-up without a stable customer base, Peachy felt the impact earlier than other established brands as sales came tumbling down. Despite the uphill challenges, Lee’s team started reworking on how the beauty parlour operates during the circuit breaker, where non-essential businesses have to pull down the shutter. They started by gearing up the company for when Phase 2 starts.

“We reworked our website and got our online appointment booking system up and running, brainstormed for new ideas in anticipation for reopening, reinforce our brand presence through continuous social media engagement, and constantly kept in touch with our employees to make sure all are safe and well,” Lee shared.

Lee attributes her success to her firm belief in pampering every customer and adapting to the specific skincare needs of the COVID-19 era, such as the issue of ‘maskne’, and keeping the team’s morale high. The businesswoman celebrates her employees’ birthday remotely and even sends them surprise birthday pizzas during the circuit breaker.

Beginning the year with grand ambitions of cementing Peachy Skin Bar as the go-to beauty parlour in Singapore, Lee soon finds herself worried over two matters: if her wedding can proceed as planned, along with renovation issues for her new home due to COVID-19 restrictions. Shortage of manpower during the pandemic, annoyed neighbours, working from home in the day and administrative slowdowns were just some of the unexpected challenges the newlywed faced.

“We booked the wedding venue and locked in our wedding date in September 2020 a year before the event. We were fortunate that everything unfolded beautifully eventually. The rules started allowing bigger groups to gather, and when it was our turn, we could host a wedding ceremony with up to 50 guests,” Lee said.

A month after her wedding, Lee and her husband Jeremy spent their honeymoon period battling various renovation issues for their marital home. “We took everything in our stride with good humour, and this has shown me the power of unity and love,” Lee let on. The challenges after that became an obstacle that the newlywed overcame together, thus reaffirming the couple’s bond.

With COVID-19 restrictions easing, Lee is all ready to launch Peachy Skin Bar’s second outlet at Seletar Mall this month. “We are also in discussion to launch Peachy’s skincare retail products,” she let on. This came after being in the business for more than a year, with the team being confident in providing what their customers need, along with calls for aftercare kits from their regulars.

When asked if she could drop some skincare tips for Yahoo Lifestyle’s readers, Lee shared, “Listen to your skin and have a consistent skincare routine. Timely interventions are more important than sticking to the usuals.” Putting things into perspective, the skincare expert said that it makes “little sense to choose the most expensive mask to pamper your skin once a month but skipping all the daily skincare routine”.

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