Hello fellow Kommunity! Hope you're settling well into September. It has been a busy month for us here at Kommune as we plan for more amazing eco-friendly lifestyle items for you.
For now, we'd love to introduce you to another of our artisan who's creating not just eco-friendly personal care products but smells amazing as well! Hear her story and how it all started as we bring you The Artisan Sessions #2: Fleur Apothecary.
KK: Hi there! Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.
FA: Hi, I’m Jia Yin and I come from a Biochemistry background and am working on building a bodycare brand that focuses on creating and manufacturing plant-based products that is healthy and sustainable for the skin and environment.
KK: That sounds great. How did it all start for you? Was it through a personal experience that brought you here?
FA: Growing up with sensitive and eczema prone skin really pushed me to dive deep into finding and researching about the skin and what works for me.
I would say Fleur started from my obsession of finding great products, and later on became a passion of mine. I also discovered the healing power of plant-based skincare when nothing really worked for my hormonal acne during my young adult years (caused by some health issues).
After trying A LOT of products from pharmacies, beauty clinics and dermatologist, I finally found the one thing that worked – PURE aloe vera gel from the garden!
I never really thought of making a business out of this but it just became what it is now as time went on. Especially after a lot of encouragement from friends and having had to pivot in my work during the covid times.
KK: 'Pivoting' has been pretty much a key contributor for lots of small businesses especially during times of Covid. Was that when you figured out that you wanted tos tart your own apothecary?
FA: When I was much younger, I’ve always wanted to have a skincare/ bodycare line of mine. But at that time, it wasn’t really an option for me, so I went into Biochemistry because it seemed like the more practical career option for the market then.
But sometimes things have a very unique way of coming full circle. Starting Fleur wasn’t something I had planned but I would say that a lot of the more difficult life experiences with my skin and health have somehow lead me back to this path.
KK: And what was the inspiration for you behind creating Fleur Apothecary as a brand?
FA: I would say Fleur is very inspired by nature and also the many natural brands that have made it, along with the causes and persons that support sustainable living & doing good in the world – inspiring hope.
With Fleur’s messaging, we hope to communicate the importance of resilience and that it's okay to fail or pivot sometimes. Encouraging and normalizing a type of vulnerability that allows us to connect without feeling weak/ not good enough.
In fact, I think it takes someone strong to embrace weakness, so that they can get better & heal.
KK: What's your favourite part about your job?
FA: I love that I get to play the mad scientist, creating new formulations. It is especially satisfying when I find a good combo that helps me with my sensitive skin because I tend to naturally get a lot of redness on my skin.
KK: And with your product line, the ingredients used are natural and eco-friendly. What does sustainability mean to you and why is it important to reflect that in your product and business?
FA: Sustainability is like the old bolster you’ve been using since you were 3 and still won’t throw away when you are 18. If you take care of it well and it will take care of you in return, by calming your soul and wellbeing. That’s why the thought of single-use items is quite disturbing to me, as we struggle to recycle and deal with all the trash that comes from using and changing something after using it once.That is why all our products come in packaging that can be used and reused again and again. Also, when recycled, it can be melted down to create something else when time comes.
KK: Do you think sustainability is a hype or is it something that's much bigger than us?
FA: Sustainability is a type of lifestyle. I believe that we don’t need to do it perfect to have an impact, minimizing as much waste as possible in any small way, can help us create a cleaner world. In the end, it is very important that everything is inter-connected, harming nature or an ecosystem directly and indirectly harms us as well.
KK: Any advice for a starting artisan?
FA: It is important to differentiate what is a hobby and a passion. Creating a brand is a balance between knowing what you want to put out into the world and knowing when to pivot when the market is calling for it. Learning when to change and not to change. And a baby step is better than no step. Embrace the discomfort.
KK: That's great advice! And also not forgetting that, there are other folks going through the same journey as well so you're never alone. In fact, that's why we at Kommune believe in building a community of like-minded folks like yourself.
And one last question, name five things that make you happy?
FA: Hiking, Sunsets/Sunrises, Animals, Outdoor adventures, Japanese food.
And there you have it! Now you know a bit more about Jia Yin and Fleur Apothecary, do go check-out their amazing products at our product pages here.
We're also doing a special promotion together with Fleur Apothecary as part of this feature. From now till end October, we're offering all Fleur Apothecary products purchased from Kommune.store a 20% discount. Please use code: FA20