All posts filed under: Interviews

TBG Interview: Douglas Gan, co-founder and CEO, Vanitee

When you just want to look good for the upcoming wedding party/ Tinder date/ circuit training gym session with the cute instructor, there is nothing more disappointing than calling up a popular beauty salon; only to be told that there are no available slots that fit your packed schedule. Serial start-up entrepreneur Douglas Gan, 34, wants to change that. He launched the Vanitee app in 2015, so that you can conveniently tap on a base of quality, home-based salons – as well as established ones in malls – for pampering sessions that fit your calendar. Vanitee’s backers and investors include the regional beauty distributor Luxasia Group; international gaming platform Garena; as well as the F&B chain Thai Express; so it seems to be here to stay. Vanitee recently updated the look of its app with a streamlined design and search-friendly options so if you are looking for beauty services for everything from mermaid shell nails and glow-in-the-dark hair, a red wine massage or just a regular pedi, it has you covered. There are currently more …

TBG Interview: Suzanne Santos, Aesop co-founder and general manager

FEW places in a mall or shopping street make you feel like you’re in an oasis of calm, like an Aesop store. The warm and soothing essential oils that fill the air, interiors carefully designed by world-class architects (like the stylish Aesop Midtown store in Tokyo by Torafu Architects, pictured above), the unpretentious brown pharmacy bottles with monochromatic labels, to the refreshing licorice tea served, take shoppers away from the harried rhythms of the city. Each store is different but still unified in theme – an authenticity. And Suzanne Santos has a hand to play in every little detail of the the Aesop brand. The general manager and brand advocate has been with the label for more than two decades. Right from its inception, through to its recent full acquisition by Brazilian cosmetics manufacturer Natura Cosmeticos. Today, Aesop marks its 30th Anniversary in the business. It operates 177 stores, and another 84 department counters, across 20 countries. Suzanne shares with The Beauty Gazette on how Aesop stays true in a busy marketplace. It has been 30 years since …

TBG Interview: Francois Arpels, co-founder, Brands & Beyond

The Singapore-based skincare label which is set on global domination, Skin Inc, has a new member on its advisory board: Francois Arpels. Of Van Cleef & Arpels fame (his family used to own the luxury business, and he started his career there), he now runs a private-equity fund focused on investments in lifestyle and luxury brands. The luxury retail mogul shares his industry insights with The Beauty Gazette.   What are you currently focusing your energies on?  I moved to New Delhi 18 months ago, following more than a decade of close dealings with India, to set up Brands & Beyond (formerly IndEU Capital). It is a private equity fund focused on investing in independent and non-ethnic made-in-India lifestyle and luxury brands that my partners and I plan on rolling out of India. Our business model is closer to that of a strategic operator; we plan on actively contributing value in the strategy of our portfolio companies than that of a typical financial operator.   How do you intend to contribute to Skin Inc’s advisory board?  I’ve …

TBG Interview: Marc Chaya, CEO and co-founder, Francis Kurkdjian

The celebrated perfumer Francis Kurkdjian is one of the biggest names in the rarefied world of French noses. Kurkdjian’s claim to fame was Jean Paul Gaultier’s Le Male, which he concocted at the age of 26. The award-winning perfumer went on to create many other distinctive juices with his signature juicy, sexy, yet fresh and delicately feminine accords. The Beauty Gazette loves loves loves Guerlain Rose Barbare (2005), Carven Le Parfum (2013), Elie Saab Le Parfum (2011), and My Burberry (2014). In 2009, Kurkdjian launched his eponymous perfume house with businessman Marc Chaya. To kickstart 2017, Kurkdjian adds Aqua Celestia to his signature Aqua Universalis (2009) and Aqua Vitae (2013) line-up. The juice is described as having “a fresh, colorful and generous top note accord that resonates with the sunny radiance of mimosa blossoms from Provence and a celestial whisper of musk”. The Beauty Gazette finds out more about the essence of Maison Francis Kurkdjian from the brand’s CEO and co-founder, Marc Chaya.   How did you first meet Francis Kurkdjian? I met Francis some 10 years …

Actor Yusuke Fukichi’s style pointers

Before Nicola Formichetti was styling Lady Gaga for her hit music videos and directing Diesel’s fashion campaigns, he discovered Yusuke Fukuchi. “I was a literature undergrad who wanted to be a model. For my first gig, Nicola styled me in an abandoned love hotel in Kabukicho, Tokyo,” says the Japanese actor-model, now 32. The editorial spread was for the British magazine Another Man, and it had the moody, sexy patina of a Wong Kar Wai film. That shoot was the beginning of Fukuchi’s love affair with the camera. Today, he has starred in at least eight dramas (in Singapore, Japan, Taiwan), and seven films (Japan, China), with another one coming up in 2017. Fukuchi’s acting career was an indirect result of his three-year modelling stint in London where he was based in his early 20s. There, he had easy access to the classic stage plays around town. And the influence of the theatre seeped into his persona at work. “Every photographer I worked with told me how the image they captured of me reminds them …

TBG Interview: Sabrina Tan, founder, Skin Inc

In September, Skin Inc launched its new concept store at Scotts Square in Singapore to cater to women who need flash facials for their jam-packed days, and a relaxing pampering session on their days-off. The store also carries a full range of the brand’s products, from its signature serums to the best-selling masks, and nifty beauty devices. Skin Inc is currently available in 100 cities in Asia, Europe and USA (including Sephora) and online retail channels (Sephora, BeautyBay, Zalora). Next year, the Chinese market is on its cards. Skin Inc’s founder Sabrina Tan, shares why the new concept store is absolutely necessary for the brand’s expansion, and other insights on the brand; with The Beauty Gazette.   Why did you decide to open the new Facial In A Flash Skin Bar? We live in a fast-paced era, where we’re all busy, have little time for almost everything; and when it comes to taking care of ourselves, we literally have no time. But, we want it all. So, I decided to solve this issue that many face with a …

TBG Interview: Alwyn Chong, owner, escentials

When escentials first threw open its doors in 2001 at the Raffles Hotel shopping arcade, it changed Singapore’s beauty retail scene forever. The multi-label beauty store brought in one-of-a-kind cosmetic brands that only the discerning, well-travelled, cult beauty junkies recognised. Today, escentials is still the Singapore exclusive retailer of Le Labo, Maison Francis Kurkdjian, Verso, Lipstick Queen, Diptyque, and Creed. It would not be an understatement to call Chong a tastemaker of the local beauty retail scene. Over the years, escentials has also introduced many other beautifully understated brands to the Singapore market: Eve Lom, Serge Lutens, Byredo, Annick Goutal, By Terry, Memo Paris, Strivectin and Perricone MD. And after all, escentials is part of Luxasia, which distributes more than a hundred cosmetic brands – like Calvin Klein and Bvlgari – across markets such as China, India and Myanmar. Luxasia was founded by Chong’s father Patrick in the mid 1980s. Chong is managing director of Luxasia; and he runs the business in China, while overseeing the Indonesia, Thailand and Philippines markets. He is also co-founder …

TBG Interview: Marshall Lin, hairstylist, Frederic Fekkai

Marshall Lin’s story is the kind of story that makes you believe dreams do come true in the Big Apple. Like so many others, he moved to NYC from Hong Kong with his family when he was 14. At 15, he found himself apprenticing in a salon. He lied that he was 16 – afterall, age is just a number to be manipulated – just so that he would seem old enough. “I was young, wild, active, creative; I love to meet girls. All the right elements to be a good hairstylist,” he says. And meet girls he did. Today, Lin has a long waiting list; and has groomed and styled A-listers such as Kate Bosworth, Olivia Palmero, Christina Aguilera and Coco Rocha. With more than two decades of experience backstage and on editorial shoots, Lin is now known for his signature effortless #wokeuplikethis #coolgirl cuts. Lin talks all things hair with The Beauty Gazette.   What, in your opinion, does a good hairstyle look like?  A good haircut should show off and frame your bone structure, this …

TBG Interview: Kate Forbes, head of R&D, Aesop

In town for the launch of Aesop’s new Lucent Facial Concentrate (more details below), Dr Kate Forbes has been instrumental in the Australian brand’s  formulas for the last 15 years. She tells The Beauty Gazette why and how Aesop products can be blended together for a customised solution for the skin. “Our approach to the skincare routine is simple: everyone is different. It all depends on the environment they live and work in, their skin type, the skin-feel they like after the application of the products, their stress levels. All these factors affect how the skin looks. So we talk to our customers to offer a prescribed solution for their needs, mixing and matching the options in the different ranges. There is a palette of Aesop ingredients that we use quite frequently. Such as an aloe vera base for gel serums, and creams because it is so soothing; chamomile extract to calm; as well as the antioxidants like green tea extract and Vitamin C. So certain products work well when blended together.” Here are some “formulas” …

TBG Interview: Pernilla Rönnberg, Founder of Estelle & Thild

Launched in 2007, Swedish skincare label  Estelle & Thild is known for its Ecocert-certified organic and potent formulas. It is available in more than 1,300 stores worldwide. In Singapore, it is stocked in Sephora stores. Making the transition to organic or “cleaner” beauty products may be tricky. But Estelle & Thild’s lightweight and effective formulas make it easier. As Earth Day approaches, brand founder and CEO Pernilla Rönnberg shares – in an exclusive e-mail interview with The Beauty Gazette – why she believes in sustainable and “clean” beauty. Do you remember the moment you decided that the market needs more organic skincare labels?  The idea behind the brand came to me when my children were newborns. I was in a stage of my life where I wanted to do something else, something that was meaningful. As a former CEO of a conventional skin care brand, I’ve seen the amount of chemicals that go into producing conventional beauty products, and grew painfully aware of how these affect our bodies and the environment around us. I wanted …