Spa Esprit Group
Company Profile - Spa Esprit Group
Cynthia Chua, the founder of the Spa Esprit Group, has been successfully applying the traits of creativity and artistry to her entrepreneurial endeavours since 1996. Her lifestyle empire now comprises 18 brands across the beauty, lifestyle and food and beverage industries such as Strip, Browhaus, Forty Hands, Tippling Club and Tiong Bahru Bakery.
The Group has expanded to over 100 locations globally in cities such as Bangkok, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Here are some key factors behind Chua’s success.
Give customers what they don’t know they want yet
As a relentless entrepreneur with a spirit of inventiveness, Chua is never afraid to introduce new ideas to give customers what they do not know they want yet. She introduced concepts such as natural wine bar Drunken Farmer, farm-to-table dining experiences Noka and Open Farm Community, gluten-free eatery The Butcher’s Wife, as well as women’s intimate-care products Two Lips.
From local to global
Chua made an effort to fully understand the local market and turned a business idea into reality in Singapore, before expanding overseas. In a new environment such as when Chua first opened Ministry of Waxing in London, she had to devote much time at the store to solve the problems on the ground. Having a great concept alone was not sufficient to compete globally. A strong team as well as being sufficiently flexible to tweak the business practices to fit new environments were vital.
The pursuit of excellence
Chua’s pursuit of excellence with passion, creativity and tenacity has driven her to expand her brands globally. The concepts of Strip and Browhaus became popular worldwide from Singapore and Shanghai to New York and London. Chua’s curiosity and her love for travelling, reading as well as innovation have contributed to her success.
It is not easy to pioneer a new concept. It requires constant hard work and tenacity. The journey of innovation and improvement is never-ending. Chua has a vision to achieve what she desires and believes wholeheartedly in it. This keeps the entrepreneur going no matter how difficult it gets.
Do not be a cookie-cutter
Despite numerous stores worldwide, every store has a unique interior concept along with creative, fun campaigns to ensure that the customer will have an exciting experience at each visit. Every detail counts to appeal to a sensory experience including the smell, look, feel and sound of the store.
The importance of training
Employee training is very important when it comes to delivering consistent customer experiences in local outlets as well as global stores. For example, all Strip therapists undergo a training programme lasting six to eight weeks in its Singapore Training Academy before they serve their first customer. They are annually re-certified to ensure that their skills stay relevant. Mystery shopping exercises are engaged to audit the performance of each store.
Chua and her team keep a lookout for customer feedback and what people are saying. This helps the Group improve services, recognise the signs of market change, and even spot nascent lifestyle trends.
“Cynthia Chua”. Accessed May 2, 2022. https://www.tatlerasia.com/people/cynthia-chua
“Pride of SG: 5 Singaporean Companies Celebrated Everywhere”. Accessed May 2, 2022. https://content.mycareersfuture.gov.sg/pride-sg-5-singaporean-companies-celebrated-everywhere
Tan, Theresa. (2020, April-June). “The Journey of a Lifestyle Maverick”. https://nus.edu.sg/alumnet/thealumnus/issue-121/people/pursuit-of-excellence/the-journey-of-a-lifestyle-maverick