In this episode, you will hear the amazing story of one Formula Botanica graduate who knew what she wanted to do, but didn’t know exactly how to get there. We hear how she went from cafe owner to mother to formulator to teacher to contract manufacturer in less than 10 years and created an empire by turning problems into solutions and roadblocks into opportunities.
Most countries around the world allow you to manufacture your own skincare brand at home, but that isn’t the case in Indonesia. So what would you do if you were formulating in a small research lab and the authorities suddenly turned up, ordered you to destroy all of your ingredients and equipment and then shut you down?
Lorraine talks to Dewi Kauw, Formula Botanica graduate and founder of Skin Dewi, an award-winning, Indonesian-based skincare and bodycare brand that offers products made from natural and organic ingredients. What began as a mother’s quest to alleviate her baby’s skin issues has grown into a formulation and manufacturing empire with a mission to educate on lifestyle and wellness while helping its audience and customers care for a myriad of skin issues.
Dewi explains the trials and tribulations of not only launching a plant-based organic skincare line in Indonesia, but also the challenges she faced on a manufacturing front. She dared to dream of building her own manufacturing facility and with determination and creativity she made it happen. Tune in for an enlightening interview full of juicy entrepreneurial tidbits and wise advice on how passion and perseverance can move beauty mountains.
In this episode with Dewi Kauw, you will hear:
- After graduating from university in Singapore and spending a few years in the USA, Dewi returned to Indonesia knowing she wanted to run her own business but didn’t know exactly what. It wasn’t until she found her “Why” that everything started to fall into place.
- How synchronicity, and the desire to find a natural plant-based solutions for her baby daughter’s eczema, took her to Germany to research natural products and then to searching online for a school to teach her what she needed to know; which is when she stumbled upon Formula Botanica’s public Facebook Group and signed up as a student.
- How her skincare education taught her much more than formulation, to include how lifestyle, diet, physical and mental health can affect the skin. Transferring this valuable knowledge became her mission – to give back to those who needed it most by empowering and educating people.
- How the increased demand, spurred on by Covid and the lack of GMP-certified manufacturers in Indonesia, saw Dewi looking into building her own facility in order to scale.
- In 2023, after a number of hurdles and challenges, Dewi overcame all of them and opened her GMP-certified contract manufacturing facility – the first of its kind in Indonesia focused on natural and organic products.
- About her continued desire to grow her business, particularly developing not only a local Indonesian brand, but also a premium one that could be sold worldwide and compete on the world stage. She firmly believes that the Eurocentric perception of beauty is unrealistic and out-of-date.
Key takeouts include:
- Entrepreneurship takes many forms even in the skincare formulation sector. Being curious, learning and growing can take you places you may not have imagined. Opportunities abound.
- To be a successful entrepreneur you must have a meaning and higher purpose. There must be a mission behind your brand. For Dewi it was watching people with skin issues being transformed, seeing them burst with confidence. Changing lives is the driving force that keeps her going.
- Do not be dissuaded by those who are set in their ways or refuse to change with the times. Be singular in your determination. Know what you want to create and build. Be consistent. Be authentic. Everything else is just a distraction.
- Know your “Why”. Why do you want to do what you are planning to do? Be very clear about this. Write it down. In big letters. On a massive sheet of paper. You can always come back to your “Why” when you feel defeated or want to give up.
- Starting a business doesn’t require a pile of money. With $1500 Dewi found the knowledge she needed to get started on building her dream. Leap and the net will appear.
- Perceptions and attitudes about global beauty are changing. There are a number of formulators, beauty brands and beauty entrepreneurs that are striving to change the ingrained Eurocentric perception of the beauty industry.
Meet our guest – Dewi Kauw, founder of Skin Dewi
Introducing Dewi Kauw, Formula Botanica graduate and founder of award-winning beauty brand Skin Dewi. Skin Dewi products are made from natural and organic ingredients that are designed for high performance, yet gentle and safe to deliver results for even those customers with sensitive skin. In addition to running a successful and sought-after skincare brand, in 2023 Dewi opened her own 1,000+ m2 manufacturing facility making hers the first manufacturing facility in Indonesia that focuses on natural and organic formulations. Her facility boasts an in-house QC Lab, R&D Lab and a Microbiology Lab. Her one-stop-shop has the capacity to manage 50-80 other brands.
You can find more information on Dewi Kauw, her product line Skin Dewi and her contract manufacturing details here:
If you want to hear more about some of the topics we covered, please delve back into the podcast archives. Go and listen to:
Thank you for joining us for this episode of the Formula Botanica Green Beauty Conversations podcast. If you enjoyed listening, please share, subscribe and review this episode on iTunes, Spotify or Youtube so that more people can enjoy the show. Don’t forget to follow and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Episode 89 – Interview with beauty pioneer Sarah Brown of Pai Skincare who also runs her own manufacturing facility. This is one of Formula Botanica’s most popular episodes to date. Not to be missed.
Episode 91 – Interview with Sandra Velasquez of Nopalera who, just like Dewi, agrees the cosmetics industry is built upon archaic Eurocentric view of beauty and is driven to change that perception globally.
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Lorraine Dallmeier is a Biologist, Chartered Environmentalist and the CEO of Formula Botanica, the award-winning online organic cosmetic science school. Read more about Lorraine and the Formula Botanica Team.