- Dr TWL Dermaceuticals
The beauty industry in Asia is growing, and Singapore’s market is no exception. But with a deluge of new products being released every month, it can be difficult for smaller brands to shine.
These challenges haven’t stopped Singaporean dermatologist Dr Teo Wan Lin from delving head-first into the market.
The brand, Dr TWL Dermaceuticals, was launched in June by the specialist physician and her pharmaceutical engineer brother, Teo Zhi Liang.
Dr Teo, who is in her 30s, contributed to the brand by formulating each and every one of the nine products in the range.
The business of beauty
She says the idea to create her own skincare products first came up because she needed better solutions for patients in her clinic. But it didn’t take long for her to spot a demand for dermatologist-formulated skincare products in the mass market as well.
“Doctor-designed” products are already popular in malls and stores, but such products are often created by aesthetic physicians and not dermatologists, Dr Teo says
“People need to know that if there was one person to trust with their skin, it would be their dermatologist,” she tells Business Insider over email.
Dermatologist-formulated cosmeceuticals are nothing new of course, but they are rarely available to people who are not patients at a dermatology clinic.
By making the Dr TWL range available online, the specialist is hoping to extend the brand’s reach to people who do not necessarily wish to seek a doctor’s help for their skin problems.
A major difference between Dr TWL’s range and other skincare brands is its lack of retinol, an anti-aging ingredient which she says can cause skin irritation, a side-effect which she experienced first hand.
Instead, products in the Dr TWL range contain the oligopeptide molecule, which she describes as a “power molecule” that is dermatology’s “new secret weapon to anti-ageing”.
Social media turned out to be a great marketing tool for the brand, Dr Teo says, as it garnered “amazing quality of engagement” for the brand’s Instagram-based model-search campaign.
One can’t help but wonder if Dr Teo has too much on her plate. Apart from the skincare line, the former national fencer also runs her own practice at Mount Elizabeth Novena.
In person, she seems energetic and undaunted by the uncertainties of doing business in an oversaturated market..
“I am not a fearful or an anxious person in general. I love challenges, in fact,” she says.
She credits her background in competitive sport for giving her the courage to deal with obstacles head-on.
“(The) last thing a fencer should feel in the face of intense competition is fear or anxiety, because it sets you up for defeat,” she says.
When asked to identify the biggest challenge that comes with starting her own clinic, she says it is finding good staff and managing them.
Trust, competence and dedication are the attributes she looks for when hiring staff, but these can be hard to come by.
“I have a rule with regards to staff – that essentially they would be people I would choose to be friends with as well,” she says.
Passion, not money
As for the success she seeks? It has more to do with passion than money.
She says: “Success is an illusion. I think many people would consider topping their game, getting better financial results or more fame as indicators of success. (But) I define it as really realising your passions, to be able to do what you love everyday”.
To prevent stress for rearing its ugly head, Dr Teo sets aside ample time (usually on Sundays) for rest and leisure.
“When it’s your own business it’s easy to get engrossed and lose track of time. It’s important to work hard but it’s even more important to rest properly, both mentally physically, otherwise it’s easy to let work overtake you,” she says.