Porcelain Face Spa started out as a home-business that Co-Founder Jenny Teng operated out of a rented bomb shelter at the foot of a HDB in Jurong back in the 1990s. Now, the brand has three beautifully curated outlets in Orchard Gateway, Cantonment Road and Tanjong Pagar. Jenny has also since then roped in her daughter, Pauline Ng, who is now the brand’s Managing Director.
In this post, we interviewed the mother-daughter duo about how it is like to work together with family and how they have grown Porcelain Face Spa into what it is today.
Jenny’s foray into the beauty industry is a result of her past experiences, when she suffered from pigmentation issues and sought help from several beauticians but to no avail. Eventually, Jenny decided to take matters into her own hands and attended classes and courses to get professionally accredited. She has since crafted her own technique to ensure that no one else would be disheartened by his or her skin conditions like she was.
Back in the 90s, Jenny was well-known for her deep-cleansing facials and extractions skills and developed quite the following for her small outlet, called JPhiline. Unfortunately, she had to close her business in 2004 due to the economic downturns and the SARS outbreak. In 2009, when she wanted to re-start her business, Pauline decided to make use of what her education taught her to prepare business plans, financial modelling and marketing plans.
One thing led to another, and the duo decided to embark on the journey together.
“My mother always asked me while I was growing up if I would be interested in this line, and my answer couldn’t be a firmer no.”
Despite her initial reservations, Pauline was inspired by her mum’s passion in helping others attain better skin and ended up falling in love with the skincare industry and the science behind skincare. Now that she’s part of the company, she has never looked back.
In fact, she was the one who chose the name “Porcelain” for the brand because she believed that great skin can belong to anyone as long as they are in the right hands. Thus, “Porcelain” refers to the kind of beautiful, flawless skin that everyone can achieve.
Photo credit: Porcelain
However, working together as a mother-daughter duo presented its own set of challenges. For instance, they had some conflicts because of poor communication. For Jenny, she had to learn to respect and be open-minded with Pauline’s business decisions. Ultimately, the solution was to separate our personal and professional interests.
“At Porcelain, I am her Director Aesthetician and not her mother.”
Photo credit: Porcelain
“We didn’t even have a signboard. We shared an IKEA desk, with an IKEA shelf. We spent on things that matter, and kept everything simple.”
Even though Porcelain is now known for its beautiful aesthetics and quality services, its beginnings were humble. Initially, the duo paid themselves peanuts and all earnings went back into the business. “My salary was $800 monthly for the first year and $1,000 the next – like an internship salary!”
Focusing on training and developing the team are two of the core values that brought Porcelain from a two-woman team to what it is today. One of the earliest things Jenny did was to focus on passing on her skills and expertise to others, while Pauline, focused on developing the team on a personal and professional level.
When asked about their favourite products at Porcelain, Jenny chose the Quintessential Facial, which focuses on the technique that she has perfected for more than half of her life and that she has passed down to Porcelain’s therapists. Product-wise, she chose Porcelain’s first ever product – the Balance, Sebum Control Essence.
However, Pauline could not make up her mind —“Because I have spent so much time developing and perfecting them, they are all my babies!”
A final tip from the two ladies behind the award-winning face spa is to:
“Wear sunscreen always, smell nice always, smile always!”