My Bag

Founder of skincare label Mandy T comes up with her own concoctions

Founder of natural skincare label Mandy T enjoys sourcing for ingredients, formulating recipes and making the products

Mandy Leena Tan, founder of local skincare label Mandy T which launched in 2013. Prior to launching Mandy T, Mandy was the Director of Marketing and Membership at the prestigious Tower Club Singapore.
Mandy Leena Tan, founder of local skincare label Mandy T which launched in 2013. Prior to launching Mandy T, Mandy was the Director of Marketing and Membership at the prestigious Tower Club Singapore. PHOTO: ALICIA CHAN FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

In a small workshop at Rochester Drive, Ms Mandy Leena Tan, founder of natural skincare label Mandy T, mixes all the products herself.

Speaking to The Straits Times last week, the 41-year-old bachelorette says it not only assures quality control, but is also the best part of the job for her.

"It is something I really enjoy doing. To me, it is very personal and, when you do it yourself, you are in control of what you are making as well. Part of my DNA is in every bottle."

She also personally sources for natural ingredients and comes up with all the formulas and recipes for her 15 products.

The four-year-old brand is known for its floral body moisturisers, scrubs and bath salts. A jasmine, mint and orange body scrub costs $45.90, while a lemon, chamomile and bergamot body cream is $55.90.

Ms Tan has always been into crafts. She is also a self-taught abstract painter, potter and origami artist.

Her origami art, which she sells under her own cards and notebooks label Ori le Gami, has been featured in the Singapore editions of magazines such as Elle and Harper's Bazaar.

She held her first solo origami dolls exhibition at Tower Club Singapore in 2009 and her pieces are also sold at home-grown multi-label store Naiise.

  • ON HER BAG

  • I got this bag from multi-label lifestyle store Quintessential Lifestyle in Mandarin Gallery. I like that it is easy to carry and spacious enough to fit my laptop along with everything else.

She says: "My mother is also very artsy. She's the one who taught me origami and showed me that I could make a lot of things myself."

This D-I-Y spirit is what gave birth to Mandy T. "I used to make moisturisers and scrubs at home for myself. I love using fresh ingredients like flowers, tea and sugar. They not only feed your stomach, but also your skin," she says.

She started making the products as gifts for friends, but when word spread and requests for orders started pouring in, she realised it could become a viable business.

In 2011, Ms Tan, who studied at Chartered Institute of Marketing in Singapore, left her job as a director of marketing. She travelled and did part-time consulting work for about a year while working on developing a skincare brand.

She sourced for ingredients such as lavender from the Provence region in France and honey from Sydney, Australia.

In 2013, she launched Mandy T.

Though batches of its products are kept small, Ms Tan says the label has seen a 20 per cent growth in sales in the last two years.

Mandy T is sold in Singapore in private club Sky Premium Club, Aesthea Medical Aesthetic Clinic and multi-label lifestyle stores Quintessential Lifestyle and Naiise. It is also stocked in stores in Hong Kong and Paris, such as multi-label store Kapok and beauty salon Les Jardine Des Nana.

Ms Tan also makes bespoke creams and scrubs for special occasions such as weddings.

"Customers have asked if we can create something special for their big day. We sit together and come up with a new recipe for their wedding gifts."

The label launched a new body scrub last year and a new collection of green tea and barley products this year. Another collection will launch in the next few months.

But Ms Tan says she is in no rush to expand.

"I don't want to mass produce, but I'm always thinking about new products. Sometimes, I go to sleep thinking about what I will create next. It is what keeps me going."


Things in her bag

LOEWE WALLET

I've been using this for three years. It's compact, but big enough for all my things to fit inside. Although it's a little old, I don't feel like getting a new wallet. It was a gift from a friend so it has sentimental value as well.

MOBILE PHONE COVER

I like this cover because it has a little pocket where I can put my name cards. I chose a simple and versatile colour. I don't like covers that have too much bling.

GUERLAIN LIPSTICK

I like this because the case has a mirror inside, which is so convenient and compact. This was a gift from a friend in Paris.

CHANEL SUNGLASSES

I like this shape because it suits my face. The glasses do not leave marks on my cheeks when I wear them for a long time. I bought them in Paris.

BODY CREAM FROM MANDY T

I apply the cream on my arms and legs throughout the day, especially when I'm in an air-conditioned environment. I like that the scent is sensual and refreshing.

GUERLAIN PERFUME

This was from a friend. It's easy to carry around. I like it because it is a refreshing, uplifting scent that also smells exotic and floral. I usually wear a different perfume every day depending on my mood, though.

NOTEBOOK

I made this myself. I've been obsessed with paper dolls since I was a teenager and I would incorporate them into cards and notebooks. I use this when I want to sketch or take notes.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 03, 2017, with the headline 'Skincare with a personal touch'. Subscribe