Photograph: HYSSES; Kinohimitsu; Hegen

Made With Passion: For the mind, body and soul

When purpose, passion and wellness collide

Time Out Singapore in partnership with Singapore Brand Office

Self-care is a term that’s all too important this year. It’s not always easily accessible to everyone – especially in a busy city like Singapore. However, mindfulness and wellness have taken a bigger space in the spotlight. These stressful times have also given a boost to our local health and wellness scene. For three entrepreneurs, a strong calling to revolutionise the wellness industry pushed them to start something bigger than themselves.

And that's exactly the spirit the Made With Passion initiative – launched in November last year – aims to bring forward. By putting a spotlight on the local lifestyle brands that showcase the many facets of passion that go into creating the products Singaporeans enjoy today, Singapore Brand Office (SGBO), Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Enterprise Singapore (ESG) hope to inspire aspiring brand owners to turn their dreams into reality. There are various local brands championed as part of the Made With Passion initiative across many different pillars, but here are the homegrown names redefining beauty, wellness and self-care.

A mum on a mission: Hegen

Yvon Bock started her breastfeeding journey 16 years ago, and struggled with over 10 separate baby care products just for expressing, storing and feeding her breast milk. Armed with years of experience and the calling to help other new mothers, she set out on her mission to develop a revolutionary breastfeeding system, thus Hegen was born.

“I started thinking about creating an integrated system of baby products that can express, store and feed through a singular bottle, which forms the cornerstone of Hegen today,” she says. What started as a self-funded, bootstrapped company in 2015 has gone on to win numerous awards including the Singapore Good Design Mark 2019, SuperMom Award 2018, 2020 Stevie Awards and more. Hegen was also selected as the first and only Singapore brand to be on Alibaba’s 11.11 shopping festival year on year since 2017, reaching out to a larger customer base beyond physical stores. 

In fact, the company invented the world’s first Sqround™ (Square-Round) feeding bottle with no screw thread, and instead featuring a super-soft off-centre elliptical teat designed to prevent nipple confusion and colic. The foolproof interchangeable lid also uses a seamless feeding system that reduces wasteful transfer and spillage. Another invention is the world’s first massaging breast pump that draws inspiration from TCM cupping to help boost circulation and relieve engorgement.

Photograph: Hegen

Yvon’s advice to aspiring entrepreneurs? “Stay humble and never give up. Starting a new business is always a risk but having strong support from your work family and at-home family, plus having a positive attitude, is key to running a successful company or brand. It is not about the amount of resources we have but how resourceful you and your team are to stay nimble and agile to navigate through tough times.”

WHAT TO BUY First-time mothers should invest in a complete starter kit ($150), which allows mums to express, store and feed within a single container with no wasteful transfer of milk. All you have to do is attach the breast pump to the adapter to express directly into the Hegen PCTO Breast Milk Storage PPSU, then swap the lid with a Hegen PCTO Breast Milk Storage Lid, instantly converting it into an air-tight storage container. and Shopee

Sharing nature’s gifts: HYSSES

Sharing nature’s gifts: HYSSES

HYSSES – then called Mt Sapola – started from one small store in Tanglin Mall. Now, there are 14 outlets in Singapore and four in Malaysia, with the brand distributing to Australia, UK, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. 

How the brand started was a serendipitous occurrence. While at a tradeshow in Thailand on a personal quest for all-natural aromatherapy products, founder Cheryl Gan stumbled across her entrepreneurial vision. She met a local supplier and together, they forayed into Thailand and Singapore's aromatherapy retail scene with their brand, then named Mt Sapola.

“HYSSES started with a simple vision of sharing nature’s gifts with the world on the therapeutic benefits of aromatherapy,” says Cheryl. “Throughout the journey, we developed upon customer's feedback and review and started to widen our range of products to skincare, body care, cosmetics, lifestyle and home while maintaining the brand's belief in using only natural ingredients and essential oils as holistic therapy.” 

Photograph: HYSSES

With a name that translates to 'Arts From The Village', the label draws upon the benefits of pure essential oils and the finest natural botanical ingredients that provide healing and nourishment for the skin and hair. Star products include a body wash with ginger and peppermint extracts and the Charcoal Volcanic Mask Tea Tree Hinoki which has been powered with volcanic ashes that have magnetic-like absorption capabilities to pull out unwanted gunk underneath clogged pores. 

Truly made in Singapore, all of HYSSES’ products are also developed in their R&D lab here. 

“Remain open-minded, listen and watch out for trends,” Cheryl let us in on her formula to success. Moving forward, she and her team hopes for more overseas expansion as well as embracing new technology as part of the brand’s DNA. She is also excited to be part of the ‘Made With Passion’ initiative and is looking forward to the synergistic partnerships. 

“We are proud to be in this city fueled with passion and pride, and it is so important that we come together as a community at this time,” she says. 

WHAT TO BUY Freshen up your home with the Home Scent Reed Diffuser in Lemongrass ($39.90) or Bergamot Frankincense ($49.90), or treat yourself to the Body Wash in Ginger Peppermint ($25.90). and Shopee

Botanical medicine traditions from around the world: Kinohimitsu

It all started with a team of scientists and passionate botanic health activists venturing into the rainforest in search of new plants and herbs. During which, they discovered the secret of plant life and healing properties of plants that are vital to the body’s self-regulating system. In 1998, Kinohimitsu was established. 

“The concept of a functional beauty drink was relatively new in Singapore, but has been well established in Japan for years. We recognised the potential for this market in Singapore where Japanese concepts were well received,” says a representative from Kinohimitsu. “From the use of a medical-grade bottle, ingredients sourced to the innovative formula targeting Asian skin, we wanted to offer something that we can proudly claim as Singaporean.” 

Kinohimitsu’s products bring the magical healing properties of plants into the mainstream market, making use of natural active plant-extracted ingredients such as royal jelly, perilla seed extract and more. Each product is 100 percent natural with no added sugar, preservatives, artificial colouring, flavouring and chemicals.

Photograph: Kinohimitsu

It wasn’t a bed of roses, however. When the founders saw the potential of functional collagen drinks, it was way ahead of its time. The general public was not particularly well informed on the concept of drinkable collagen supplements and was initially sceptical. But through the word of mouth, content marketing and education through the brand’s beauty advisor’s, Kinohimitsu’s products have grown immensely in popularity over the years and have now become a household name. In 2012, the brand won the Beverage Innovation Award against global powerhouses like Coca Cola and Meiji, an important milestone which propelled the Singapore brand onto the international stage. 

WHAT TO BUY Nourish your skin and organs with age-defying, powerful ingredients with the Kinohimitsu Marine Collagen ($119.80 for a two-month supply). It's densed with star ingredients such as marine collagen, green caviar, formosa ruby, and Vitamin C to improve the connective tissue throughout the body. and Shopee


Made With Passion
Photograph: Made With Passion

With soul, passion and purpose

Hegen, HYSSES and Kinohimitsu are just some of the brands under the Made With Passion (MWP) initiative, a joint venture between The Singapore Brand Office and the Singapore Tourism Board, supported by Enterprise Singapore. The initiative spans a total of 48 local lifestyle brands across four lifestyle categories: beauty & wellness, fashion & accessories, homeware & decor, and packaged F&B. Some names include Gryphon Tea, Brass Lion Distillery, Commune Lifestyle, ipse ipsa ipsum and Love Bonito. 

In promoting the local lifestyle brands which epitomise the Singapore spirit of turning ideas into reality, Made With Passion aims to inspire everyday Singaporeans to pursue their own dreams to turn their passions into a reality. The initiative also aspires to raise consumer awareness and appreciation for homegrown brands in Singapore. 

Savour more of such stories via the Made With Passion website, Facebook, and Instagram page, which plays home to a slew of uniquely local brands. Whether you’re shopping online or in-store, be sure to look out for the Made With Passion brand mark to identify items that truly embody the Singapore spirit. 

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