The Leaf Juice Skincare Story

When I came to Asia intending to retire in 2006, I used my savings to buy a large Balinese villa on Batam Island in Indonesia, just across the straits from Singapore.

Tempat Senang was a beautiful property surrounded by lush jungle landscaping and completely unique to Batam – everything else on Batam had been demolished in the name of progress.

The dream of converting the villa into a boutique resort with international standards and themed suites was quickly dashed by the disaster of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. I almost lost everything, but through sheer persistence and determination, I persevered and set to work to make Tempat Senang the premier destination for Singapore visitors in Batam.

There were countless nights I slept in the broom closet wondering if I was sane or had a vision worth devoting my life towards achieving. It was a struggle, but I have been through enough adversity both personally and as a serial entrepreneur to know that giving up is never an option.

Tempat Senang Resort

Very early on, I learned that our clientele from Singapore (only 45 minutes away by ferry) was sophisticated, demanding, definitely not easily impressed, and above all, they demanded quality.

One of the things I look back on in all my entrepreneurial endeavours is that I always focus on delivering a quality experience to customers.

So I learned fast, worked harder, and with my small but dedicated team, we constantly improved everything; from the buildings and gardens through to the smallest details like the pillows on the beds and everything in between, until Tempat Serang was (and still is) the number 1 resort in Batam. In 2014, we added more properties and rooms to the resort and expanded the spa.

Why WOW Is Important

To become number one in a competitive market, we had to create the WOW factor. I consider the “wow factor” to be my speciality. Since my first business (more on that in another post), I have been obsessed with creating experiences and products that make people say “wow.”

My first rule is to never do what everyone else is doing.

While setting up the spa, it was obvious the local spa products were unacceptably substandard. 

The one word that pushed me over the edge to build my own laboratory and produce our own spa products was “formaldehyde”

Leaf Juice Laboratory

Old habits die hard. Because I was trained as a medical laboratory technologist, it was a habit to read all ingredients on everything I bought or sold. And I mean everything.

I distinctly remember reading the ingredients on the back of the jar for a hair mask and the preservative was formaldehyde — not a skincare ingredient you want to marinate your scalp with!

That’s when I made the decision that if we wanted to be the best spa possible, we needed to make great products without ingredients that are obviously harmful to our skin, but the planet and the environment in which we all live. Good planets are hard to find.

I knew deep in my soul that plant-based skincare products would have a market for a rapidly growing number of people sick (literally) and tired of over-the-counter skincare products with ingredients that were bad for both our skin and our environment.

And so we began the arduous process of setting up the laboratory inside the resort grounds. I was told it would never work. That it was impossible to produce enough at scale to sustain a business.

Enough! This has to be done. 

Resort clients immediately noticed that not only did our treatments make them feel fantastic, but the products made them look and feel better because we used plant-based ingredients that are good for your skin

Our goal was never to make cheap products, it was to make effective products! And by effective, I mean good for your skin that once customers used them, they kept wanting to use them even at home.

So we started the process of making our own (planet-friendly) packaged products and selling them to resort clients to take home.

Those clients are still with us, and a special thank you to all of them — without your feedback, loyalty and repeat business we could never have come this far.

Leaf Juice Skincare Retail Shop

We opened a retail shop at Tempat Senang Resort because our clients demanded it so they could load up with “at-home spa treatments” to hold them over until their next spa appointment. 

Post-Covid

Then Covid hit and decimated our entire operations. I have empathy for everyone who has suffered irreparable economic and social loss — our loved ones, friends, employees, colleagues, suppliers, other humans…

This period in our lives has been tragic, for everyone (except the billionaires, but I’m not here to be political).

We started an online store in 2021 to provide our loyal customers with Leaf Juice Skincare products remotely. While I’m great and skincare product design and production, I’m not great at technology (yet) but I’m learning fast!

We now have a technology partner who understands my vision and is actively helping me grow this business by creating a much more effective online store and increase our audience.

Leaf Juice Skincare – Next Steps

During Covid, the laboratory was the only business that managed to stay afloat, barely. Sales aren’t profitable because I always believed in keeping margins as thin as possible to make our range of plant-based skincare products accessible to everyone.

And I never, ever want to be just another cosmetic company that is lost in a large sea of competitors following the latest trends. We are the trend, and if we are copied (which we are) then that’s good for you and our environment.

Our mission is to make Leaf Juice Skincare the standard by which others might follow. Plant-based ingredients, complete transparency, ethically sourced ingredients and planet-friendly packaging.

These are lofty goals, and we can’t achieve every one of them instantly, but we are working hard every day to get there.

We immediately started ditching all our plastic packaging and replacing it with more eco-friendly options that were refillable, or even better, backyard compostable

This meant durable refillable bottles, tins, paper, wax paper…we have a long list, right up to naked packaging that requires no packaging because the packaging is the product in solid form (more on this later).

A Polish Guy Walks into a Bar

This brings me to the part of my story that sounds like a joke. A Polish man walks into a bar…

Seriously, a Polish man walks into my retail store in Bali and wants to buy shampoo, body wash and other liquid soaps. I immediately try to explain to him that he has selected the worst possible products for shipping overseas as each bottle weighs half a kilo! 

He looked at me and said, “Well, do something about it then!” 

So we did, and we now have a line of People and Planet-Friendly Skincare products that don’t require shipping water around the world.

And it really was a Polish guy walking into the shop that inspired me to stop shipping water.

The Leaf Juice Skincare Story

How you can help

  • Subscribe to our newsletter (I promise, only good stuff, no spam)
  • Add things to your Wishlist (show us what you want)
  • Buy our skincare products (we know the shipping cost is brutal, but we are working hard on making it more affordable)
  • Check the labels of skincare products you buy (they make the text really small for a reason)
  • Question the ingredients you put on your skin
  • Suggest a product (coming soon)

Be kind to each other, your skin and the environment.

The Leaf Juice Skincare Story

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