Not many people have the courage to leave a stable job to start their own business. However, Lynn Yap, the woman behind CLYNN By Nature, isn’t most people. The gutsy Singaporean left her job and started her bespoke hair and scalp care brand at the age of 51, an age where most people switch to cruise-mode. SG Lifestyle’s Column Editor, Angela, spoke with the chemist turned businesswoman as she celebrates the brand’s 5th anniversary to find out more about how the business is doing and her secret to growing her brand in a COVID-struck year.
SGLS: The name CLYNN has a nice ring to it. What’s the rationale behind its name?
Lynn: CLYNN, pronounced as ‘clean’, embodies the spirit of enabling a clean and healthy lifestyle, riding on good personal care and hygiene practises. My husband, Courvoisier Lucas Ng, who is my pillar of support, came up with it. We thought it was an innovative name that combines the first letter of his name with mine, Lynn. I simply love it! I added “By Nature” to the brand name because I would only design and apply natural concepts in all of our products and solutions. This will enable sustainability and long-term usage without worrying about any side-effects.
SGLS: You were a chemist by training and trade before you came out on your own. Why did you choose the entrepreneur life? Any regrets?
Lynn: Yes, being employed in the personal care industry and in a profession that I am passionate about for the most part of my adult life was a blessing. I would have loved to continue doing what I did but I have no regrets because we are on a mission to provide solutions to hair and scalp problems that affect >90% of our population, including myself. Some of these problems include frizzy hair, oily scalp and dandruff, amongst others. Many of us do not view them as problems and have accepted them as part and parcel of life. In some cases, these scalp problems further lead to excessive hair fall and eventually hair loss problem, regardless of age. In reality, our unique living conditions in Singapore, in particular, our stress levels, tropical weather and diet, do warrant unique solutions. We do not need to live with these problems.
SGLS: There are tons of other scalp and hair care products out there. What do you think makes your products unique?
Lynn: Our scalp-friendly products apply natural healing and rejuvenation concepts designed with natural ingredients and are free of harmful chemicals, drugs or steroids. Their superior performance is made possible by my 20 years of research and formulation experience in this field. Their performance has been tried and tested on users in Singapore for up to a year before they were made commercially available. Most importantly, CLYNN’s products have been certified by TUV SUD PSB Singapore. Not only are they safe for sensitive scalp, CLYNN’s products also prolong colour on hair that has been dyed.
Aside from performance, our products are highly sustainable for long term use without harmful side effects both for ourselves and our environment. Our rinse-off products rinse off quickly, saving time in the bathroom. Our ingredients are also low in aqua-toxicity and are completely biodegradable. Since last year, in response to numerous requests from many of our loyal customers who are into sustainable living, we improvised our packaging so that our shampoos come in refill packs. These pouches use only 20% of plastics material compared with traditional bottles, thereby reducing plastic waste by 80%. This practise also encourages recycling of used bottles that further contributes to zero plastic waste.
SGLS: Has the COVID-19 Pandemic affected your business? Any new product(s) in the pipeline?
Lynn: The Pandemic has significantly reduced my face-to-face interaction time with new users at stores and pop-up booths so I have turned to Facebook and Instagram to connect with my users through posting contents that might be helpful to them. Working from home, for many, also mean being exposure to non-aircon environment 24/7, which is more susceptible to sweaty, oily and itchy scalp. During this period, we see a higher demand in our scalp-care products as many are learning to practice self-care during this difficult period.
Earlier this year, due to strong market demand, we launched our fragrance-free hand sanitiser. Increased plastic waste pollution during this pandemic has intensified the need and solution for plastic waste reduction. Our refills for CLYNN’s Hair Shampoo, launched in October 2020 came in timely. We are seeing an uptake of our refills. In terms of product pipeline, we are in the midst of research/development and testing and we hope they will materialise in 2021.
SGLS: Who inspires you in life/business and why?
Lynn: When I started CLYNN By Nature in 2015, I was in my early 50s. Many of the start-up founders I met then were in their 20s or 30s. It was obvious that they were far more energetic than me and could get multiple tasks done quickly and somewhat effortlessly.
With the multitude of tasks at hand, I often felt exhausted. Close friends, relatives and family members also felt people of my age should be in the retiring mode and enjoying life. They advised me not to carry on as such a task would be impossible for me. However, driven by my strong believe that there was a need for CLYNN’s products in Singapore, I prayed fervently and pressed on.
Two years on, while promoting my products at a pharmacy, a customer suggested I contact Ms Dincy Lim, a volunteer at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital and Tan Tock Seng Hospital. After getting to know her, I was very inspired by her BIG heart and generosity with her time. I was also amazed at her energy levels. At 84 years old, there was no sign of “retiring mode” in her. I looked to her as my role model and am most grateful to her.
Find out more about CLYNN By Nature at http://www.clynnbynature.com/
Interview by: Angela May Tan, Column Editor and Writer, SG Lifestyle