I was at Public Garden Flea Market a few weeks back and was surprised to chance upon a homegrown vegan lip balm brand by Teresa Foo from Balm Kitchen. Though this brand is very new, it has garnered many attention at the market. I spotted many ladies shopping and trying Teresa’s products. When I came closer, I realized why everyone was smitten. Firstly, her logo looks amazing and when I found out she hand drew it, my jaws dropped. Next, her product speaks volume with the smooth texture and creative scents she came up with herself. I particularly love the dark chocolate and green tea versions. I decided to check in with Teresa after the flea market with a short Q&A. She gamely accepted the questions and replied promptly.
1. When did you start Balm Kitchen?
Balm Kitchen went official in July 2014.
2. What was the first product you produced?
I started making lip balms to replace the ones I’ve used up. I have chapped lips and occasional cold sores and needed a good (all natural, plant base and vegan too) and effective lip balm to maintain healthy lips.
3. Is there a secret ingredient you must share about your product?
No secret ingredient at all. I believe in creating honest and reliable products that my customers can trust. Everything is listed under the ingredients list on the product labels.
4. How do you get inspirations for new flavours?
Ah. As for my lip balms, it has to be from the food we consume. The natural aroma is just wonderful and they are not supposed to linger for too long because their oils are very volatile. Most of my ingredients (except Mica-lip safe!) are edible ingredients. I love my teas (that’s why you see there are more tea inspired flavours in my lip balms and one more flavour out soon!). We seek comfort in our food and therefore I feel that naturally I should make lip balm flavours using our favourite ingredients i.e. chocolate, coffee, vanilla, etc.
For my body balms, I feel there are certain times of the day that we can use essential oils to adjust our moods. Therefore my body balms are categorised according to Uplifting- Orange and Vanilla (when you wake up or need to liven up your spirits), Balancing- Geranium and Rose (middle of the day or just need some beautiful flowery aroma) and Relaxing- Jasmine and Lavender (wind down after a day or to de-stress). The Au Natural body balm is unscented but has the natural aroma from the cocoa butter.
5, Where are you hoping to retail in the next 3 years?
I will continue to improve my products and I hope to extend my existing balms to an entire range of skincare. Currently, I am studying Holistic Cosmetology specialising in organic skincare and I want to eventually have my own shop space where I can retail my products, create bespoke skincare and also conduct workshops. I want to share my knowledge with everyone so that they can benefit from using all natural skincare.
6. Who would you love to see using your products?
Everyone and anyone who has lips and skin!LOL! I want to continue to educate everyone about using natural lip balms and body balms as our ski is the largest organ and whatever we put on the skin is as good as we are consuming it.
7. Is there a special tip to using your products which most people do not know?
Oh yes. My lip balms and body balms are multi-purpose balms besides using them on the lips and body.
- emergency face balm when your facial skin feels dry and tight
- as a cuticle cream
- as a baby bottom barrier to prevent nappy rash
- on your cracked and dry heels (exfoliation before applying balm is highly recommended)
- blister balm on your feet to reduce abrasions from shoes
- lubricant for your door hinges!!! (Just kidding with this last point! Maybe it works! LOL)
8.Can you layer lip balms?
Yes you can totally layer lip balms especially with Balm Kitchen lip balms. Ingredients such as castor oil and candelilla wax act as a barrier to prevent moisture loss (transepidermal water loss, TEWL) through our lips where the skin is quite thin. You can apply the lip balms when you go to bed at night and keep your lips well protected especially if you are sleeping in the air-conditioned room which is very dehydrating the lips and skin too.
9. Any misconceptions about your products you wish to clarify?
My products are made with all natural, plant based vegan ingredients and many may confused that natural would mean organic. Currently the only organic ingredients in my balms is the coconut oil. Although they are not all organic, I give the assurance to my customers that I only curate the highest quality ingredients for my balms. I am already working towards creating an all organic products in the near future as I write.
10. Will you always be doing vegan friendly products or only for your current range?
Yes and will continue for all future products i.e. no honey, beeswax and diary. I want everyone to be able to use my products. My goal is to have my products verified vegan and bunny approved and working towards it!
Currently, Teresa is participating in the Organic October/Make the switch event organised by Saferskin. She will give a $1 discount on all lip balms/shimmer lip balms and/or body balms when customers bring in their current lip products i.e. lip balm, lip gloss and/or body lotions, creams, etc, to her pop up store which she will post the details on her website, Facebook and Instagram. Offer is limited to one lip balm/shimmer lip balm and one body balm per customer. There is also FREE local shipping for all online purchases during this month long event. P/S: Teresa also shared that the shelf life of her products are good for a year as there is no water in the product hence there is lesser chance of them going bad.
I look forward to more creations from Teresa and I am pinching with joy that more homegrown labels like hers will be sold around the world! Support Local, Go Local and Try Local:)