In the past, Lynsey Lim had sensitive skin and suffered from eczema.
She was dissatisfied with conventional skincare products that contained synthetic fragrances as they were irritants to her eczema. This led her to explore making her own skincare in her kitchen in her early 20s — a gentler alternative and personal solutions for her own skin concerns.
What started off as a homemade solution was then made and gifted to family and friends. It was such a hit that several offered to buy more when they ran out of it, and the word started to spread to friends of friends. Their positive feedback and encouragement inspired Lynsey to quit her job as a banker and turn her passion into an organic skincare brand called Handmade Heroes.
Inspired by Lynsey’s passion for natural living, Handmade Heroes’ range of cosmetics, skincare, and even hair care products are all-natural, cruelty-free and vegan, with no fragrance added.
Using clean ingredients in her skincare
Lynsey chose the name Handmade Heroes to represent her skincare brand as she wanted a name that would capture the craftsmanship and care that goes into creating our products.
“The term ‘handmade’ signifies the meticulous attention to detail and the use of clean ingredients in our formulations, and the term ‘heroes’ reflects our belief that skincare can empower individuals to feel confident and embrace their own unique beauty,” she explained.
Lynsey has embraced this concept in all of the brand’s marketing campaigns, featuring everyday women who inspire consumers as heroes in their own lives — “Heroes like Her”. Recently, her Malaysia team launched a campaign called The Hero-some Club to celebrate “the power of self-care and the hero within each individual”.
Gaining popularity online and among celebrities
In 2014, Lynsey began selling Handmade Heroes products in pop-up markets across Singapore and she relied heavily on word-of-mouth for sales and marketing.
But soon, Lynsey found that many of the pop-up market vendors around her were expanding their business with Amazon. So later that same year, she set up her business on Amazon to venture into the overseas market and build a global brand.
The rising popularity of vegan skincare, along with Handmade Heroes’ wallet-friendly prices, led the brand to become one of the top skincare choices on Amazon for consumers worldwide, especially among Gen Zs.
Back then, the natural skincare choices available on the market were so expensive, and I didn’t want the price to be a stumbling block for young people looking for natural vegan skincare.
– Lynsey Lim, founder, Handmade Heroes
In 2016, Handmade Heroes’ Cocolicious Luscious Lip Scrub became one of the top 10 lip scrubs on Amazon. It was also ranked first on the site’s Best Seller list in Lip Scrubs in 2019 with over 18,000 reviews, and it has stayed in that position till today.
Furthermore, its dry shampoo has been ranked in the top three in its category on Amazon.com.
With the global beauty industry embracing clean beauty, Handmade Heroes gained notable recognition and support from notable Hollywood celebrities.
Lily Collins, known for her role in Emily in Paris, featured a Handmade Heroes product in her Beauty Secrets video with Vogue, where she shared her skincare routine. Sonequa Martin-Green, known for her role in The Walking Dead, also showcased the brand’s product in her Nighttime Skincare Routine video with Vogue.
“It was truly a moment of pride and validation for us to have these celebrities use our products in their everyday routine,” Lynsey said.
Sets up factory in Malaysia to cope with surging orders
As sales grew for Handmade Heroes after launching on Amazon, the brand was faced with the challenge of expanding its operations.
Lynsey and her husband could hardly meet the surging demand on their own, but they also wanted to find the right suppliers and partners who aligned with their commitment to using high-quality ingredients and maintaining strict manufacturing processes.
As such, in 2017, Handmade Heroes set up a factory in Malaysia, transitioning from a two-person team to a more professional operation.
By having control over our research and development, supply chain, manufacturing, and quality control, we are able to maintain the integrity and excellence of our products.
– Lynsey Lim, founder, Handmade Heroes
However, to uphold the highest quality and ethical standards for her products, Lyndsey was faced with a new hurdle: ensuring that every product was Halal-certified, GMP-approved, and dermatologically-tested.
She decided to engage with Fulfilment by Amazon, which freed Handmade Heroes from the hassle of order picking, packaging, delivery, customer service and other tasks. This saved the business 120 manpower hours per week and allowed Lynsey to focus on perfecting the production process, as well as solving the day-to-day operational challenges of the business.
Handmade Heroes also had to refine its products to suit the varying needs of different markets. For instance, since the climate in most parts of the US is colder than in Singapore, Handmade Heroes replaced the coconut oil in the lip scrub, which tends to harden in colder temperatures, with jojoba oil in its products for American consumers.
Handmade Heroes eventually hit seven-figure sales in 2020 and 2022.
Riding on the wave of success, Lynsey said she is currently building a second factory in Malaysia. She also plans to further expand Handmade Heroes into markets such as Europe, Australia, and the Middle East through Amazon, while also working on some upcoming new launches in the pipeline.
Feature image credit: Honeycombers / Handmade Heroes