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CLEF Skincare: Revolutionizing the Premium Skincare Market with Sheet Masks

CEO Tinh Phung
I'm a self-proclaimed sheet mask collector. Every month, I indulge myself in trying out various formulations from different brands, exploring the vast world of skincare. It's a simple yet effective way to discover new products...

I'm a self-proclaimed sheet mask collector. Every month, I indulge myself in trying out various formulations from different brands, exploring the vast world of skincare. It's a simple yet effective way to discover new products without the commitment of finishing an entire bottle of moisturizer or serum.

CLEF Skincare (CLEF) understands this behavior and has made a smart entry into the local premium skincare market by focusing on sheet masks. They recognized that sheet masks are portable, easy to use, and highly sought-after by skincare enthusiasts, especially when introduced by a new brand. Their intuition paid off, as evidenced by their remarkable 7-figure annual sales between 2020 and 2021, with a staggering growth rate of over 300%.

Clean and Effective: The Essence of CLEF Skincare

CLEF Skincare takes its name from the words "Clean" and "Effective," which reflect their commitment to using ingredients that deliver optimal results. Their sheet masks contain various plant extracts that offer benefits such as skin regeneration, acne scar reduction, and anti-oxidation. The founders, Oscar, Jeremy, and Kaii, share a belief that skincare should be stress-free, leading them to develop a clean skincare brand.

Their flagship product, the Copper Peptide Mask, combines the functions of nine different masks into one, targeting acne scars, dark spots, and wrinkles. CLEF Skincare asserts that visible improvements can be observed after using three boxes of their masks within 21 days. The transparency of their own experiences with the product adds credibility to their claims. Kaii, one of the founders, shared that he had struggled with severe acne scars and clogged pores, but consistent use of CLEF Skincare products transformed his skin.

Kaii's before and after shots of using the sheet mask

Getting it Just Right: Overcoming Challenges in Product Development

Launching a skincare brand is no easy task, especially for CLEF Skincare. The founders faced numerous challenges, including finding investors and a suitable research and development (R&D) lab. It took them two years of dedicated effort to overcome these hurdles.

Their biggest obstacle was finding a manufacturer willing to produce in small quantities and collaborate closely with them to refine their formulations. Despite facing initial resistance due to their status as a budding brand, the team persevered and eventually found a lab that shared their values and beliefs. This partnership remains strong to this day.

With 1.5 years dedicated to developing the Copper Peptide Mask, CLEF Skincare meticulously fine-tuned every aspect of their product. They even paid attention to the sheet mask itself, ensuring it was of the highest quality. After experimenting with different materials and thicknesses, they settled on a 0.25mm Tencel sheet that provides comfort and prevents the mask's essence from trickling down the neck. Fun fact: Tencel, a cellulose fiber, is a more sustainable alternative to cotton.

Behind the scenes of formulating the product

Confident to Compete: Quality Products as the Key

Entering the competitive market of sheet masks is no small feat, but CLEF Skincare's founders, Oscar, Jeremy, and Kaii, are confident in their ability to compete. They recognize that people are always eager to try new skincare products in the hopes of improving their skin.

The secret to their confidence lies in the quality of their products. CLEF Skincare focuses on creating safe and comfortable products that effectively address the skincare concerns of their customers. While competition is a concern, they firmly believe that good products will sustain their brand's success.

Influencing the Market: Leveraging Influencer Marketing

Getting users to try their products was not an easy task, but CLEF Skincare found a solution by collaborating with influencers and key opinion leaders (KOLs). Initially approaching 300 KOLs, they managed to convince 50 of them to try and review their products, even with limited customer support at the time.

Building genuine relationships with these 50 creators allowed trust in the brand to trickle down to their audiences, enhancing the online perception of CLEF Skincare. This successful strategy enabled them to onboard between 200-300 KOLs for each product launch. Furthermore, CLEF Skincare secured a spot on the retail shelves of SASA Malaysia in October 2020, expanding their reach to a wider customer base.

Close-ups of the sheet mask

The Road Ahead: Retail Expansion and a Flagship Concept Store

Despite the challenges brought on by lockdowns, CLEF Skincare remains optimistic about their retail endeavors. They believe that once spaces open up again, people will flock to malls, offsetting any setbacks caused by the lockdowns. Additionally, CLEF Skincare's strong online sales, which reach customers in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia, provide a solid foundation for their retail pursuits.

However, they recognize the importance of physical channels in building customer confidence. Consequently, they plan to expand their retail presence in Malaysia by partnering with more beauty and wellness retailers. Moreover, within the next three years, CLEF Skincare aims to establish a flagship concept store, further solidifying their brand's identity.

With their unwavering commitment to quality, innovation, and customer satisfaction, CLEF Skincare is revolutionizing the premium skincare market, one sheet mask at a time.

Learn more about CLEF Skincare here. Read about other Malaysian startups here.