Bath/shower time before bed is one of the bigger things I look forward to each day. There’s something about the running water coupled with heavenly scented products that provides a sense of relaxation and escapism, washing the day’s troubles away.
Catering to this sentiment is a new Malaysian personal and body care brand, Ujubath.
Adopting the stance of sustainability by using vegan and plant-based ingredients, its founders are launching their brand with its first range of products being customisable bath bombs.
A passion project
Ujubath was founded by Maegan and Suki who were both on career breaks with time and resources on their hands to merge their shared interests.
Though both came from different backgrounds that had nothing directly to do with skin or body care, Maegan has been experimenting with such products since 2015. Furthermore, after undergoing quarantine 6 times, she felt the need to build a startup that was both tech-enabled and wellness-focused.
Career-wise, Maegan’s launched programmes in the sustainability, deep-tech, and blockchain spaces for Temasek and the Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC).
At the same time, Suki left her software engineering job at Mckinsey during the first lockdown. The decision to do so was easy, as she’d been flirting with the idea of starting her own brand for about a year prior.
Suki has also launched online platforms in travel tech and e-commerce, along with a marketplace for house parties.
Competing in a crowded space
Maegan and Suki told Vulcan Post that the decision to first focus on selling bath bombs was meant to leverage a fitting situation at the time of its launch.
“We were at the peak of staycations and quarantines, so we felt that it would be nice to create something that reflected self-care and our personal missions,” they said.
“We would’ve competed in a crowded space if we made soaps, shampoos, or facial products. It’s highly saturated and takes a longer time to market.”
This makes sense, as a new brand like Ujubath would first need to capture a customer following through a product like bath bombs. Single-use products like bath bombs don’t require as high a commitment as say, lotions or shampoos, where customers would have a bigger bottle to finish.
But once they’ve secured enough customers, other products like shampoos are expansions that Ujubath will be rolling out eventually.
Through it, its team plans to initiate circular economy practices by transforming by-products into new ingredients or formulas to make the beauty industry cleaner and greener.
“We’ll also be collaborating with our sustainability brands and a seaweed farm to produce seaweed packaging,” Maegan and Suki added.
Giving customers the control
The skincare and wellness industry is a highly saturated market. Looking at the players selling bath bombs, you’ve got huge global names like Lush, and home-grown brands like BUIH.
But one unique selling point offered by Ujubath is that it allows shoppers to customise their own bath bombs for a flat price of RM40. Apart from local body scrub brand sukurabu, customisation isn’t something usually offered by many body care brands.
To build your bath bomb on Ujubath, you’d have to choose your base ingredient that offers different benefits depending on which of the five are chosen. The same applies when picking your preferred tea-based ingredient and botanic oil.
From there, the checkout process is standard and you get to include a name to have it labelled on the product’s packaging.
While I didn’t get to try the bath bomb myself, I appreciated that Ujubath included an image breaking down what each ingredient category meant (for its base, tea, and botanic oil) on its customisation page.
It’s able to alleviate customers’ confusion as to what these terms mean, and you’re left with little questions about the product you’d end up getting.
According to Ujubath’s site, the product will be delivered in a glass bottle so that customers can upcycle it as storage for other reasons. This is an intentional move by the brand to fit its values of sustainability.
“We’re always trying to reduce our impact [using] compostable packaging, recyclable fabric, [offering] refillable options (you can return five tubs to receive a bath bomb), and more,” noted the co-founders. “We aren’t perfect, but we are always working towards improving our R&D.”
The customer is king
Although Ujubath poses the advantage of customisation when compared to brands like Lush, this brings up a potential challenge in scaling the business.
Using the same ingredients in large batches makes it easier to mass-produce in a shorter amount of time, thus delivering products faster to customers, which Lush is able to achieve.
If complaints about long delivery times are a concern, managing customer expectations is a price Ujubath will have to bear. Otherwise, the brand offering ready-made stock for their products is also a viable solution, which Ujubath already has options for.
“Close to the saying, “the customer is king”, we’re avid believers of curation and experiences,” Maegan and Suki explained.
“We want to give our users the luxury to create and have fun in the process, and provide them that visibility, where every customer should be aware of the ingredients as it’s essential for their personal care.”
Keeping their options open
Suki has recently joined Ujubath full-time along with its lean team, while Maegan will be taking on another entrepreneurial project this February.
“We’ve both experienced different sides of the startup ecosystem, so it’s inevitable that we’ll stay on to create more experiences in the industry. There are just so many opportunities out there,” Maegan said.