She went on to say that many of us are unaware that scent plays a big part in our lives, as 75 per cent of our emotions are generated everyday due to scent and this is vital in our fast-paced society.
“When we face high levels of stress, scents can be the fastest & easiest way to relieve your stress but current perfumes are giving women headaches because of the type of alcohol and ingredients used,” she noted.
Her brand’s marketing hashtag #Yourmoodmatters is particularly relevant as her products are designed to capture the healing essence of nature, making perfumes a shortcut to alter users’ emotional and physiological states.
“A perfect mood-boosting perfume is the sum of its ingredients. Hence, we only work with manufacturers who are able to source high-quality ingredients required for our fragrances. We only use the best ingredients that are essential to a formula’s performance,” she added.
Lian studied Chemistry back in her university days, and her fragrances are backed by a lot of research and consumer studies.
She interviewed over 300 respondents through 1-hour video calls to gauge common pain points in the fragrance industry and it formed the basis for her brand.
“We are proud of the fragrances we have created and it’s important to us that you love them too. All our fragrances are developed from research into the connection between cognitive function and the olfactory system to supplement your emotional needs,” she stated.
As far as Lian is concerned, fragrances should improve one’s wellbeing, and not harm it.
“We hold the safety of our ingredients to IFRA standards through the 50th Amendment and ASEAN Cosmetic Directive. Our formulas do not, and never will, contain ingredients such as methanol, parabens, formaldehyde or animal derived musk,” she stressed.
Lian went on to explain that the company sources its ingredients from ethical producers around the globe, with sustainable and energy harvesting processes.
“We are also proud to be a true Singaporean brand. Our production and formulation are done locally in Singapore, which reduces air miles, fuel consumption, and emissions,” she said.
She also believes in empowering her users, as her selection of perfumes are not constrained by the common practice of gender labelling of feminine and masculine fragrances.
“No one should not be judged by the fragrance worn, so we remove all gender labelling on fragrance and empower you to make your own choice of scent,” she elaborated.
It’s an art form
Lian’s passion in perfumery began back in her university days, and for her it was like a blank canvas for her to combine chemistry and her storytelling flair.
“Instead of watercolours that artists usually use, we are dealing with different chemical compounds, and different oils that are being mixed together to create different scents, and all of it is harmonised together to become an art form,” she added.
She went on to explain that consumers are looking for sustainability, more gender neutral fragrances, and scents that are more functional in their purposes.
This is why the company focuses on functional fragrances that are suited to the humid climate in Singapore, yet unique enough to be different from the rest in this saturated market.
Scent Journer was among five startups that underwent the National University of Singapore (NUS Venture Building) programme in Singapore, it soon secured the start-up founder grant to build up the program, and is now a portfolio company for NUS.
“I was in the banking sector for a short time, and I quickly realised that it was not my thing, and this was at the height of the pandemic, and the government was putting out a lot of initiatives for entrepreneurs. I decided to take the plunge,” she added.
She quit her corporate job in banking and dived right into the programme. Her goal for Scent Journer is to make the company a global perfume house.
“It was never about having a side hustle, I’m someone that goes all in. I want to make this brand a well-known entity beyond Singapore’s borders. We definitely want to get into markets like Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Australia, United States and even in the UK” she stated.
Brick and mortar is key
So far, the brand has four physical locations in Singapore, and is currently in discussions with another major retailer in Singapore, and Lian hopes to have an official announcement next month.
Lian believes that the brick and mortar approach for her brand is extremely important as customers need to smell the fragrances, touch and feel the product and soak up the ambience as well.
“There are interesting trends in Singapore, we have distributors bringing in niche perfume brands that can cost up to $700 SGD a bottle, and it gets snapped up quickly. There’s a market for these products here,” she noted.
Her e-commerce strategy is also important, but the costs of advertising on social media platforms can be quite expensive in the long run. That’s why she feels the physical locations still have a very important role to play in the overall scheme of things.
“Live streaming could be an option for the brand in the future, but right now we are mainly focused on building the brand image and awareness as we are still very young,” she said.
Interestingly, Lian revealed that the company is bringing out a new product in October, and it will be a totally new ingredient from the lab in a first-to-market launch.
“We are very excited about the launch. We can’t reveal much yet, but at Scent Journer, you can be assured that you can expect things that are different from the rest,” she concluded.
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