Genevieve Tan, founder of The Gentle Label, on the ingredients that make an honest product and a sustainable business.
Interview by Charlene Chan & Thanussha Priyah
Photographs courtesy of The Gentle Label
Few brands can claim to have the means or the confidence to go international with a modest four products in their range. Genevieve, however, has done exactly that. Since debuting The Gentle Label’s Organic Healing Balm earlier this year, she’s introduced just three more items—dish soap, laundry liquid and a multi-surface cleaner—and taken them to America, the Middle East, Europe and Asia. Launching slowly, she says, gives her time to understand her consumers, remain adaptable and flexible, and encourage quality over quantity.
Her decision to step into the world of home and skincare products began with the birth of her daughter Lara. Overwhelmed by the sheer amount of choices and decisions to be made, Genevieve set out to create a pared down line of all-natural everyday essentials, extending her vision to her product’s packaging and development process. Below, she discusses her growing business, parenthood, and the relationship they share.
Hi Genevieve, what were you doing before The Gentle Label, and what was the switch like?
I was an advertising art director in Singapore, before relocating to the UK and starting a family there. The business was started based on my experiences as a first-time parent, so the switch was a natural progression from my role at home, despite the steep learning curve of managing a new business.
Your daughter was the driving force behind your decision to start your own line. Has parenthood equipped you with other skills that you apply in the daily operations of the business?
Parenthood tends to bring out skills one never knew they had! Multi-tasking is one of them. As we are a small team, I juggle various roles including replying customer inquiries, packing orders, managing our social media, conducting store visits and meeting with retail partners.
The challenging role of a parent is also the inspiration behind creating multi-functional products that work more efficiently, are unisex and are not age-specific. We would like to simplify routines, choices, and decision making for anyone—not just parents—who are already overwhelmed with everyday life. This also reduces unnecessary consumption, which could only be better for our environment.
Read more in The X Press N˚3.