How Joyre TCMedi Spa founder struggled, innovated to expand her brand
Beauty salon founder moved here from China and started her business with just three beds. She now owns more than 20 outlets
In 2005, she started her wellness business here with a beauty salon equipped with just three beds in Bishan.
Today, Madam Queenie Yang manages more than 20 Joyre TCMedi Spa outlets with around 400 employees.
Offering beauty and wellness services such as herbal facials infused with traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and body care treatments, she believes herbal medicine can improve health and prevent illnesses.
The 50-year-old founder-managing director, who is from Sichuan, China, told The New Paper: "We are not doctors who treat illnesses, but we provide services for those feeling burned out or experiencing sub-health to help them achieve better health from within with TCM."
Ever since her grandmother treated her wounds with chewed medicinal herbs when she was a child, Madam Yang has been intrigued by the power of TCM and longed to learn more about it.
Fuelled by an entrepreneurial spirit and attracted by Singapore's advanced development, clean environment and potential market aided by its extensive business ties with China, Madam Yang decided to move here in 1998 in search of better opportunities. At the time, she owned six outlets offering TCM beauty and wellness services in China.
Naturally, starting a business in a foreign land was not easy, especially for a young woman who could not speak much English. She struggled most with gaining the trust of locals.
Madam Yang, who has two children aged 26 and 11 and is now a Singapore citizen, recalled: "At first, customers were sceptical because I came from China, but I tried my best to explain my services to them sincerely.
"I was so happy when they told me they liked the services and would recommend them to their friends and family."
Slowly building her customer base by word of mouth, she was able to expand her business, from hiring more help to opening a second outlet in 2009.
On how she handles customer dissatisfaction, which is common in the poorly regulated beauty industry - it continues to be among the top in number of complaints received - Madam Yang said: "From time to time there will be complaints, sometimes because they do not fully understand the products and services we provide.
"We listen to the problem, try to amend the experience and improve ourselves from their feedback.
"We have our own training facility, and we are constantly striving to communicate better with customers and upgrade our service to meet the highest standards."
Madam Yang, honorary president of the Spa and Wellness Association Singapore from 2020 to 2022, does not limit herself to traditional practices.
Having collaborated with the Agency for Science, Technology and Research, as well as research labs in China, Japan, Europe and the US, she applied modern technology to extract the healing essence from TCM and created products such as tablets and wellness drinks.
In 2018, Joyre was accredited as a training centre for Nitec in beauty and wellness by the Institute of Technical Education.
She said: "I am happy that there is fresh blood entering the industry, and I believe these young students have made a right choice, as beauty and wellness, aided by developing technology, will play an important role in society. This is my career and lifelong passion."
Tips of the trade
• Be prepared to learn and upskill constantly. Working in the wellness industry requires extensive knowledge and understanding of the body and its functions, so there will be a lot to learn.
• As the wellness industry provides services, it is crucial to be hard-working and resilient. You should be passionate about what you do, and be able to take feedback positively to reflect and improve your service.
• While traditional Chinese medicine is an ancient practice, it is not carved in stone. Have an innovative spirit and be open to opportunities that can further the discipline with the help of modern technological advances.