The story behind clean, vegan and sustainable skincare brand Founders Beauty is more emotional than most. Back in 2012, the brand’s creator Sonam Uttamchandani was diagnosed with Autoimmune Hepatitis, a life-threatening auto-immune condition. To reduce her symptoms, she needed to eliminate exposure to anything processed, both in terms of what she was eating and in her self-care routine, so she started cooking up products made from natural ingredients in her kitchen. First, in the Philipp
ippines, and then, in Singapore. After 10 years of formulating and developing products for her own use, she has turned it into a business: Founders Beauty. The brand officially launched its first product, the Creamy Clay Concentrate, this month. The product utilises a clean, vegan formula made with the finest, rarest Bentonite Glacial Clay from New Zealand, and all natural lavender, jojoba oil, almond oil, shea butter, cucumber and raspberry extracts. “I’m optimistic for 2023, but I think the last two years have been both interesting and incredible in terms of learning. It’s forced me to become agile in many ways. Being an entrepreneur and juggling family commitments has come with its own learnings,” Uttamchandani told Inside Retail. Apart from the Creamy Clay Concentrate, the brand also launched its At Home Spa Kit, which is already sold out. “We aim to be transparent through all that we do, through all the ingredients that we use, and the ideals that we value as a brand. We aim to educate our consumers and give them the opportunity to help them make better choices when it comes to their skincare,” she added. The brand aims to create lasting products that deliver results by staying true to the three Ps: namely, purity, potency and plant-based. “Our brand’s vision is to really empower one and all to better understand nature and its ability to heal. We want to be a holistic skincare brand, and our PlanWell product is geared towards helping our customers achieve a balance in their lives,” she noted. PlanWell is a journal that customers can purchase, with prompts to exercise and stay hydrated. “No matter what skincare you buy or what products you use on your skin, if your balance in your life is out of whack, like if you’re not sleeping well, or not hydrating, or not exercising enough, those products are not going to work,” she said. Life is a journey Reflecting on the evolution of Founders Beauty, Uttamchandani said it’s been an “incredible journey”. “It all started, unfortunately, not in the best circumstances, with my autoimmune condition, and I was suddenly told that I could no longer consume anything processed, or use anything processed for my skin,” she said. “That’s truly what started this journey. My doctor’s rule of thumb was, if you can eat it, you can use it on your skin.” Through trial and error she started to find formulations that worked for her, and discovered that she loved creating clean beauty products in the process. “Oftentimes when people see me go to the fridge, they’ll be like are you going to cook up something or make a product for your skin? The products had an immediate effect on me, and I think all of that has serendipitously led me to the creation of this brand,” she said. Future aspirations Uttamchandani’s short term goal is to build up the brand’s distribution channels, explore collaborations and pop-up stores and increase brand awareness in the marketplace. “Ten years from now, perhaps, we would want to be able to bring our consumers through the journey of cooking up their own products. Alongside this, we are trying to build up a platform as a go-to-resource centre for information on personalised skincare routines,” she said. She feels that the term “clean beauty” is something that is thrown around on a regular basis, and consumers need a space to guide them and navigate the marketplace in order to make better choices when it comes to skincare as a whole. “I think this is a main pain point. We want to make sure that all our consumers become ‘skin intellectuals’ of sorts, and are able to make informed decisions. Everybody’s skincare journey is different, and the way that they react to products are so different,” she noted. In terms of technological advancements, her next step for the brand would be to create more sustainable back-end processes so that the company can really enhance the qualities of nature-based products. “You know, shelf life is always a challenge. Especially, when it comes to all natural products. So, I think crafting products with newer preservatives that are more natural and plant-based are the kind of technology that we would like to integrate in the future,” she stated. The brand is focused on the Gen Z and millennials target market as these consumers are the most interested in sustainable products. While they may not be brand loyal, that is an opportunity for the brand to capitalise on. “One way we aim to retain our clientele is through creating educational content on our blog. We’re relaunching the website to give it a more seamless feel, and we are constantly adapting our reels and content on social media too,” she said.