In a world where makeup brands are taking over the business industry—from young entrepreneurs to celebrity moguls, everywhere we turn our head we’ll bump into brand new launches—it really surprises us when discovered there’s indeed new business that is taking a leap that far from the concept of ‘’beauty and makeups’’, we salute them! Just like Malaysia’s homegrown laundry brand, Sanren Journey, that was created to redefine and reinvent everyday chores finally makes its way to the shelves of ISETAN, KLCC. The brand not only offers its consumers premium products but also an improved and elevated laundry experience. How one of a kind? 

The brand also believes that even the simple act of doing laundry should incite joy. That’s why the founders worked with fragrance designers to create truly unique scents for all their products. This stems from a belief that associating scents with everyday chores can positively alter our perceptions in life. Together with its debut of products in Isetan KLCC last November. Beauty Insider decided to talk with one its founder, Herne Gan, to ask more about the brand’s vision, the idea behind it and what exactly Sanren Journey had to offer in a time where cleaning and washing your clothes often seem to be a part of our daily routine. 

1. We know that Sanren Journey made its debut in the business just last year. But how did you make the leap to launch Sanren Journey? Share with us your journey.

It all started during a Christmas gathering in 2019. In the midst of a scrumptious dinner with the family, we were chatting about house chores and how I had to deal with it as I was living abroad alone to pursue my career back in 2018. My mom pointed out the fact that dealing with household chores like laundry are unavoidable and a part of being an adult. It was that statement that sparked the idea of Sanren Journey. Since chores are inevitable, then why not add in elements of happiness to create an enjoyable experience?

A few days later, I met up with Victoria to talk about the idea and she was onboard instantaneously. We proceeded to develop the idea further, thinking of ways to create a brand with a goal to make chores more enjoyable. With the help of my father, in terms of knowledge and resources, we were able to realise the goal of starting the Sanren Journey.

2. Why the name ‘’Sanren Journey’’?

During my career in branding, I have created several brand names for my clients with a distinctive and unique approach. However, when it comes to our brand, I wanted a name that is simple and relatable. ‘Sanren’ means three people in Mandarin and it symbolises the three parties involved in the start of the Sanren Journey; my parents, Victoria, and I. My parents played a huge role as they were the main pillars of emotional support and knowledge that made all of this happen. Hence, Sanren Journey represents three people with a pure and simple heart on a journey to reach the ultimate goal.

3. Walk us through the steps into making Sanren Journey products come to life. (How did you come up with an idea to make one specific item?)

During the initial product design stage, we were striving for innovation and creativity. We wanted to create a product that will bring joy but it has to also be practical. The first product we started developing was the Classic Laundry Stones but we faced several difficulties during the R&D process. We tested several methods, formulations, and mechanisms to perfect the caking process to turn the laundry powder into laundry stones, but they weren’t as practical as we hoped for it to be. Until one day when I was drinking tea, an idea struck me. We can design a pouch to contain the laundry powder and have them premeasured, convenient, and easy to use. During a discussion with Victoria, she suggested using the colour absorber sheets as the pouch. Then we began designing the pouch with accurate measurements to maximise the surface area of the sheets to perform at its best.

After perfecting the laundry stones, we decided to put the launch for it on hold as we foresee difficulties in educating the masses about the product of a new concept. We instead launched the Enchanted Colour Absorber, a type of product that is commonly found in other countries, with a product demo video to create brand awareness in December 2020. The Classic Laundry Stones were only launched in March 2021.

4. What are your must-haves essentials from Sanren Journey?

Out of all the products we have developed, we would say that three must-have essentials are the Classic Laundry Soda, Fabric Conditioner, and Enchanted Colour Absorber. These three items are included in the Laundry Journey Starter Kit that can be found on our online store.

5. What do you love most about working with laundry products?

It would definitely be the customer feedback and how we can change their perception towards a chore that is disliked by many. It brings us satisfaction as that is our main goal.

6. What do you believe about house chores (ie: doing laundry, cleaning, etc) now that you didn’t before?

More often than not, we do laundry just for the sake of having it cleaned, but we tend to overlook the fact that our clothes play a subtle yet important role. Whether it is to travel the world or to close a million dollar deal, it allows us to express our personality and gives us the confidence to stride to our destination. I believe that we should treat our clothing with the love and respect it deserves. Take care of it as it accompanies us on our life journey.

7. How has your relationship with cleanliness changed through the pandemic?

As said by Victoria: In this fast paced world, work and personal life are often rushed and mashed together in a blur of activities, especially during the pandemic. Now that we are spending most of our days at home, we start to value the cleanliness of our surroundings and everything around us. Not just the bedroom or workspaces, but also our clothes. It gives us clarity and calmness to perform better at any tasks given. Also, getting household chores done also helps us take a much needed step back, slow down, and enjoy the present moment.

8. Are there any new cleaning or laundry tricks you learned while in quarantine? And what’s your favourite at-home lifestyle tips of all time?

During the pandemic, we were more hygiene conscious and practised disinfecting more often. It is a common practise for all of us to wash up and toss our clothes to the washing machine as soon as possible after a day out. But times when we are out for just a brief moment with minimal contact with others, like picking up food from the drive thru, it wasn’t practical for us to wash our outfit. Instead, we use our fabric sanitiser to disinfect them before we enter the house.

The fabric sanitiser was actually inspired by my dog. Before we could make it to the bathroom to wash up, my dog will always run up to me when I walk through the front door. I was worried that I would expose my dog to germs and bacteria. So it is a habit for me to spray the fabric sanitiser on my clothes before walking into the house, and soon I began to use the fabric sanitiser to disinfect other parts of the house like the sofa, bed, and curtains.

A lifestyle tip I love the most is playing with scent to set a mood or bring up a memory. The ‘Lost In Woods’ scent was inspired by my trip to New Zealand. So whenever I would like to relive those moments, I would use the fabric conditioner of that scent. I use the ‘Some Butterflies’ scent to set a happy mood that will last throughout the day.

9. Lastly, what can we expect next from Sanren Journey and Herne Gan in 2022?

During the grateful opportunity we had working with Isetan KLCC, we noticed that many of our online customers visited us for a hands-on experience with our products. In 2022, we would like to improve on customer experience by making our products more accessible to them. Sanren Journey is also looking to venture beyond laundry essentials to design home and lifestyle products.

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