To commemorate International Women’s Day on 8th March, we sat down for a honest chat with alche{me}’s founders Tuyen Lamy (CEO) and Constance Mandefield (CFO).

In 2017, they made the tough decision to leave the corporate world and start their own personalized skincare company, alche{me}. Find out more about their first year as entrepreneurs and their biggest learnings on this journey.

 

What inspired you to start your own business?

Tuyen: Both Constance and I have been working in skincare for the past 10 years. Working with many customers to best understand their skin priorities, I realised that each of us has a unique combination of skin concerns. Personalising active ingredients to address each woman’s unique needs – rather than mixing and matching products seemed an obvious solution for time starved busy women in Singapore. Once the idea took root, we had to see it through!

 

What is it like working together? How did you know you would make good partners?

Constance: Tuyen and I meet while we were working at our former employer, Clarins. We teamed up on several projects, as Tuyen was in charge of Retail and I was in charge of Strategy for the region at the time. We work well together, dividing the work, providing each other moral support and perspective.

Tuyen: I don’t think we ever got into a serious fight together – and that’s no small feat in a start up!

 

What’s the biggest learning during your first year with alche{me}?

You have to be flexible – things will not always go according to plan, making mistakes, learning from them and bouncing back is really important.

 

What is your biggest piece of advice for people who are interested in starting their own business?

You can’t do everything on your own. Choose the right partners who have complementary skills and personalities so that they also bring a different perspective.

 

You are both working mothers with three young kids. How has your new roles as entrepreneurs shaped your approach to motherhood?

Tuyen: I think motherhood has actually shaped my approach to entrepreneurship! We try to be efficient and focused at work to get as much done as possible. At the end of the day, I take a break to spend time with the children after their dinner, and then catch up on work behind.

 

As co-founders, CEO and CFO respectively, what part of your job do you love the most? What is the most challenging?

Tuyen: I love meeting with customers, understanding their skin needs and coming up with the best formulation for their skin. And obviously I love it when customers love their products!

Constance: The most challenging would be to pace ourselves and practice self-care. It’s important to be mindful of your needs to function properly – rest/sleep, eat well, drink water, meditate or take a break from your devices. But it can be hard to apply!

 

Is there anything you would like to say to alche{me} customers? What can they look forward to this year?

A huge thank you for trusting us with your skin – we are so grateful for all the support and words of encouragement you have given us along the way. We listened to your feedback  and you can look forward to many exciting new products in the year to come. So stay tuned!