Fancl, the Japanese skincare brand, famous for its preservative-free products, is back in Singapore. It opened a counter on the ground floor of Isetan Scotts in Orchard Road last Friday, nestled among other beauty brands such as Clinique and SK-II.
Fancl Singapore's website - which two weeks ago only allowed users to subscribe to a mailing list - has also come alive with product features and promotions.
The brand used to have 13 stores here - it came to Singapore as early as 2000 - but closed all of them in 2014 due to continued losses.
Fancl now operates through a Singapore company, Fantastic Natural Cosmetics (Singapore). Fantastic Natural Cosmetics works with Fancl's regional office in Hong Kong. Fancl here was previously run by its Japanese office.
In an interview yesterday, Mr Christopher Chan, 55, managing director of Fantastic Natural Cosmetics (Singapore), says the brand aims to open up to 25 points of sale in Singapore - both counters and standalone shops. It also aims to employ more than 100 staff here.
He adds: "We know people have missed us. We wanted to reorganise our operations and do sufficient preparation before re-entering the Singapore market. Now, we want to be in Singapore forever.
"This time, we hope to do better, through various avenues like outdoor advertising, newspaper advertisements, our in-house magazine and through social media."
Other than Japan, Fancl's products are also available in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Fancl's new counter offers popular products such as its whitening masks ($65 for a box of six) and RestEye Gel ($40 a tube). Like before, customers can get complimentary skin consultation sessions at the counter.
Two weeks ago, the brand also released an app, iFANCL SG - available for free on iOS and Android - which customers can use to accumulate gift points with a nett purchase of $20. A bottle of facial washing powder, for example, can be redeemed with 30 gift points.
As an opening promotion until April 30, customers who spend $100 can get a $20 discount. Those who spend $250 get $50 off.
Long-time customers of the brand are delighted at its re-entry into the Singapore market.
Says Ms Everlenne How, 31, a customer service associate who has been using Fancl products for almost 10 years: "I'm so excited and happy Fancl is back. I hope it will open more outlets in neighbourhood malls - instead of the usual locations in town areas - so it will be more accessible to people like me."
When Fancl's stores here closed two years ago, she asked her friends to buy its products for her when they travelled to Hong Kong or Taiwan.
She says: "I've tried products from other brands, but they are not as effective."
Netizens have been posting welcome messages on the brand's Singapore Facebook page since last week.
Last Friday, Facebook user Veron Ow wrote "Oh my, oh my! I have waited for so long... finally you are back!", while another, Mikki Yu, commented, "No need to buy from Japan already".