Gena Lau

When it comes to Korean beauty products, women around the globe are no strangers. That’s the same in Singapore too, where Stellar K’s founder Gena lives. However, for Gena, the impact of these products actually goes so much deeper and impacted her life in a personal way.

A Health Discovery

The story of Stellar K is also closely tied to Gena’s own health and experiences, rather than being just a business plan. Growing up in a regular family in Singapore in the 90s, Gena developed an interest in beauty and skincare rather early on. She enjoyed makeup and dolling up too.

However, she didn’t really have much and had to rely mostly on pharmacy brands during her school years. Later on when she was about 14, something significant happened that really changed her life.

After certain symptoms, Gena had to visit the doctor for a series of tests and examinations, and the verdict was in; Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, more simply known as Lupus.

Since Lupus is a chronic illness without a permanent cure, she would have to manage it with the various strategies available.  When she was first diagnosed, her symptoms were still mild.

However, as time progressed, especially after she finished her O-levels, some of her symptoms started becoming more serious, and one of these was her rashes. It would appear in a butterfly shape across her nose and both cheeks.

She was prescribed various steroid creams and oral medication for her condition. She also used several mild skincare and face wash products, but these were only effective to a limited degree, and weren’t the answer that Gena was looking for.

A Turning Point That Changed Her Skin

Around this time, Gena joined the beauty industry as a beauty consultant. She learnt a lot about the products she was selling, its ingredients and how these products worked too, so it was an enriching experience.

However, her skin rashes were causing her some problems in her line of work. As she was a beauty consultant, she was expected to have flawless skin all the time as it was reflective of the brand she was representing.

Over the years of, Gena’s skin had become more and more fragile and sensitive due to repeated flare ups. Thus, she had difficulty applying some of the beauty and makeup products from the brand she was working for.

This was until a good friend; let’s call her Valerie, introduced Gena to a revolutionary product from Korea. On Valerie’s recommendation, Gena tried Pion Tech’s Volume Tox, an all in one skin care product.

Volume Tox contained peptides, a form of short chain proteins from collagen that were easier to absorb. This meant that her skin had the chance to regenerate faster, firm up and develop a healthy glow.

For the first time after trying so many other products, Gena saw a significant change in her rash prone skin.

Not only was the Volume Tox essence effective in calming down her rash, it also helped to plump up her thin and fragile skin that had suffered from being inflamed many times over.

From here on, there was no turning back.

Gena had considered branching out on her own and starting her own beauty business for a long time, but this product just cemented that decision. Now there was no turning back.

This was how Stellar K was born in 2017.

Branching Out On Her Own

One of the first things that Gena did was to contact the producers of Volume Tox, called Pion Tech in South Korea. Despite not speaking the language, Gena endeavored to communicate as best she could, using online translation apps and such.

As she brought in the first few boxes Volume Tox, she also began researching other products that would be of interest here. She began to take Korean classes too, so that she could understand and communicate with suppliers better. More importantly, she wanted to connect with the Korean beauty community.

As part of her research, Gena started following Korean beauty influencers online and began to learn about more products from Korean brands that way.

At about the same time that she started bringing in products, she also moved into a new apartment and had a spare room. This was converted into a storage area for the first few boxes of beauty products coming in.

From a humble home based business, Stellar K grew rapidly, almost meteorically in its rise. Very soon, Gena had to hire her first staff member to assist her in packing orders as they were coming in at such a high rate. This was her neighbor, who was a mom and lived just one floor above her.

Stellar K: Sharing the Light of K-Beauty

Very soon, her business outgrew her home space, and she had to move to a shared co-working space. It wasn’t long before she had to move to an even bigger space which she had all to herself. From just one assistant, the brand now hires about 5 dedicated staff.

Stellar K grew from just having one brand to more than 10 now. Gena continues to test every product that she brings in on herself for two weeks before she launches anything. In terms of products, it has also grown from just skincare to slimming products and hair care too.

From less than 50 orders a month when they first started, Stellar K now sees an average of 200-300 orders per month consistently.

Gena maintains a strict standard for anything that she tests, as they have to be suited to Singapore’s hot and humid weather. She insists that none of these products should have a sticky or clumpy texture. With the advent of the Covid19 pandemic, these products should also be mask friendly.

As Stellar-K continued to grow, Gena now sees opportunities to bring K beauty products to more women, making them more easily available via resellers and network marketing.

All these, however, is just the beginning for Gena and Stellar K as they plan to continue being a strong presence in Singapore’s beauty scene and hopefully one day in many more countries as well.

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