Introducing Lips Carpenter— Gifting your loved ones has never been so personal.
You’ve heard about engraved pens, handmade mugs, and DIY pottery but have you ever come across engraved, personalized lipstick?
I first came across the Lips Carpenter brand in early 2022 and it quickly caught my eyes with the fine craftsmanship and delicate details on the cases. It wasn’t until I scrolled through their Instagram @thelipscarpenter that I found out that this brand is doing so much more than helping you serve the looks all day long!
In a recent interview with one of its founders, Yifon Law, she shared her amazing and inspiring journey in making Lips Carpenter what it is today. So let’s dive in, shall we?
What is the driving factor that causes you to be involved in the lipstick-making industry?
Lipstick Carpenter is a brand that both my sister and I found together, we wanted to find a brand that is comfortable to use and utilize clean ingredients. It wasn’t until later, we included more products such as lip balm. In terms of why we make lipstick as our main product because it can immediately change your complexion when you put it on, even on the day that we are lazy to do make-up, right? On a lazy day, even lip tints can change your look and make you appear vibrant. This is why we decided to start off with lipstick.
What is your story behind naming the brand?
We had a very long debate in deciding the name for the brand, and we really wanted to give the sort of carpentry, custom, and homemade feeling to the product. To add, because of the custom-made component in the process of creating the lipstick, the word carpenter suit the idea of creating something best, hence the name— Lips Carpenter. We could’ve gone with Lip’s kitchen or Lip’s lab but we needed something more unique, something that’s not common and the word carpenter itself showcases our handcraft component much better as well. Although one might debate that the word Carpenter sounds manly and muscular which is one of our concerns but we’ve been operating with the name for 3-4 years and we’re quite proud of it.
There are a lot of lipstick brands in the market, but there is only a handful that offers personalization of lipstick, and I believe yours is the only one doing it in Malaysia. So, what inspires you to come out with the customization concept?
So when we are brainstorming the idea for our business venture, we thought just being a healthy and clean brand doesn’t really make the cut since consumers are always looking for more and more exciting things. Let’s say girls for starters, they like things to be personalized, and knowing something is just made for you makes it more special and you will just appreciate it even more! Our brand offers the personalization of the casing, the color, and the scent and you can even engrave your name on it, giving the product a whole new meaning. I should also add that when we are looking for a business idea, one thing that my sister and I would do is we will walk around in malls and see all these cosmetic products on the shelves. What we had in mind was, as a local brand we’re restricted with a limited budget and so we wanted something that is attractive and will garner a lot of attention from the passerby since we’re not a big brand backed up with huge capital. So in order to survive in a very competitive landscape, we just have to do something that is interesting and is not available elsewhere.
What is your source of inspiration for coming up with so many different and unique lipstick cases?
We don’t come up with the case ideas by ourselves, and what we’ll do was to find inspiration by going overseas and meeting up with big suppliers for certain designs we’re looking for. Then we’ll buy tons of samples and designs before bringing them back to the office. We’re very particular about the lipstick design to make sure that the casing is easy to use and fits our preferences before launching the design. Of course, we do hear feedback from customers regarding the lipstick design and personally, I believe that it is important to come up with a design that is universally loved by the customers, comments such as,” Oh, I would love something more oriental”, or “maybe use more vibrant colors in this case” and we pay extra attention to those remarks since our brands are all about giving that customer satisfaction.
How would you describe your general aesthetic as a brand that both produces and encase lipsticks?
Oh, I think that is such a tough question since there’s no one in our team comes from a strong branding background and aesthetic is very subjective as it depends on your preferences. Generally speaking, however, our brand aesthetic really strives toward what our team prefers as much as the customer’s preference. What really matters to us is that we can create designs that are both attractive to the team and customers.
We also understand Lips Carpenter offers environmentally friendly packaging, how is the journey to find just the right material for your product?
Yes definitely, we have been having a lot of internal discussion in terms of environmentally friendly packaging which easily could be one of the toughest times. What happened was, after much looking we finally found eco-friendly packaging made of paper as an alternative to the plastic tubes from lip balm which was mass-produced in the market. The challenging part is to educate both the customers and suppliers because the market is unfamiliar with this kind of packaging and there’s also an issue regarding the cost. An eco-friendly tube cost 5 to 6 times more than the normal production of a typical plastic tube. On top of that, we also are still charging the same price to survive with other prices from competitors. This is just a challenge faced by one product, so you can imagine how many challenges we faced for having more. For instance other than lip balm, we are also always thinking of reducing plastic waste from our lipstick production since it is made with a plastic component. So to mitigate the problem, we offer a refill service as an effort toward sustainability in make-up. The three most important goals in our brands are refill, reuse, and recycle. This is why other than offering eco-friendly packaging and refill service, we will gather used bubble wrap for reusing purposes to reduce the usage of bubble wrapper when sending out parcels. There are also dedicated customers who will gather bubble wrap and send it to our company. So it would be safe to say that our customers are just as environmentally aware.
Do you have a recommendation or favorites among the shades that were offered in your line of lipstick shades?
We realize that while some Malaysian do favor a vibrant look, most of them opt for a more natural look and so there’s this code called LP 6 which stands for Low Profile number 6. It complements your look and enhances your complexion but nothing too much, it’s a shade that we recommend wearing for work.
What are the one make-up rules that you live by while producing your product?
I think for us, every single product that is produced has the main goal in mind which is to be comfortable. This is is why we focus on clean products since we want people to feel comfortable even in a harsh or drying environment.
Being in the industry, what are the important moments or lessons you’ve learned over the years?
I would say, entrepreneurship is a very long journey and it never stops. The constant adaptation to the changing environment is something to get used to much like during Covid-19, where everyone’s movement is restricted. So it really is a constant change of environment and therefore, it is important to always learn, improve and adapt, and most importantly, just don’t stop.
If you are interested to personalise your own lipstick from Lips Carpenter, or make it as a gift for her, you can find out more here: