BelleTerra Beauty Hong Kong: Healthy skin with quality ingredients
Check out our local brand interview with Belleterra Beauty, a Hong Kong skincare brand offering face serums that are healthy and works to improve your skin’s health. Their ingredients are fully transparent and detailed benefits are listed on their Instagram posts. Have you found your go-to skincare brand yet?
Tell us about your business! What inspired you to start this journey?
Brittany: “Belleterra Beauty defines true beauty in health and loving your own skin. We take a 360 approach to skin health and aim to provide healthy, easy-to-use formulas that focus entirely on unlocking the skin’s natural ability to regenerate and repair itself with the boost of skincare you can trust. Our skin is the most important and impressive organ of our bodies, and its ability to heal and protect us is what makes us remarkable. With stress, dehydration, environmental damage, and ageing, our skin is working overtime to ensure we’re well protected, but it’s our job to take care of our skin as it takes care of us. Acne, blackheads, wrinkles, and sunspots are a few ways our skin tells us that it needs help!
We believe in the importance of knowing exactly what we’re putting on your skin and being transparent with our customers empowering them with the knowledge to help them understand how to love their skin. We use quality ingredients that are powerful and thoughtfully put into our formulas to ensure radiant, healthy, and youthful-looking skin. The better we take care of our skin, the better it will care for us.
To know how it started, we have to start from the very beginning:
It actually all started when I was little. I had severe eczema, so my skin was always dry and irritated. I just remember my skin burning with pain and itchiness, and no matter how many topical or oral medications I took, it never got better. I was a pretty active and healthy kid, yet I constantly had to go to the doctors for my skin, which was unbearable. The doctors would give me allergy pills and steroid cream! It shocks me now thinking back to how long I’ve had to use steroid creams, not realizing then how harmful it was to my skin! It would relieve my irritations for the first few days, and then an even worse flare-up would occur soon after. The steroids thinned my skin so much it only made me rely on it more. It was a vicious cycle. I later also developed acne, which was insane to me because I didn’t understand how I could have dry skin (eczema) and still get acne!
Back then, I thought acne only occurred when people had oily skin. The same cycle happened when doctors would prescribe me topical antibiotics, which would worsen over time. Despite having had bad skin for most of my life, I never got over feeling so self-conscious, and I didn’t feel comfortable socializing and doing the things I loved for fear of people judging me and how bad my skin was. It wasn’t anyone’s fault for making me feel this way; it was just how I saw myself. This is where it all changed for me.
I met with a french dermatologist in Thailand and spent the next two years studying ingredients and understanding how our skin works. I was determined to improve my skin’s health without relying on medication because my skin had deteriorated so much from all the medicines. I was sick of using creams that smelt medicinal and felt terrible too! I was envious of my mum having the luxury of using Chanel, Dior, and other skincare brands. The fragrance and formulas irritated my skin every time I tried to pamper myself with those products, and it just felt unfair. I was upset that my skin wasn’t responding to high-end products when their formulas should be the best. I only later learned that high-end doesn’t exactly mean healthy.
Just because things smell good and feel good doesn’t mean they’re safe or actually work to improve the skin’s overall health. After tireless days and endless nights of studying and working with dermatologists, we developed the right formula that focuses solely on improving skin health while also having the luxury of feeling amazing on the skin and smelling great. We believe in 3 simple steps.
Cleanse – Making sure our skin is clean
Treat – Improve the skin’s health
Protect – Protect from future damage
Each formula was carefully curated to ensure that I could confidently use it on my sensitive skin, knowing that it was improving my skin with every application and still feeling luxurious, that’s how BelleTerra Beauty was created.
Tell us about your journey as an entrepreneur: what knowledge did you use from your previous experiences?
I’ve worked in a few industries ranging from fashion with Jimmy Choo, GUESS, a PR firm, an investment holdings firm, and worked in a startup that works with companies to improve their cognitive, strategic, and practical processes in development. So it’s safe to say I’ve changed industries quite a bit. One main thing I’ve learned is that the quality of the business and end result is heavily determined by the quality of your relationships with the following:
Employees: Are the ones putting hours of work into making your company succeed, and with a good relationship, you understand their strengths and play to that, and in turn, they understand and want to help you achieve your goal. If there is a disconnect and you have bad relationships with your employees, they don’t care about the end result but just want to get it done because you, “the boss,” said so.
Manufacturers: It is tricky to have a good relationship with manufacturers because it’s hard to find a good one. Once you do find one, it’s essential to maintain that relationship because your whole business may be on the line! It’s natural for businesses to have hiccups, so help them help you. With mutual understanding and trust, things will run a lot more smoothly.
Customers: When you develop relationships with clients, it’s a complete game-changer because you get a real insight into what they actually want. As customers, they’re telling you exactly what they want from you and when they’re happy with your product or service. It’s the best insight you could ask for.
Starting out as an entrepreneur, no matter what I did, I made sure to choose wisely and work with people I trust and can build strong relationships with because if not, I know from my past experiences that the customers will suffer too. Happy work-life, happy customers.
What's the biggest challenge you faced so far?
When I first started, my team was so excited to share and sell the formula that clearly changed my skin and argued that I should just test the formulas out in the market first. We got customers through word of mouth, and the feedback was great! The plan was to make sure the customers liked the formula as much as I did and could really see the difference in how quality ingredients and the attention to detail in the formulas set us apart. Despite the amazing feedback, the problem was that all the time and money was spent on research & development. No marketing, no branding, no packaging. When I started getting more and more customers, it was hard to suddenly stop and think, “Okay, I’m so proud of the products, but this is not all Belleterra has to offer.”
My idea of the brand was to redefine how we saw beauty and educate and empower people to know how to better care for their skin. Still, with no time spent fully developing the brand, I felt disconnected from my customers except when I got the chance to read the feedback or speak to them in person.
The challenge is that when you’re in the business of helping people and building their confidence, you have to be confident about everything about the company. I can tell you with complete confidence that I know the formulas are healthy, safe, and effective while feeling luxurious on the skin, but at the start, I couldn’t say I loved my brand. I didn’t even have a brand! I realized that I had to stay true to myself and take the time to develop what Belleterra Beauty stood for and find a space to show what we do and why we do it. Long story short, you can put in all this hard work into creating a product, but not having the time and putting in the effort to showcase how or why it works and show what the brand stands for made me feel disconnected from the customers no matter how great the feedback.
What's something important you learnt along the way?
I’ve learned to not let the pressure of others affect me and to follow my gut. No one is going to know and understand your brand as well as you do. It’s important to note that even the naysayers try to be helpful but first consider what people are saying. Then reevaluate whether it makes sense to you or do they not understand your vision and goals. I often get advice on how things are typically done. For me, there has been a lot of obstacles, but not once has my gut let me down, and I can definitely say “I told you so” to a lot of the advice I went against starting out. I live by the saying “buy cheap buy twice”, and going with my gut and not skimping out on the research and development was the best decision I’ve ever made. I wouldn’t be here today confident and loving my skin if I didn’t take the time and money to find the right ingredients to heal my skin back to health.
What cultures/previous experiences helped to shape your vision?
I grew up and lived in Hong Kong and lived in New York and London. Pre covid I often took short weekend trips to Thailand. It’s funny how each place defines beauty differently: pale skin, tanned, heavy makeup, or light, small or large facial features, etc. Despite the difference in how each culture defines facial beauty, one thing remains constant. “Clear skin is beauty”. For me, and I’m sure many would agree, beauty is kindness, generosity, and love. I thrive on running my business in the same manner and even in my skincare routine, using the products made with love and intention. We aren’t all that different when you think about how everyone’s skin has the same function to protect us. My previous experiences in different cultures have not shaped what I view as beautiful since I think all skin is gorgeous. Still, it’s definitely made me aware that nothing beats healthy-looking skin and widened my vision of how important skin health is even to the superficial eye.
Can you share a tip with us for people who are on the same journey?
“General advice I can give other than “follow your gut” and “buy cheap, buy twice” would be to “say less do more“. It seems really simple, but I notice that a lot of people like to talk about what they’re going to do and get all excited, only to lose the enthusiasm soon after and find a new thing to say they’ll do. I forgot where I read this, but a book I read a while back explained that one of the biggest reasons so many of us don’t stick to our new year’s resolution is that we can’t stop talking about it and have a whole year to procrastinate. When we keep talking about our goals, our brain releases endorphins, almost rewarding us for simply talking about it when we haven’t even achieved it! I am definitely the type of person who needs to talk to get my thoughts straight, but I keep it to a small group of close friends, and once I discuss it with people I trust, I immediately make sure to put it into action before I allow myself to lose momentum.
This brings me to my last tip, having a really supportive group of friends and family makes a world of difference. Starting a business can be challenging, but it seems to roll over and become minor when the support around you encourages you to see the bigger picture, and in my case is giving people the luxury of loving their skin.”
We can definitely resonate with that in Our Home Kong journey and other marketing adventures!
Review from Our Home Kong Editor:
“I’ve used this everyday for 2 weeks now and it definitely feels like a treat for my skin. It makes my skin feel hydrated and plump. A lot of other skincare brands I’ve tried may either be sticky, too oily or leave an unnatural film on my face. With this Triple Repair Face Serum, it feels very natural (no film left on the face) and you feel the smoothness with your hands after.
What I love about it is that you can use it as an eye cream as well. This is when you know the stuff going on your face is healthy and good for you! The texture is perfect to give your eyes and face a mini facial massage.”