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The rise of natural skincare

Thann’s founder Tony Suppattranont talks self-care versus selfies, and why taking a break from social media can help you find inner-peace.

Name-drop Thann anywhere in Thailand and you’ll be surprised at how much love the locals profess for the brand, which marries natural therapy with modern dermatological science. The leading natural skincare and aromatherapy retailer in Asia has been plugging holistic beauty long before social media made it a trending hashtag. In the 18 years since its launch, it has grown into a global empire with a presence in far-flung countries such as Mongolia and Finland.

The last quarter of 2019 also saw the opening of two of its latest ventures: its first flagship store in Singapore at Paragon and luxury spa Thann Wellness Destination at Ayutthaya, Thailand’s old capital. With self-care being such a hot topic right now, and the realms of beauty and wellness becoming ever more intertwined, BAZAAR gets a peek into the mind of Tony Suppattranont, the brains behind the award-winning brand, for some insight on how to live your best life and look fabulous while you’re at it.

 

  • Thann Facial Cabin
    The facial cabin inside the store.

(Related: 5 Asian Skincare Beauty Brands on the Rise in Singapore)

 

When the brand first started (in 2002), natural skincare had not yet taken off. So why did you choose to go in that direction?

I wanted to proudly present Asian herbs and extracts to the world while making natural cosmetics more innovative, more fun. I wanted to show that a bath product, for instance, can be more than just functional. And at Thann, we incorporate essential oils so you get the double benefit of cleansing and aromatherapy, so the overall effect is that of being indulged and pampered.

 

And the fun aspect extends beyond the products themselves…

I also enjoy design, so I always have fun with the packaging and décor of our shops too. I feel that if we combine an excellent product with a unique presentation, we can make a big impact.

 

Consumers are now more demanding of brands. How does Thann keep up with the changing beauty landscape?

I think most consumers now expect a lot from brands; we need to be both functional and emotional. And we deliver on both fronts. Our products not only do what they’re meant to do, but also pamper the senses while doing it. Beautiful packaging aside, all our products carry pleasant scents, thanks to our unique essential oil blends.

 

More and more people seem to be suffering from burnout these days—especially Singaporeans. What do you think the problem is?

I actually haven’t felt that way in years! Yes, I’ve noticed that there is this combination of physical and mental stress here—maybe because Singaporeans enjoy working long hours (laughs)? But I feel people don’t really have to put in all those long hours if they know exactly what needs to be done. For example, if you don’t know how to answer an email and you just sit in front of the screen for a long time, thinking of what to write, then it is pointless. Mentally, it becomes a strain, especially if you often get stuck in this kind of situation.

 

Any tips on how to prevent it?

Time management is key. We don’t have to do everything now; there is still tomorrow. When it hits 6 or 7pm, just close your laptop and go for a walk or a workout to decompress. You also need to have enough rest at night. We tend to spend too much time on our phones and on social media—and it’s really not beneficial to our health. Your eyes are tired, yet you keep looking through Facebook; you’ll just end up not sleeping well even after you’ve put away your phone. Personally, I don’t use social media much. I use to have a Facebook account, but I forgot the password, so I just don’t log in anymore!

 

(Related: How Skin Inc founder Sabrina Tan harnessed digital marketing and social media to grow successful skincare brand)

 

What about work-life balance? How can we achieve that?

I feel that you need to be skilled in what you’re doing or you won’t be efficient at work. Everyone should always constantly develop themselves; this increases your productivity so you’ll be able to get things done quickly and properly without all that going back and forth. Being able to maximise your time is also very important. You need to know what to do and what to delegate as it’s a constant juggling act between work, family, friends, and your own well-being.

 

Singapore, I think, has been slow to catch on when it comes to self-care. How do you think we can learn from other cultures in this aspect?

For the Thais, having quiet moments by practicing mediation or taking long walks is quite common. We pray and meditate before we go to bed, which I’ve found helps you fall into a deep sleep more quickly. This releases beta signals in your brain; that’s when the body has reached a state of total relaxation.

 

 

 

Thann products are all geared towards providing a look-good, feel-good experience for users. Does the new flagship store in Singapore build on that?

There are two key features of our Singapore store. The first is the element of nature; a vertical garden in the window display expresses the lushness of nature, and reflects our philosophy of using natural extracts and essential oils in our products. The second is the use of handicraft. If you look at the ceiling, you’ll see a big art piece; comprising four pieces that we joined together, it is made of bamboo and crafted by a famous artist in Thailand. The same artwork is found in the spa treatment room as well. To me, these elements uplift the spirit, as we derive joy not only from what we consume, but also from what we see and hear as well as the art that we’re surrounded by.

 

What are the Thann products you’d recommend that can help calm, de-stress, and revitalise the mind and body?

Our shower gels and shampoos! They transform a simple, daily routine into an indulgent pampering session.

 

THANN, #03-45 Paragon Shopping Centre

This article was originally published in Harpers Bazaar.