1st November 2016

Spreading their wings |THE EDGE

It's a love story for the ages — the tale of how Mr.CK Low, then a young banker become the Managing Director of Skin Essentials, owns the well-known HerbaLine Facial Spa chain, and met the love of his life. Mr. Low’s wife was a beautician working at a parlour, and so he besotted and faithfully spent all his weekends helping her out at the store. One fine day, the couple asked themselves, “Why not we embark on our own endeavor?” And the rest is history. 

What started out as a small beauty salon located inside a hair salon quickly grew into a number of parlours in various shopping malls offering their own range of made-in-Taiwan beauty products. The main inspiration that motivated Low is the story of how one of the global Fast-Food chains made their profits not just from retailing food products, but real estate investment and properties management as well. 

It was a lightbulb moment, and the HerbaLine brand soon found its niche in the trendy, modern spa arena housed in homes located along busy streets that were easily converted into businesses lots. HerbaLine not only sells its own brand of facial products and offers a variety of spa services, the company also owns an array of properties in the Klang Valley that were once residential but now successfully converted into commercial lots. To date, the company owns 28 branches throughout Malaysia and a further 32 are run by franchisees.

“I believe that in everyone’s life, there is always opportunity knocking on them and it depends on how well that person grasp the chance and make a life changing moment. It was in 2006 when we noticed that in many developed countries — for example Korea, Japan, Taiwan — a lot of Medical Practitioners had gone into beauty and facial industry,” Low explains. “We saw this as an upcoming challenge and we must do something to get ourselves prepared to be in the front line, otherwise we would be lagged behind. This is one of the reasons for our innovation and changing our business model.”

With determination and persistence, Low turned a challenge into a success opportunity. Low rented all three floors of a corner shop lot in Pandan Indah, Cheras and started a brand-new concept store by fully utilising the space. Soon after that, he rented the lot next door as well and transforms the space into one massive three-storey store.

Within this building lies the Mama Kim Sauna Mee café, which serves a variety of healthy dishes based mainly on vegetables and small portion of meat. The chefs do not use preservatives and rely instead on the natural ingredients to create healthy and delicious meals. 

The building also houses the HerbaLine Facial Spa and the brand-new Sojourn Guest House, which functions as a relaxing getaway for people to luxuriate and enjoy a laid-back moment.

“We always work on to price our services and products in a reasonable and affordable range. My wife, Kim, and I are not from an affluent background. Most people like to go for a luxurious holiday at a Five-Star hotel or resort but not many can afford it. We want everyone to be able to enjoy the lavish experience and hence we went to a few of the best hotels to do our research,” says Low. 

Low then brought the exclusive experience of top spa hotels around the world to his customers at drastically reduced rates. The rooms are tastefully decorated to exude a homely feel whilst emanating a certain level of quality, and are priced from RM98 to RM168 per night. 

For Low, the sky is truly the limit. The company is planning to open several similar “staycation” concept facilities such as this one, based on the slogan “Live Well, Look Well, Eat Well”, where city dwellers can enjoy a getaway close to home, be pampered and savour healthy and scrumptious cuisine.