When it comes to lipstick, a girl is spoilt for choice. There are so many lipstick brands to choose from — from established brands, to luxury brands, and even ‘underground’ brands, with fanatical followings and zero advertising. Whichever brand of lipstick you choose to have on your lips, there’s something undeniable about how lipstick can make a girl feel.
A new local brand that is making waves is INGA, a new cosmetics line founded by Marie Soh, of 27A Co, a make-up and image consultancy. INGA has just launched its debut range of lipsticks on www.ingacosmetics.com.
Marie is no stranger to the beauty business – she’s been doing makeup for brides, as well as editorial and commercial projects for 5 years, and specially crafted a lipstick brand for women to use in warm and humid weather.
Expertly formulated and screened for the best results through cruelty-free tests, the brand is built on the foundations of quality ingredients, lasting coverage, and day-long comfort.
LadyBoss spoke to the lady behind INGA, Marie Soh to find out what sets her line apart.
Q: Tell us more about INGA, and why its products are suited for warm and humid weather?
A: INGA came about when, as a make-up artist, I realised that I had difficulty finding lipsticks that were comfortable and long lasting. Not only that, I felt that the colours available were not 100% ideal for Asian skin tones. This problem grew into a business idea and INGA was created. INGA lipsticks are specially formulated to be long lasting even in humid conditions and its matte formula will not dry up lips.
Q: How long has INGA been around?
A: INGA was launched on the 1st of December 2016, however my team and I have been working on it for over a year.
Q: What were you doing before entrepreneurship?
A: I started out as a nurse, then I was a freelance makeup artist for a couple of years. In 2014, I started my own company, 27A, and now I have a team of artists working with me.
I realised that I had difficulty finding lipsticks that were comfortable and long lasting. Not only that, I felt that the colours available were not 100% ideal for Asian skin tones. This problem grew into a business idea.
Q: In terms of sales & marketing, how do you reach your customers, and what works?
A: I am fortunate enough to have friends who are publicists and influencers, so they do help to promote what I do. Many of my clients also go on to recommend their friends and colleagues to me. I think that as long as you have pride in your work and give your all every single time, customers will be happy and they will be your living “advertisement”.
Q: What is unique about your products?
A: My products embody all the years of experience I have had as a makeup artist. Being in this industry means I experience first-hand the idiosyncrasies of most brands in the market. I am happy to say that my products do “solve” the problems I used to face with other lipsticks – they flatter Asian skin, they are super comfortable to wear and THEY LAST!
Q: Where do you see the future of INGA?
A: I see INGA having a full makeup range eventually.
Q: Where can people buy your products?
A: INGA is available online at ingacosmetics.com
I had to make tough decisions about how I wanted my products to look, where they stood amongst all the big brands and how much they should cost.
Q: Tell us about your Number 1 business challenge?
A: As this is my first product line, I did struggle at the beginning with branding. I had to make tough decisions about how I wanted my products to look, where they stood amongst all the big brands and how much they should cost.
Q:What are three lessons that you’ve learned so far from entrepreneurship?
A: I learnt that…
(1) the quintessential foundation of any business is believing in your own product; and
(2) branding really makes or breaks the product line
(3) taking risks is all part of the ‘fun’
A little bit of makeup does go a long way.
Q: As an entrepreneur, what motivates you personally?
A: I feel a great sense of satisfaction when customers leave me positive feedback about how my products have made dolling-up easier for them or how much they love and appreciate my products.
Q: What would be your advice for aspiring women entrepreneurs?
A: Research, risk and resilience.
Q: What make up advice would you give to busy women?
A: A little bit of makeup does go a long way. I would say that it doesn’t take a lot of makeup to look presentable, and as cliche as this sounds, practice makes perfect.
Q: What recommendations do you have to keep skin looking good?
A: It is very important that you find a good skin care routine that is suitable for your own skin type. Trial and error on your own to find what is suitable because “what everyone says” may not work for your skin.