Dr May talks about the future of beauty
By: Cherelle Lim / September 14, 2023
The beauty industry is constantly evolving and changing for the better. SOPHIA is one aesthetic brand that constantly strives to create something better, safer and innovative. Returning to Beautyexpo & Cosmobeaute Malaysia 2023, they are on the lookout for up-and-coming brands and products! With a goal to help others live their best and most beautiful lives, connect with Dr May, the brilliant mind behind SOPHIA as they continue to dominate the beauty industry!
A Little Chat with Dr May
As a well-known figure in the beauty industry, what excites you most about participating in Beautyexpo & Cosmobeauté Malaysia, and what are your expectations for this year’s event?
I am particularly looking forward to the prospect of having more new exhibitors and a larger audience participating in this internationally renowned beauty trade show. It is exhilarating to anticipate the inclusion of various social media platforms such as TikTok, and many more in this trade show, as they represent the emerging era of social media!
As a founder, what inspired you to venture into the beauty industry, and what unique perspective do you bring to the table?
It’s actually quite simple—it stems from my personal need for beauty. Due to the condition of my skin and body, I underwent transformations at beauty salons. Naturally, this led me to join the industry with the hope of helping others undergo their own transformations, from head to toe, inside and out! My goal is to assist people in embracing limitless beauty and living a wonderful life. It is with this simple mission in mind that I embarked on this journey in the beauty industry, and it’s amazing how time has flown by!
As a key person in the beauty space, what role do you think social media plays in shaping beauty perceptions and trends? How do you ensure a positive and authentic impact on your audience?
I believe that social media plays an essential role in shaping beauty perceptions and trends because it has the power to sway consumer patterns and behaviours. I firmly believe that social media should be utilised to generate positive and authentic social coverage. It is essential to focus on sharing positive content that reflects reality rather than indulging in negative or misleading reports. Social media plays a crucial role in people’s lives today, as they heavily rely on it for social interaction and information. People tend to accept whatever information is presented to them on social media, making it an incredibly influential platform. Thus, social media is exceedingly crucial in shaping beauty perceptions and trends.
An Ever-Changing Beauty Industry
With the beauty industry constantly evolving, what trends do you foresee gaining momentum in the Malaysian market, and how is your brand embracing these trends?
With the continuous development of the beauty industry, I believe that the future trends in beauty will not only focus on enhancing life cosmetology but also lean towards the trend of light medical beauty. We have also introduced a product line called Gottin Lab, which falls under this category of light medical beauty. This is because nowadays, people lead busy lives and desire quick results. Therefore, our products are designed to deliver fast and effective outcomes while prioritising safety.
In an increasingly competitive beauty market, what strategies do you employ to stay ahead of the curve and maintain your brand’s relevance and popularity?
In this fiercely competitive beauty market, I personally believe we should always hold a sincere heart which also seems to possess a kind of perception with a higher vision to look at the entire beauty field, rather than just in Malaysia. Through this, we should be able to envision the future trajectory of the entire beauty industry, take a leadership role at the forefront of the era, and guide beauty professionals in adapting to the changes of the time, rather than reverting to traditional beauty business models. A fresh and innovative business model is of utmost importance, such as the integration of the “heaven-earth-human-commerce-internet” model to implement the overall operational framework of the beauty industry.
Therefore, we have changed the traditional business model to e-business. We have our own online platform and APP system. We utilise practices such as live streaming and Zoom training to leverage the potential of online platforms. Moreover, we have 23 physical stores, which operate on a shared platform model, enabling partners to have access to all 23 stores simultaneously. In the past, it would have been a challenging task to open ten or eight stores individually. However, within Sophia’s platform, we instantly have ownership of 23 experiential centres! In this network of people, we’ve established a system that allows individuals to become our entrepreneurial partners without requiring substantial capital. They can become small business owners within our platform, which is another unique aspect of our business model.
The beauty landscape has seen a rise in clean and natural beauty products. How do you strike a balance between innovation and the use of natural ingredients in your brand’s formulations, and how do you educate consumers about the benefits of these choices?
In fact, clean and natural beauty products can coexist. For instance, our Sophia products represent an innovative approach. They provide non-surgical means to achieve the effects of cosmetic procedures, and they are also very gentle natural products. At the same time, they offer a highly innovative way of addressing skincare needs. For example, a single product can serve as a cleanser and a facial mask. It not only cleanses the skin but also provides hydration and activates skin cells, promoting their vitality.
These are incredibly innovative products that allow us to achieve the effects of minor cosmetic procedures without the need for surgical interventions. By using Sophia’s products, we can achieve a lifted appearance similar to the effects of fillers, smoothing out lines and reducing under-eye bags. They can also help fill in tear troughs. Thus, I believe that both aspects can coexist harmoniously.
Sustainability & Diversity On The Rise
Sustainability and ethical practices have become significant concerns for consumers in recent years. How has your brand embraced eco-friendly initiatives and responsible sourcing, and how do you communicate these efforts to your audience?
Our products are also packaged in environmentally friendly materials. In other words, our entire product line is packaged with eco-friendly packaging. I believe this is also highly important, demonstrating our responsibility towards society and the environment. I strongly encourage our partners to contribute to this aspect, showcasing their awareness and consideration for our people.
Inclusivity and diversity have become integral values in the beauty industry. How does your brand actively promote representation and inclusiveness in product offerings and marketing campaigns, and what impact do you believe this has on consumer engagement?
I understand that inclusivity and diversity have become essential values in the beauty industry. The Sophia brand actively promotes inclusivity in its products and marketing activities. I believe this has a significant impact on consumer engagement and in turn, their decisions. It’s an essential value that cannot be overlooked. In this aspect, our Sophia brand has excelled remarkably.
How Beauty Brings People Together
Could you share a memorable success story or impactful experience highlighting how your brand or personal brand has positively influenced someone’s life through beauty?
Throughout my over twenty years in the beauty industry, one of the most touching experiences I’ve had was with a customer. She had lost her husband, and her children had grown up and moved away, leaving her feeling helpless and alone. She came to me and hugged me, expressing her deep gratitude for creating a platform that went beyond just outer beauty. She shared how being a part of this platform helped her discover not only external beauty but also inner beauty, emotional well-being, and overall health. It brought meaning to her life, from head to toe, inside and out.
Creating this platform allowed her to continuously learn and expand her knowledge through various meaningful activities we organised. We have helped over seventeen thousand women, empowering them to embrace not only external beauty but also to find purpose and meaning in their lives within this platform. Moreover, our platform has provided opportunities for entrepreneurship and facilitated connections with like-minded individuals who are driven by a sense of purpose. Together, we strive to make a positive impact on others’ lives, creating one miracle after another.
What valuable insights or advice do you have for aspiring beauty entrepreneurs or those looking to establish themselves as influencers in the industry, especially in the context of the unique Malaysian beauty market?
Here, we are fortunate in Malaysia because in this unique environment, Malaysians possess a high level of inclusiveness and we have distinct advantages. For example, we are language talents. I believe that to become influential individuals in our industry, the main focus should shift from solely pursuing personal careers to contributing to a greater cause.
Events like Beautyexpo & Cosmobeauté Malaysia often introduce attendees to new and emerging beauty brands. Are there any specific niche or upcoming brands that have caught your attention recently, and what do you look for when considering potential collaborations or endorsements?
I believe there will certainly be more new brands and products entering Beautyexpo and Cosmobeauté Malaysia. Currently, there haven’t been any particularly unique products that have caught my attention, but I’m eagerly looking forward to seeing new technologies or products that can provide faster and safer results for consumers. Products that are result-oriented, long-lasting, and beneficial for consumers would be welcome additions to the market. These products should have distinct and effective features. Of course, I also hope to see some unique business models or approaches from vendors that are innovative and align with the current market trends. These models should offer more than just the traditional ways of operating in the beauty industry. This is something I am really looking forward to seeing!