Fii Beauty founders on creating its viral curling scrunchies

Opposites attract, they say, and for Fion Foo and Kennedy Chew, the founders of Fii Beauty, this couldn’t be more true.

Meeting in secondary school 14 years ago, Fion was the studious, obedient one, while Kennedy embodied the rebellious spirit. Despite the differences, their relationship flourished, leading them to tie the knot after dating for 10 years.

But little did they know that their marriage will soon blossom into a shared entrepreneurial journey.

Fion, with a background in banking and finance, had always aspired to climb the corporate ladder. However, she felt under-appreciated and stressed out in the industry, which prompted her to leave her job.

Meanwhile, entrepreneurship had always been an “obvious path” for Kennedy. When his then-business partners decided to call it quits on his former venture, he faced a pivotal decision: either start something else with another partner, or embark on the journey alone.

He recognised the potential of doing business with Fion, knowing that their contrasting mindsets and objectives could lead them apart if they pursued separate ventures. Since their marriage two years ago, Kennedy has taken on the role of guiding Fion in the intricacies of running a business.

Starting a business with my wife would be the best course of action. Doing business together meant that we would be working towards a common goal, which I strongly believe will have positive effects on our relationship. Also, having someone I completely trust to do the business with is something that is extremely valuable.

– Kennedy Chew, co-founder of Fii Beauty

Simplifying beauty routines with fuss-free products

Established by Fion and Kennedy, Fii Beauty was born out of a desire to simplify beauty routines and empower women to feel confident in their own skin.

The company’s journey began when Fion encountered the challenge of maintaining her digital perms. She longed for a product that could effortlessly define her curls, and this sparked the idea for Fii Beauty.

“I am a lazy person when it comes to beauty, but I still want to look good so I will always find ways to shortcut my beauty routines,” said Fion.

fii beauty cloud curlers
Fion Foo and their signature Cloud Curlers / Image Credit: Fii Beauty

She shared initial samples of her curling scrunchies with family and friends, only to discover that it also helped those with straight hair achieve curls. This revelation was what led to the establishment of Fii Beauty.

For Kennedy, choosing the beauty industry as their niche was a natural decision. He recognised Fion’s passion and expertise in beauty products and her ability to identify what makes a product exceptional.

The couple’s partnership brought together their complementary skills, with Kennedy validating the feasibility and market potential of their products.

At its core, Fii Beauty is driven by the mission to empower women and foster a sense of community. The brand aims to inspire and guide women to feel extraordinary while embracing their individuality.

Fii Beauty was founded to empower women to feel confident through fuss-free haircare and skincare solutions that bring out their natural beauty. At Fii Beauty, we believe there’s something truly extraordinary about every single one of us and it is our differences that make us beautiful.

– Fion Foo, co-founder of Fii Beauty

It seeks to address the pain points faced by women when it comes to haircare and skincare. By offering fuss-free solutions, the brand aims to simplify beauty routines, allowing women to feel confident and comfortable in their own skin.

Their curling scrunchies was sold out within 3 days

fii beauty cloud curlers
The Cloud Curlers were sold out within three days of its launch / Image Credit: Fii Beauty

The 28-year-old founders were overwhelmed by the response to their first product, the Cloud Curler, which sold out within three days of its launch in August 2022. They also achieved six figures in revenue within the first month alone.

“I couldn’t believe it and was very touched that a small idea in my head could help so many other ladies,” said Fion.

However, the rapid success presented its own set of challenges. Fii Beauty struggled to meet the overwhelming demand for the Cloud Curler, leading to a period where they were unable to fulfill all orders.

From the start [of production] till it reaches Singapore, it takes about 2.5 months. We made the tough decision to do preorders so we had cashflow to meet demand and not lose market share.

However, at that point of time, we were so new that people were afraid we were scamming because it took so long to receive their orders.

– Kennedy Chew, co-founder of Fii Beauty

To address this issue, Fion took it upon herself to strengthen their relationship with customers. She invested time and effort into creating online video tutorials and providing personalised replies to customer inquiries, solidifying a loyal and tight-knit community.

The genuine care and sincerity demonstrated by Fion helped overcome initial skepticism and establish trust among customers.

Expanding their product portfolio

Its Cloud Curler, dubbed “Asia’s original curling scrunchie” has remained one of Fii Beauty’s best-selling products.

It is basically a hybrid of a curler and scrunchie, which utilises a natural curling technique. When the hair is curled around the Cloud Curler band, it helps alter the chemical bonds in the hair over a few hours, creating beautiful, heatless curls.

Unlike traditional methods that rely on chemicals or heat, this approach preserves the hair’s keratin and prevents dryness and dullness.

Sharing on the research and development process, Fion said that she worked closely with the product team in China to perfect the Cloud Curler’s structure, such as the stitching and firmness.

This meticulous attention to detail resulted in a curling band that not only holds hair securely, but also feels soft and comfortable during use, especially while sleeping.

fii beauty cloud curlers
The Cloud Curlers are comfortable to be used even while sleeping / Image Credit: Fii Beauty

In our early product development stages, we split tested different materials and found silk to be a superior material for haircare. The curls created with silk are much smoother, shinier and frizz-free, compared to cotton and satin.

– Fion Foo, co-founder of Fii Beauty

Silk’s natural moisture-wicking properties also help retain hair oils and prevent dryness, reducing breakage and frizziness compared to other materials. As such, they opted to use 100 per cent 6A mulberry silk, which is the highest grade of mulberry silk, as the material for its cloud curlers.

fii beauty body scrub balls
Body Scrub Balls / Image Credit: Fii Beauty

Another one of Fii Beauty’s products is its Body Scrub Balls, which are made with Korean cult-favourite beauty ingredient snail mucin and niacinamide.

This two-in-one product exfoliates and moisturises the skin, providing a time-saving solution to Fion’s own beauty routine. It uses only six clean ingredients with no preservatives, and is ideal for those with sensitive skin who appreciate the gentle exfoliation and avoidance of potential irritants.

Going viral on TikTok

Given that they are scaling at such a fast and unpredictable pace, Kennedy said that another challenge Fii Beauty faced was managing cash flow and formulating a comprehensive growth strategy.

“Pumping money solely in brand awareness initiatives in the beginning of the business was a luxury because that does not generate immediate revenue,” he noted. He added that they have invested about S$100,000 into the business so far, but have yet to break even.

To raise brand awareness, Fii Beauty adopted a direct-to-consumer strategy, drawing inspiration from fellow successful local e-commerce brands such as PRISM+ and HYDRAGUN.

They leveraged Facebook and Instagram ads for customer acquisition. Recognising the power of social media, Fii Beauty’s young and savvy marketing team successfully generated viral content on TikTok.

Within the first six months, their videos garnered an impressive 8.6 million views — 5.8 million views are dedicated to advertisement videos, and the remaining 1.8 million are organic video views.

Such strong online presence has helped them tide through the turbulent COVID-19 period. The online nature of Fii Beauty’s business allowed it to remain unaffected, with the pandemic even opening up new opportunities as more people embraced online shopping.

This shift in consumer behaviour allowed Fii Beauty to view the pandemic as a business opportunity rather than a threat. In fact, according to Kennedy, they have recorded a growing number of 13,500 customers to date.

fii beauty malaysia
Launch event in Malaysia / Image Credit: Fii Beauty

It has also recently launched in Malaysia, and are now setting their sights on expanding into other countries.

To maintain their momentum, Fii Beauty plans to introduce new collections and designs of their popular Cloud Curler throughout the year. They are also working on expanding its product line to include curling creams that complement the Cloud Curler, providing a complete haircare solution.

Featured Image Credit: Fii Beauty

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