KEEPING IT REAL

Lily Kew

DIRECTOR

KEW ORGANICS

(Pulsar Category Winner 2018)

"Failure isn’t an option. You mustn’t think that you have something to fall back on. You look ahead, because there is no other way to go.”

Kew Organics was conceived in 2014, becoming the first full-fledged organic facial boutique in Singapore and around the region to focus on bespoke organic facials that combine organic skincare products with non-invasive aesthetic beauty equipment so that its clients can achieve young-looking skin naturally without having to go under the knife.

Kew Organics launched its second outlet in 2016 and also developed water-based, organic and treatment-based formulations, and launched its own skincare products in the same year. Its comprehensive range of 28 efficacy-driven products are handmade in small batches to ensure freshness and quality, using Fairtrade-certified organic ingredients that are 100% vegan, natural and plant derived. The products, free from artificial fragrances, petroleum by-products and parabens, are readily absorbed by the skin and are suitable for the all climates. In addition, to preserve the freshness of the organic active ingredients, the products are luxuriously packaged in Miron Violet Glass which activates and energises the molecules of the contents in the glass 24/7.

In 2017, Kew Organics set up its distribution and service centre in Hong Kong, and launched Singapore’s first-ever peel bar concept, Sugar K Organic Peel Bar, featuring a blend of glycolic acids derived from sugar cane and organic botanicals and fruit extracts that provides a gentle yet potent exfoliating action on the skin. With no risk of chemical burns or irritation or downtime, clear, healthy, makeup-free skin can be achieved in 20 minutes.

In 2018, Sugar K also launched its first franchise concept organic peel bar cum retail store in Singapore.

It is hard to believe one’s ears when Lily Kew reveals her age. At 47, the mother of one is in great shape; her skin is flawless and she wears no makeup.

The impeccable condition of her skin is all the more astonishing when she shows you photos of how she looked before she entered the beauty industry. But Lily’s transformation today is more than just skin deep. Entrepreneurial struggles with her then business partner as well as a failed marriage were just some of the things that she endured before she emerged anew and became the founder and director of her own facial bars and line of products, Kew Organics. Hers is a story not merely of success, but also perseverance and fortitude in the face of heart-rending adversity.

How did Kew Organics come about?

My interest in the beauty line began because of my acne problems in my earlier years; after years of uncountable visits to salons and dermatologists, and trying out uncountable skincare products, only to be still plagued with acne and scars, and having to laden my skin with thick makeup to cover up the flaws, I put my foot down at 29 years old and went to learn how to cure my skin. I attended beauty school, my skin got transformed, and I felt this invisible stress and load lifted off me.

My self-confidence and self-worth escalated tremendously. I felt so joyful and confident, it gave me a reason to want to help others. I started my first business, Glow, with my sister by renting a 500-square-feet premise in 2004 and offered facials and gave discounts or free facials to people who could not afford them. But we saw differences in our vision for the company. In the end, I decided to let go of my shares in 2012 and subsequently founded Kew Organics 2 years later.

How is your facial boutique different from others?

We focus solely on organic treatments. At first, we used imported organic skincare products, but it was frustrating because we weren’t seeing the results in our customers as fast as we wanted because the products were too mild and rich for our climate. So I started researching and developed water-based, organic and treatment-based formulations, and launched our own products in 2016. We promise our customers that their skin will become so clear and healthy they can ditch their makeup for good. To stay true to our promise, all our employees, including myself, are makeup-free. It’s not a promise everyone can make.

What drives you?

Failure isn’t an option. If you are serious about making a business succeed, you must not think that you always have something else to fall back on. You only look straight ahead because there is no other option. Also, business is about the team and their family whose livelihoods depend on you. With these forces pushing you, you will definitely succeed.

What has been most satisfactory about the business?

Customers volunteer to provide us testimonials and to write reviews for us — knowing they can choose not to put on makeup for good after embarking on their clean beauty journey with us. In addition, knowing that you can impact people’s lives and break their bondage feels amazing. One living example is my franchisee — not only did we help her to cure her skin problems, as a business owner now, she has more time to be with her family compared to the time when she was in the corporate world.

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AWARD JUDGE

BG (NS) Chan Wing Kai

Director

Seed Global Investment

BG (NS) Chan Wing Kai spent 29 years in the Singapore Armed Forces as a military officer. He rose up to the Army’s top leadership and held numerous key appointments.

The years in the Armed Forces provided him a strong foundation in leadership, human capital management, operational planning, training development and critical diplomatic skills.

He retired from active military service in 2016 and is currently a Director with SEED Global Investment, a real estate investment firm. He oversees the company’s portfolio and business development in the US and UK. He holds a MSc in Applied Finance from the Singapore Management University, and is no stranger to corporate finance, portfolio management, equities, bonds and derivatives.

AWARD JUDGE

TIN PEI LING

Member of Parliament
CEO

Business China

Ms Tin Pei Ling is the Chief Executive Officer of Business China, a non-profit organisation that harnesses the support of the public sector & private enterprises to strengthen the ties between Singapore and China. Prior to joining Business China, Pei Ling was the Group Director of Corporate Strategy for Jing King Group.

Pei Ling is an elected Member of Parliament in Singapore since 2011 and currently serves on the Public Accounts Committee. She also serves on the Government Parliamentary Committee for Communications & Information (from 2018, Dy Chairperson) and Health (2011 – present) and previously for Law/Home Affairs (2011-2015) and Social & Family Development (2015 – 2018, Dy Chairperson).

AWARD JUDGE

RYAN CHIOH

Managing Director

Faseastflora.com

Mr Ryan Chioh joined FEF.com in 1998 as Executive Director of Far East Flora Holdings Pte Ltd.

Always a firm advocator for technology, Ryan identified the direction for e-commerce development and saw a business opportunity to offer FEF.com’s extensive range of flowers and gifts online in 2001. Ryan blended his IT savviness and prudent business sense to steer the company’s website to become the leading portal for flowers and gifts. Ryan also brought the company to another level by spearheading the development of a CRM and ERP business solution, integrating the front-end and back-end operations so that there would be easier identification of customer base.

AWARD JUDGE

NEO SING HWEE

Asia Pacific, Asean and Singapore Internal Audit Leader, Risk Advisory Services

Ernst & Young

Mr Neo Sing Hwee sits in the EY Asean Partner Governance Council and leads the Advisory (Risk) Internal Audit Practice in Ernst & Young Asia Pacific, Asean and Singapore.

He has more than 20 years of experience in providing risk management, performance improvement, internal controls and business advisory services to clients in various industries, including organisations in the government and public sector such as ministries and statutory boards. He provides advice to Boards and Management on leading practices, insights as well as issues relating to corporate governance, risk management and internal controls.

AWARD JUDGE

DR LIM WEE KIAK, PBM

Member of Parliament
CEO

Eagle Eye Centre

Dr Lim Wee Kiak, is an elected Member of Parliament for Sembawang GRC since 2015 and serves as chairman of Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) for Ministry of Community, Culture and Youth. An Ophthalmologist, Dr Lim is currently the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Eagle Eye Centre.

Dr Lim joined the Singapore Armed Forces as a medical officer in 1994 and completed subspecialty training in Ophthalmology in 1998, with a Master’s degree in Medicine and two post-graduate specialist qualifications in Ophthalmology. During his service in SAF, he led numerous humanitarian missions to neighbouring countries. He joined Singapore National Eye Centre and was awarded the MOH HMDP fellowship in 2003, doing one year of clinical and research Fellowship at the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health.

Dr Lim had been an active grassroots leader since 1998 before joining politics in 2006. For his active community involvement, he was awarded the Young Executive of the Year in 2000 and Public Service Medal (PBM) in 2003.

AWARD JUDGE

Chew Mok Lee

Assistant Chief Executive
ICM & Digitalisation
Enterprise Services & New Industries

Enterprise Singapore

Ms Chew Mok Lee is the Assistant Chief Executive in charge of ICM & Digitalisation, Enterprise Services & New Industries in Enterprise Singapore, a government agency spearheading enterprise and industry development, reporting to the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Singapore. Enterprise Singapore is also the national Standards body in Singapore.

Prior to Enterprise Singapore, Mok Lee was with National Productivity Board (NPB), PSB and SPRING Singapore. She graduated from National University of Singapore, majoring in Economics and Statistics. She has a double Masters and is well versed in the area of enterprise promotion, industry development and partnership building, having been involved in various aspects of capability development, support for local enterprises, enabling a viable enterprise eco-system and entrepreneurship for 29 years. She also served as Secretariat to the Action Community for Entrepreneurship and was responsible for working with the Minister in Charge of Entrepreneurship and private sector members to foster entrepreneurship and support start-ups in Singapore.

AWARD JUDGE

CHIA KIM HUAT

Regional Head
Corporate and Transactional Practice

Rajah & Tann Singapore

Mr Chia Kim Huat has extensive experience in capital market, public and private mergers and acquisitions, cross-border joint ventures and private equity investments, both in Singapore and the region. He travels regularly in the Asia-Pacific region advising clients on a wide range of matters, including direct investments and infrastructure projects in China, major acquisitions in Korea, joint ventures in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan and cross-border mergers and acquisitions transactions. Kim Huat also advises foreign investors on their investments in Singapore, including listings on the Singapore Exchange, privatisations, secondary and dual listings.

He has been recognised as a leading lawyer in his field by International Financial Law Review 1000, Chambers Global “Leaders in their Field”, Asia Pacific Legal 500, “Eminent Practitioner” in Chambers Asia Pacific, Who’s Who Legal: Corporate – Merger & Acquisition/Capital Markets – Debt and Equity and Merger & Acquisition, ‘Leading Lawyer’ in Asialaw Profiles and Best Lawyers, 2017 Edition.

AWARD JUDGE

TAN WEE BENG

Deputy Chief Executive (Operations)
SkillsFuture Singapore

Wee Beng is the Deputy Chief Executive (Operations) of SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG). He leads the Business Technology Group (Operations Planning Division, Capability Development Division, Operations & Support Division, Security & Infrastructure Division), the Training, Manpower & Infrastructure Group (Manpower & Infrastructure Planning Division, Office of Lifelong Learning, and Institute of Adult Learning which comprises Learning and Professional Development Division, Research and Innovation Division, Learning Services and Support Division ) as well as the Business Services Group (Shared Services Management, Integrated Business Services Division &, Corporate Services Division).

Prior to joining SSG, Wee Beng was an officer with the Singapore Armed Forces, leading both large and small teams. His last appointment was Chief-of-Staff, Republic of Singapore Navy, overseeing a range of staff departments and ground commands. Other key appointments held were Head Naval Operations, Commander of Maritime Security Task Force and Commander, Naval Diving Unit. Wee Beng holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in Physics from Oxford University, UK, and a Master of Science in Management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA.