Pauline Ng is a self-professed dreamer. A risk averse entrepreneur, the Founder and Managing Director of Porcelain The Face Spa plunged head first into the skincare business at the age of 23.
“Porcelain connotes transparency, openness, integrity and beauty. Like our skin, porcelain is also fragile. Yet, there is luminosity.”
Given Singapore’s humidity, I perspire a lot. I trudge up a row of heritage shophouses, lugging a work bag with me. A sweat moustache forms and my makeup is beginning to smudge. I heave a sigh of relief when Number 15 appears in front of me.
Regaining my composure, I knock the office door – a wave of homeliness hits me. “Come in,” beckons Pauline, with a megawatt smile.
I gingerly step in and scan the flurry of activity on the office floor. No one is showing any signs of slowing down despite it being late afternoon already. Like clockwork, the Porcelain team gets the job done. They also maintain a helpful disposition one expects from a beauty service. Led into Pauline’s room, we plonk ourselves down, flanked by two minders on each side of the table.
“Have you always been into beauty and facials?” I began. Pauline laughs and replies, “Growing up, I was a boyish figure. I grew up around boys, never dolled up. I was actually drawn to the science of beauty, how it makes us look and feel. Over the years, I realised the difference we can make in customers’ lives.”
Carving a delicate niche
I quiz Pauline about the name “Porcelain”. It embodies an enigmatic quality that’s different from mainstream brands alluding to French origins and hardcore aesthetics. With a sheepish smile, Pauline reveals the boyish nature she spoke of.
“I drew inspiration from vampire novels,” she explains, conscious that this fact does not resonate well with industry insiders. “And porcelain skin was an often mentioned description.”
“Porcelain does embody what we are trying to achieve in skincare. It connotes transparency, integrity and beauty. Porcelain gives structure to a traditionally made vase. Like our skin, the material is fragile. Yet, there is luminosity. Porcelain is the culture and heart of the company.”
Maintaining high operating standards, Pauline adopts a back-to-basics marketing approach. Valuing consistency, she invests time and effort in building the team because facial skills are a form of craftsmanship. The same equipment used by two different therapists can reap varying results.
“Everyone has lopsided faces. It is important we put in our heart to customise the best results for customers,” Pauline affirms. “By consistently outdoing themselves, we improve the quality of our service.”
Experiencing The Face Spa
I think back to my first encounter with Porcelain The Face Spa at Orchard Gateway. I just returned from Hong Kong where the weather was cooler and environmental pollution harsher than Singapore. The signature Oxy Revive came at the right time for a deep cleanse and reveal a radiant glow, leaving me extremely pampered.
I laid down on a heated facial bed chair, dusty pink undertones and plush grey interiors defining a relaxing space in the heart of a hip and trendy shopping district. The therapist gently examined my facial skin; her hands were smooth, steady, and non-invasive. I felt my body ease as she soothed my cheeks and grasped firmly the temples to cleanse micro-impurities.
The science of beauty
However, facials are facing increasing competition from laser treatments and other invasive procedures.
Acknowledging a fragmented landscape, Pauline readily substantiates that Porcelain boasts medical grade facial equipment. Porcelain stays ahead of the curve by ensuring that the machines are best utilised to help customers. “Our skin is very smart. It can repair itself, regenerate and do lots on its own. Our products and technology are here to encourage rather than disrupt that.”
“That’s the whole philosophy at Porcelain,” Pauline emphasises. “We understand the skin from inside out. With so many therapists, we have the luxury to look at different skin types and continuously improve our products and services. We want to understand skin with our knowledge and extractions.”
Epitome of “garang”
At this point, I am convinced that Pauline’s warm energy and purposeful character will stand Porcelain in good stead, despite starting Porcelain at 23 years old, eight years ago.
“I was young, silly and planted head-first because it was fun,” the vivacious lady exclaims. This is the epitome of garang, the Singlish word meaning bold and fearless.
Sensing my disbelief, Pauline quietens: “Entrepreneurship is a lot lonelier. You figure things out yourself, consume your life with work and lose a bit of friends. But I enjoy it. At 13 years old, I wrote that I wanted to start my own business. So I kind of already knew. Subconsciously, this led me to pick my majors at university.”
To her 13-year-old self, Pauline advises, “Don’t be so ‘emo’ – believe that starting my own business was something I wanted to do. Things will be fine. It is okay to be silly and dream big!”
Besides Porcelain The Face Spa, Porcelain Signatures is a beauty hangout to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, in the heart of the city. With an oasis of calm, one can soothe the senses and restore facial skin back to the pink of health.