Carol Chen is one of the lady’s strengths. It has built five different companies in four countries and is now on a mission to create “the best face masks in the world” in our new epidemiological reality.
Her latest work, mask, Quickly built from her apartment, just one week before Circuit Breaker was imposed in April 2020.
It scrambled to assemble everything on its own, and today, Maskela has grown into a global brand. It ships to over 15 countries around the world, and you’ve earned more than $ 10,000 in just one day of online sales.
According to Carol, it is one of Singapore’s first pure fashion mask brands with The largest collection with over 100 designer styles, focusing only on fashion masks and mask related products.
It recently landed a contract to sell its masks at US luxury retailer Neiman Marcus, making Maskela the first Singaporean mask brand to do so. Her masks have also been seen on the list of celebs like Lady Gaga and Sarah Jessica Parker, among others.
She always had a thing about fashion
At the age of seven, Carol was already Making dresses For herself from blankets and safety pins. As a child, she would spend all of her free time drawing dresses or styling her siblings, so it was imperative that she obtain a degree in Fashion Design.
“I love fashion as a way to express myself and help build confidence, but I’m not a big fan of trends or over-materialism,” she said.
Advancing age, I always felt insecure About her appearance and capabilities. She tried to overcome this by learning how to look together, giving her best of everything that she did and constantly looking for ways to improve herself.
This eventually led to a lot of confidence-boosting milestones, such as winning the beauty pageant, which gradually helped her feel more comfortable in her own skin as she developed her personal strength and identity.
Last year, Carol did Winning Singapore Stories 2020, A fashion design competition organized by the Federation of Textiles and Fashion (TaFF). The win gave her a first runway appearance at Paris Fashion Week, an exhibition of her designs at the Museum of Asian Civilizations, and a chance to retail with a fashion-focused Asian retailer.
Just like the way Mascela started, she entered a fashion contest based on an instant instinct. Despite having a background in modeling and working in the fashion industry most of her life, she is not a complete fashion designer.
Acknowledging her rusty design skills, she said she was up against talented and reputable fashion designers in Singapore. However, she was not alarmed and kept creating beautiful designs out of recycled fabric for the competition that won the jury’s admiration and approval.
Along with Maskella, she has now launched her own brand named Carol Chen.
A serial entrepreneur
Born in the US, Carol comes from an entrepreneurial family, so being her boss was a natural step for her.
Its first business was a Los Angeles-based clothing brand that was eventually shut down due to the weakening US economy. The second is an upbeat consolidated company that is currently still thriving under its co-founder. Then there was also a mixed martial arts (MMA) brand that she did with her ex-boyfriend before their split.
It wasn’t always easy, but it wasn’t difficult either because I take such a high degree of risk and discomfort. All you need is an optimistic attitude, a lot of flexibility, and a strong belief in yourself.
The initial capital can come from savings and investors, but I believe that if you have a good business idea and willpower, your path will open up and the resources will come to your aid.
– Carol Chen, Mascela Foundation
She explained that the reason she emerged from her own safety bubble at home to start working in unknown places is because she believes the world has a lot to offer.
Some of the moves were out of love, some were out of necessity, and some were just because she wanted a new adventure. There are so many wonderful places and wonderful opportunities around the world that it feels like it would be a shame to stay in one place.
She moved to Singapore for love, but ended up falling in love with the country itself.
She said the friendly, efficient and trustworthy regulatory and bureaucratic environment in Singapore is very conducive to setting up and operating a business. Now, it plans to be based in Singapore for the foreseeable future.
Maskela seems to have become a hit overnight
Just before Maskela, Carol ran Cofitella In Singapore, a designer dress rental store allows women to borrow and purchase dresses, or customize dresses. Unfortunately, Covetella has had to suspend operations since March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
She decided to close the showroom and shift her focus to Maskela. With events canceled last year, she saw it made no sense for her to continue to pay rent indefinitely when there was no demand for their services. In fact, she still has several distinct gowns in storage that remain unused.
Speaking about the birth of Maskela, she said that at the beginning of the epidemic, masks were not mandatory, but she still wanted to wear masks to protect herself.
Surgical masks were the only option at the time, and as a fashion stylist, I was embarrassed to wear them because they were so ugly. This was how I came up with the idea of cutting some unused Covetella dresses to make aesthetically pleasing face masks.
About a week later, Singapore announced the circuit breaker and was striving to get everything it needed as soon as possible to build a business from its apartment.
All fabric stores and factories were closed during that time, so it was very difficult to obtain suppliers of raw materials and expand production.
Maskela was one of the hardest businesses I have ever created because I was stuck at home and the country was locked down. But out of sheer willpower, this still happens.
– Carol Chen, Mascela Foundation
Then she set out to hire three trainees who worked with her outside of her living room. It has only taken two months since the electric circuit has yielded six-figure revenues.
They also have a lot of corporate orders that have brought in significant revenue. Property management company Frasers Hospitality has ordered thousands of masks for all of its global hotels. Other famous clients include Bulgari, Skin Inc, 1880, Design Orchard, Taff, Tendel and Neiman Marcus.
Today, Maskela has become the most comprehensive single-mask mask, selling everything related to a mask: mask chains, mask clips, mask sterilizers, mask filters, and mask gift sets.
What made him such a success
True to Carroll’s commitment to building socially and environmentally responsible businesses, just like Covetella, Maskela’s origin is rooted in sustainability. Their initial masks were recycled from pieces of Covetella’s old dresses.
Even today, most of their patterns are made from the remaining fabrics which means that once the weaving is finished, they cannot produce more – this makes their limited edition masks really rare.
I had the right product at the right time. I was one of the first brands in Singapore to make fashion masks in March 2020 and I have consistently worked to ensure that it is the best mask I can make in terms of quality, comfort and design.
You have also spent time building the brand itself so that it also has value. There are tons of masks, but you don’t see as many as Maskela, and our high repeat customer rate proves that we do something right. We also pack our masks like gifts to encourage people to buy them for their loved ones to keep them safe and stylish.
– Carol Chen, Mascela Foundation
She also shared tips on her successful marketing strategies for consumer goods. The first is to create a superior product and service that speaks for itself. When people like it, they will market it to you through word of mouth.
The second is the launch of a digital marketing campaign through social media, influencer engagement, content creation, as well as the use of traditional marketing strategies via PR and partnerships.
For Maskela, search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) wasn’t really available as an option because Facebook and Google initially banned anything related to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), so they had to rely on other creative ways to spread their brand. over there.
She invested in hiring a reputable public relations firm in the US to have her masks worn by celebrities and influencers. This is important for creating the luxury brand image for your target market audience.
It targets the elites and people on the first list to ensure higher profit margins that make their business more worthwhile.
Climbing to be the best luxury mask in the world
According to Carol, her goal for Maskela is to become the best luxury mask brand in the world.
It plans to expand its offerings to include a larger and more diversified market in use cases, citing examples such as masks for men and children. She also wants to offer more wedding masks, mask accessories, as well as more customizable options. The list is endless for her.
Even when the pandemic ends, Carol feels that people will continue to be health conscious, so they are looking to launch a range of hand sanitizers and travel gadgets, as well as integrating other protective products like sunglasses.
Right now, Carol wants to take things one step at a time, but she totally believes in herself that when the time is right, she will know what to do, as she has proven herself time and time again.
“I put myself in situations that I know I can shine in. Doing anything is difficult, so you have to play where you can win. To make up for my weaknesses, I surround myself with people better than me and try to learn from them.”
Her advice to other women around the world who want to do their own things is simple: start with a small step and take one step at a time, but never wait until you feel “ready” because you never will be.
Just follow your heart and know that if it doesn’t work, this isn’t the end of the world – you’ll just have some good stories to tell. Don’t be afraid of failure, embrace it as an opportunity to learn and grow.
Life is short, so it is best to do what you can when you can. I also think that if you are going to do something you should do it well and give it your best. Otherwise, why would you do that at all?
– Carol Chen, Mascela Foundation
Featured image credit: Carol Chen