BEAUTY is in the eye of the beholder. And local skin care and cosmetic products company, Crynx Group, is raising the bar on what Malaysian consumers can expect when it comes to personalising individual beauty.
While established brands tend to cater to the higher-end of the spectrum, Crynx’s business model is built on bringing beauty products to the masses.
“One of the problems that we noticed in the beauty industry was that there are not many safe, quality and affordable treatments that are easily accessible. What we are trying to do is bring something that has proven quality and is safe to use to the mass market,” says Rueben Lee, chief executive officer of Crynx.
And with the expansion of the consumer sector in Asia, Lee believes the group will be able to ride on this wave to grow its presence locally as well as find opportunities overseas. Lee notes that the company’s founding team has the right expertise to bring Crynx forward.
Lee and his co-founder, Lynnie Voon, both have a background in marketing and branding. Meanwhile, his two other co-founders are responsible for the formulation of its products and for the setting of its production standards.
“We believe our products need to be respectful of the fact that dedication to personal care is increasingly coupled with knowledge and a strong sense of understanding of individualised needs,” says Lee.
Lee and his team are looking to build up Crynx’s brand name and invest additional capital for its R&D and product development.
Although Crynx is a home-grown brand with a relatively small customer base at the moment, Lee says the group has developed a product range that can cater to a wider audience. This will help the company in its bid to explore exports to Asean and North Asian markets.
Admittedly, the company has yet to fully penetrate the local market. However, with a population of some 30 million, the Malaysian market alone will not be sufficient to cater to its ambition. Crynx’s goal, says Lee, is to be a global brand and he expects the next phase of its growth to come from regional market expansion.
Crynx is also looking to expand its manufacturing base and its presence in e-commerce to increase its customer base and brand exposure.
Grasping the market
The company has its head office in Melaka, about 150km south of Kuala Lumpur. With an eye on the mid-market segment, Crynx has been focusing its R&D efforts on skin care products that cater to Asian skin, demographic and weather.
From its humble beginning with a single product, Crynx has been charting its growth path through innovation and customisation. Today, it has six series covering different product ranges.
“We have gone through trial and errors, and found that what works is having a focus on products that promote self-indulgence and affordability through creative brand storytelling, eye-catching packaging, diverse product ranges and attractive price points,” says Lee.
Crynx’s main product lines include fruit-based sunscreens, ascend sprays, face cleansers, hydro serums, antioxidant and anti-aging skin tightening creams. Its products are priced around RM129 to RM398.
It currently produces around 400,000 bottles of products per month, including about 150,000 of its most popular product – the face revitalizing spray.
In 2017, the company made a revenue of more than RM5mil and Lee expects growth rate of around 25% to 30% in the years to come, on the back of its new rebranding exercise and push for new overseas markets.
However, Lee expects its domestic volume to remain relatively stagnant this year due to the slowdown in consumer spending.
One of the toughest hurdles for the group, he says, is to get past the approval process of Malaysia’s Ministry of Health. Its certifications are needed for every product before they can be launched.
The approval process for cosmetic and beauty-related products, which can take up to several months, is thought to be even more stringent than Singapore’s Health Sciences Authority or the US’ Food & Drugs Administration.
One of the reasons for the lengthy procedure is due to the halal certification, whereby the ingredients and manufacturing process involved are scrutinised.
“However, this stringent procedures will help inspire confidence in our products,” he says.
The growing e-commerce trend in the retail industry is clear by now. Any budding retailer dealing in consumer products will need to map out a clear online strategy not just to maximise sales potential but also to stay relevant.
Operating under a hybrid system that combines multilevel marketing with e-commerce, Lee says Crynx is able to leverage on its human resources network that can provide customers with that needed human touch as well as rely on the Internet for its mass market reach.
Part of the company’s business philosophy is to open up opportunities for those who are, otherwise, shut out from the mainstream business world by tapping into the massive consumer interest that can be generated from the Internet. This includes students, small business owners and stay-at-home mothers.
“Knowing that we play a part in creating a road map for them to have a sustainable income, and a chance to be involved and keep abreast with the latest developments in business and trends is one of our main motivating factors,” says Lee.
Crynx works by recruiting agents, which then market the products through their own platforms and network. It has around 200 to 300 agents throughout the country and a few in neighbouring Singapore.
For entrepreneurs looking to start a small business, this online retail network is an alternative to more expensive store fronts.
Lee, who has had close to 10 years of marketing and branding experience, says Crynx’s main market segment is made up of women aged 20 to 35. Women in this category, he notes, are willing to spend enormous amounts of money on a bevy of beauty products and treatments and are always on the lookout for products that can stand the test of wear and time.
As this consumer group is also among the most active on social media, online marketing channels provide the best platform to reach out to its target market, says Lee.
The company has been approached by potential investors, but Lee says it will only consider investors with the necessary network or expertise in beauty, skin care or cosmetic-related business. There needs to be adequate synergies for both parties to work together to help expand its market base and raise Crynx’s brand recognition, Lee adds.
In the longer term, Crynx is looking at setting up manufacturing facilities here in Malaysia.
“It will be great if we can develop an internationally recognised beauty product brand name from here,” he says.
Beauty may be skin deep, but Crynx seems to have found the formula to penetrate deep into the hearts of a new generation of image conscious consumers.