Through a brain tumor and starting new businesses, Kelvin Tan has truly become a beacon of hope, resilience and perseverance, having established himself in the Malaysian and global beauty scene, with brands that accentuate beauty while giving back to humanity. community. “Each creation that is introduced to the market is made through conscious and values-driven innovation, and it has to have a purpose,” says the entrepreneur who has won multiple international awards.
Where everything began
UB Cosmetics was specifically designed to cater to subscription boxes in Europe, the UK, the US and Australia. The brand was carefully selected and invited to the Emmy’s Gifting Suite and Luncheon Awards in Los Angeles in 2014. A year later, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry awarded UB Cosmetics an award at the Top 100 International Business Style Awards, one of the most prestigious awards events in the national and international business community. Within two years, the brand exceeded its sales projection by 400%, and it seemed like things were picking up steam for Kelvin.
However, a great success story doesn’t come without its fair share of drawbacks. His came in the form of a brain tumor that was discovered unexpectedly, where he was admitted to a hospital for surgery the day after this discovery. Although Kelvin had single-handedly conceptualized the brand from his one-bedroom apartment, he had to be admitted to ICU the day before his Australian debut for a brain tumor, requiring surgery the following day. .
“Honestly, post-surgery recovery was very difficult for me. I think in the fourth month I started to have speech problems and found it difficult to verbalize my thoughts,” shares Kelvin. From there, he established Lip & Co., a true passion project based on a hybrid model of sustainable commerce with altruistic motivations. Through adversity, he found courage and drive for the sole purpose of benefiting others. “A strong sense of identity, empathy and compassion was what gave me the ability to pick myself up again and again and remain unshakable even in circumstances where I was the only one left standing,” says Kelvin. “As a new company operating organically without any third-party funding, I had to make sure we operated as efficiently as possible. I had to take hits from the harsh reality of the business world that is based solely on capitalism.”
More than a beauty brand
With an eye to the future, Kelvin went ahead and worked to expand Lip & Co., which he shares is a brand created for people who are bold, courageous and unconventional. “Created for everyone, I coined the term ‘hybrid beauty essentials’ where we infuse skincare ingredients into makeup products wherever possible, keeping them strictly cruelty-free and vegetarian-friendly,” he says. As one of the first local brands to start conscious collaborations to raise social awareness about specific topics that aren’t really being highlighted, Kelvin says that for him, Lip & Co. goes beyond a brand or its products. Each product that is created has a story and a life of its own while benefiting society through conversation and awareness.
This is an important brand ethos for Kelvin and Lip & Co., whereby each collection is designed to have a selfless side. In 2018, Lip & Co. launched the ‘Cruelty Free Kisses Campaign’ with the goal of starting a dialogue about cruelty to stray dogs. The following year, Lip & Co. brought together a diverse group of notables to spearhead the ‘My Kind of Beauty’ campaign that launched in conjunction with World Kindness Day.
Recently, Kelvin has continued to grow and prosper, receiving second place in the World Excellence Entrepreneur Brand Celebrity Awards 2020 for multiple categories. Despite going through the harsh impact of the pandemic while dealing with his own personal and mental struggles, the determined entrepreneur continued to work alone for 14 months as he restructured the business. In these unprecedented times, he received a total of three regional awards for his impeccable innovation and entrepreneurial spirit and had the honor of sharing the stage with the iconic Prof. Datuk Jimmy Choo during the award ceremony.
Everything starts with a purpose and from the heart
As for the future of Lip & Co., let’s start from scratch; which is why this pandemic has led Kelvin to commit to giving back to the community. “My true purpose finally came true when we were able to communicate what Lip & Co. is all about: community, collaboration, and thriving as a collective through various projects we currently have in the pipeline,” he shares.
Today, Kelvin continues to lead a human-centric brand with the belief that every brand should have a purpose and hopes to create more awareness of this. As someone who doesn’t believe in resting on her laurels, she is working on launching her next brand, The Caim, which has been in the works since 2011 when she won The Malaysian Women’s Weekly Award-winning Beauty Treatment.
Simply put, The Caim is a one-of-a-kind skincare brand that unites the art of molecular alchemy with modern science. Skin care is synonymous with their brand which is derived from an ancient Celtic word; to cast a circle of protection, where one is safe even in the darkest hour. “It is a name that came to me after a long search and I thought it fit perfectly with the brand. During the darkest moments of my life, working at The Caim seemed to be the light at the end of my tunnel,” she shares. Kelvin.
Initially, the brand and products would launch in early 2020 when the serial entrepreneur had the opportunity to place products in US Vogue and a major retail chain. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, none of them worked. But, of course, we’ve now established that those setbacks weren’t going to stop Kelvin from continuing to pursue the dreams of seeing his baby born and growing into a successful company of his own, in this case, The Caim.
Fast-forward to a year and a half later, The Caim is expected to be in Asia this July and tentatively in the US in late summer 2021, in collaboration with Life Unfiltered and Hollywood Disclosure. At the same time, with the pandemic worsening in Malaysia, Kelvin couldn’t just sit by and watch his country and community crumble, starve and disappear before his very eyes, so he did what he knew he could do best. : contribute to society to raise funds for those affected by the effects of the pandemic through a collaboration. Kelvin has committed to donating part of the pre-launch sales of its brands beginning August 1, 2021 for the restructuring. Now, if that doesn’t count as doing things with purpose and a generous heart, we don’t know what does!
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