A Breath Of Fresh Air

Kelly Keak On Refreshing A 30-Year-Old Skincare Brand While Sticking To Its Signature Aesthetic

mtm labo’s Managing Director shares with us the reason behind the brand’s revamp and more.

Kelly Keak On Refreshing A 30-Year-Old Skincare Brand While Sticking To Its Signature Aesthetic
mtm labo's Managing Director, Kelly Keak.

For almost 30 years, MTM Skincare has been recognised for its soft and feminine aesthetic. Why did you decide to call for a rebranding only now, when the brand has reached its 30 year mark?

The world has changed so much over the last two years, especially with the onset of COVID-19. The pandemic has affected many people, and I believe that this is also the right time for our brand to change while reflecting our values of supporting and building confident individuals.

To celebrate 30 years of helping build confident people, we decided to go for a refreshing look that is minimalistic and calming, yet bold. I also thought that it is important that we keep the aesthetic clean and simple. Life is challenging as it is, so we prefer to steer away from fancy and complicated marketing.

Part of the rebranding is changing the name “MTM Skincare” to “mtm labo.” “Labo” stands for laboratory, and this change is to highlight how much R&D and science goes into the development of our skincare products with our unique custom-blended skincare solutions. Ultimately, we hope to continue delivering visible results for our clients, old and new.

Some things will remain the same, including our core values and staff. The brand has already built a large following of loyal customers over the years, so it is important that they can continue to enjoy the mtm experience with our consultants and beauticians whom they’ve grown familiar with. That way, we can ensure that neither existing customers nor staff will feel isolated from the new brand image.

For new customers, we hope you can also take this chance to experience our change, as we grow with you and your needs over time.

Renowned Japanese graphic designer, Kenya Hara, played a huge role in mtm labo's rebranding.
Renowned Japanese graphic designer, Kenya Hara, played a huge role in mtm labo’s rebranding.

We also learnt that you worked closely with acclaimed Japanese graphic designer Kenya Hara on this rebranding. How did the relationship begin, and what ideas were discussed and exchanged before coming up with this?

The relationship began when we read an article about Mr Hara and his design philosophy. Upon deeper research and studying his works, we knew he is the best fit to be in charge of this design revamp. Mr Hara’s idiosyncratic designs often reflect his unique perspective of the world and have always inspired individualistic conversations. This deeply resonates with our brand image of customising individual skincare solutions for each of our clients.

After four years of close collaboration as well as understanding the science behind our products, brand values and custom-blended skincare philosophy, Mr Hara has managed to present a timeless brand image for mtm labo. The use of a deep green colour reminds us that going natural is always best. It also represents the use of botanical extracts in our custom-blending which help to nourish the skin and address the specific skincare needs of our customers with nature’s gifts.

mtm labo's Custom Blend Eye Mask - One of Keak's top picks from mtm labo.
mtm labo’s Custom Blend Eye Mask – One of Keak’s top picks from mtm labo.

We noticed that despite its shift in direction, the brand still maintains its sophisticated and zen identity. Why is this signature aesthetic important for the mtm brand?

Life is full of complications, and I believe that the best way to face our daily challenges is with a calm and sound mind.

Furthermore, the pandemic has forced us to stay at home more now than ever. This has a profound impact on our mental health, so it’s important to me that everyone takes care of themselves. Otherwise, how else can we take care of others?

From formulas to packaging, our skincare products and routines are designed to bring you a sense of zen through simplicity, allowing you break free from daily stresses. The products’ efficacy, elegant textures and natural scents are also helpful in rebuilding your confidence and strengthening your mind.

Solar Shield Plus SPF50+ PA+++, another product from mtm labo that Keak highly recommends.
Solar Shield Plus SPF50+ PA+++, another product from mtm labo that Keak highly recommends.

Another aspect of the brand that you maintained is its customised blending. Instead of encouraging customers and clients to purchase new formulas every time their skin changes, you’re now allowing them to return and have their current products re-formulated on the spot. What was the motivation behind this move and how do you think this will help the environment?

We believe that everyone’s skin has their own unique characteristics. But your skin condition will always change with age, the environment you’re in and the lifestyle that you lead.

We start by tracking our clients’ unique skin traits with our technology through a first-time consultation, and thereafter using philosophy inspired by oriental botanical applications to carefully select plant extracts which address individual needs. When this is complemented by our customised combination treatments, your journey into authentic beauty is complete. From there, we will journey together with you through different times of your life, helping you to customise and re-customise the right blends and solutions through various stages of your life. Sustainable skincare is not just about making purchases, but making them work for your skin and showing results at every age. This has been our mantra since day one.

The motivation behind this is my mother, Dr Susan Teng, who was inspired by an incident during her first foray into the beauty industry. After purchasing an expensive skincare solution over the counter, she realised that she did not have the right instructions to use the product properly and was disappointed with the waste of time, effort and money. She told herself that she would want to join the beauty industry and help her clients to be happy and well-informed about the products that they are using and what they do for their skin. She believed that by doing that, they will be able to gain glowing confidence from using the right product for their skin condition.

This is partly why our labs have ensured that each custom-blended skin formulation allows for re-formulation, as long as there are no substantial changes in the skin conditions. Purchasing new formulas every time the skin changes adds unnecessary cost burden to our customers and builds wastage and carbon footprint to our products. We hope to promote a responsible lifestyle for both our customers and the planet.

mtm labo's Managing Director, Kelly Keak.
mtm labo’s Managing Director, Kelly Keak.

The brand’s revamp is also a great time to invite new customers to mtm labo. What are some products you’d recommend to someone who’s new?

The Custom-blended Eye Mask is great for those who are looking to reduce wrinkles and expression lines, diminish dark circles, and brighten and prevent hyper-pigmentation around the eye area. The Custom-blended Hydrating Mask is infused with sodium hyaluronate, chamomile, and cornflower to deeply hydrate the skin, and is a perfect weekly treatment for all skin types. Those looking for intense hydration can consider the Custom-blended Moisture Building Essence, as it is formulated with sodium hyaluronate and over 10 moisture boosting botanical extracts to hydrate, balance and nourish the skin. Let’s not forget the Solar Shield Plus SPF50+ PA+++, if you’re looking for sun protection.

501 Orchard Road, #03-21/22 Wheelock Place; mtmlabo.sg

Related Stories