Many a natural organic beauty business has been launched on the back of personal passion and need. Our students and graduates find gaps in the market when they are searching for a specific niche of natural organic skincare to suit their own skin conditions.
However, Stella Chiang’s story to launch was even more personally driven and born out of extreme circumstances when she was recovering from well over a decade of ill health. Stella shows us that it’s possible to be an entrepreneur against life’s odds. Awareness of her own health made Stella realise that many of us miss the benefits that nature has to provide, and so she set about creating Awareness Organics launching with a single, truly hero product.
Hi Stella, tell us a bit about yourself and your background
I am the founder of Awareness Organics and generally I’d describe myself as ‘a very ordinary girl’. However, I’ve had some profound, life-changing experiences which made me decide to create my own skincare brand. I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematous at 13 years old and I’ve fought the disease for over 16 years.
I tried most of the medications available to cure my disease, but they didn’t work. In 2015, my illness peaked with severe oedema preventing me from walking and breathing properly. I was desperate and at that time I thought I would die soon. Fortunately, I had started to try homeopathy a few months before I had those severe symptoms.
My homeopath found a remedy for me in time, and, after a week, my oedema disappeared and my body slowly recovered. While I was convalescing, I started to review my lifestyle, diet and skincare routines, and I began to apply homeopathic theories to my daily life. I looked for organic skin care products on the market, but very often, they contained synthetic ingredients.
So, I decided to do it on my own and began researching DIY natural skincare online, and that’s how I found Formula Botanica. It was a turning point in my life and the start of my new journey.
Do tell us about more about your business.
Awareness Organics is based in Macau, which is a very small city next to Hong Kong. We launched our first product in May 2018. Awareness specialises in premium anti-ageing skincare combining the best from nature and science to create a range of performance products that deliver outstanding results.
Awareness is a vegan brand and we are also concerned about the environment; from our packaging to our shipping cartons, we choose materials carefully in order to minimise our environmental impact. I do almost everything myself for my business, from the website to manufacturing, but I am planning to outsource my product production to a manufacturer so that I can put more energy into marketing and product development.
Where did you find the inspiration for your brand name and range?
Awareness is a noun that we always use but often we don’t think about the deep meaning behind it. Awareness isn’t something you can easily sense. Awareness is a consciousness in your mind, and only you can feel it.
When I decided to create my brand, an iceberg picture which refers to Sigmund Freud’s theory (a psychology theory) flashed in my mind. I use this metaphor to refer to our inner nature. Around 30% of an iceberg floats on water, and to my mind represents the things we already know about ourselves. However, 70% remains under water, and similarly, we all have a large undiscovered part of ourselves.
This metaphor is represented in our logo as well. In Awareness, we aim to discover nature’s secrets and harness their power to create the best skincare for you.
What type of skincare products do sell and which is your favourite?
At the moment, we are selling only our Rejuvenating Radiant Serum, which is an anti-ageing oil-style serum with high level of linoleic acid to help our skin to radiate and glow. There is no doubt that it is my favourite serum and I use it everyday whether it’s summer or winter. I am planning to launch another product by the end of 2018.
Which Formula Botanica courses did you take and how did they help you in business?
I completed the Diploma in Organic Skincare Formulation, and am currently finishing the Advanced Diploma in Organic Skincare Science.
I have also enrolled in the Diploma in Organic Haircare Formulation, as I am planning to create my haircare range in the future. I knew nothing about making skincare products before I took Formula Botanica’s courses. Before taking these courses, I thought the goal of creating a skincare range would be beyond my means financially too. I never thought that I could formulate it myself.
Formula Botanica taught me not only the theories of skin science, but also formulating skills, and explained everything in detail from the type of the equipment we need in the laboratory to how to launch our product in the market. Their step-by-step guidelines are a priceless foundation for anyone wishing to create their own skincare brand.
What really inspired you start your own business?
I am a free spirit. I like adventures, challenges and pursuing goals. I think my personality made me choose a different road from others. Also, my personal experiences came into play; I was always keen to share healthy-living tips with people and show them a way to connect with nature.
What was the hardest thing about launching your skincare range?
Marketing and social media management are the hardest aspects for me in my business as all those things are new to me, and I am learning every day how to improve my skills.
What advice would you give aspiring skincare entrepreneurs?
In my experience, I would say that you need to be prepared to work hard every day as each small step makes a difference to your business. Starting a business may not be easy, but keeping a business growing is harder than you think. There is no substitute for the hard work and the countless amounts of energy required to put in, but stay focused and dedicated as those qualities will lead you to success.
Thank you Stella for sharing your inspiration and experiences in creating your brand. If you’d like to follow Awareness Organics online, head over to:
Awareness Organic website
Awareness Organics on Facebook
Awareness Organics on Instagram
If you would like to follow Stella’s path, take our free, organic skincare formulation sample class and you’ll be on the road to starting the organic skincare business of your dreams.
Find out more about the Diploma in Organic Skincare Formulation and the Advanced Diploma in Organic Cosmetic Science Stella opted for or browse one of our many other organic skincare formulation courses.
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Kelly is Formula Botanica’s Student experience coordinator. She runs our very busy online classroom as well as our big, free networking group: the Skincare Entrepreneur Mastermind. Read more about the Formula Botanica Team.