Image: Ms Bernadine Reddy and Ms Caryn Tan-Lim are the founders of Singapore Beauty Week
Beauty treatment junkies will soon be able to tap on a slew of new discounts, thanks to two business- savvy girlfriends.
Entrepreneurs Caryn Tan-Lim, 29, and Bernadine Reddy, 36, are launching Singapore Beauty Week - 10 days of discounts of up to 50 per cent.
The online event, from Nov 10 to 19, will offer deals at more than 50 merchants including big players such as Banyan Tree Spa, newer entrants such as Freia Aesthetics spa and small heartland outfits such as Dainty Beaute salon.
Ms Tan-Lim, a former business development manager at a bank, says that it all started in April during a discussion with Ms Reddy about how people here tended to stick to conventional services such as manicures and basic facials.
"We talked about how tough it was to get shoppers to try new beauty treatments here and to expand your base of customers," she says.
The entrepreneur also hopes to give the Singapore beauty industry - valued by Euromonitor to be worth $1.54 billion last year - a facelift.
It has been one of the top five most-complained-about industries here for the past five years, according to figures compiled by the Consumers Association of Singapore.
The biggest issue: pressure selling by pushy salesmen who force customers to pay exorbitant amounts for packages.
Ms Tan-Lim and Ms Reddy hope that Beauty Week will help undo the damage, as well as give credible merchants the chance to make a good impression.
Beauty Week merchants, says Ms Tan-Lim, are not allowed to harass customers to sign up for packages. They were also researched and at least half of them were tested before being allowed to participate.
The event is supported by the Singapore Tourism Board, which will market it to tourists overseas.
This is not the first business venture for either entrepreneur.
Ms Tan-Lim founded nail salon Hands + Feet Studio (Spa) in 2012. The business was sold earlier this year.
Ms Reddy, who was a customer at Ms Tan-Lim's nail boutique, is the founder of branding firm Happy Bold Italic.
The two, who became fast friends, then launched a business selling nail lacquer in 2014.
Singapore Beauty Week is their second venture together. They charge each merchant a participation fee of $500 to $1,500, depending on the type of services it offers.
Merchants say they welcome the extra exposure.
Ms Serene Seah, spa director at Freia Aesthetics, hopes that more people will learn of her Orchard Road spa, which opened in April. "We're new and there is a lot of competition in the industry. Hopefully, this event will draw more new customers," says the 41-year-old.
Her aim is for the event to raise revenue by 10 per cent.
Owner of Scissors Art Carrie Choo, 36, hopes to get 20 to 30 per cent more customers after the event.
The hair salon, which opened in 2014, has an outlet in Binjai Park and another in Joo Chiat. Each gets about 15 customers a day.
Ms Choo says: "We don't get much traffic... Hopefully that will change."
The honorary secretary of the Spa & Wellness Association Singapore, Mr Edward Wong, 65, says that a well-organised event could be just what the industry needs.
However, he says that it is imperative the event is not another cheap sales gimmick.
"If organised and managed well, Singapore Beauty Week can enhance the image and confidence of the beauty industry... but it is mandatory that the participants genuinely offer services without pressuring customers to purchase packages."
Beauty junkies are also looking forward to the event.
Student Vivienne Lim, 22, says: "Eyelash extensions can be expensive, but I've been wanting to try them, so if I can get a good discount during Singapore Beauty Week, why not?"
Customers can go to www.beautyweek.sg to select a service and book an appointment during the event.
Payment will be made directly to the vendor at the appointment.
This article was first published by The Straits Times on October 13, 2016. For more stories like this, head over to www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle.