Skincare brand Utama Spice doubles sales during PPKM through online selling – Business
Josa Lukman (The Jakarta Post)
Tue, August 10, 2021
In the last few years, skincare products with natural ingredients have been steadily increasing in popularity as a result of their health benefits.
At the same time, environmental awareness is becoming the main focus across the world, including in the beauty industry. The widespread use of natural ingredients, in turn, is fueled by the belief that it is more ecologically friendly by generating less waste, biodegradable and recyclable.
Thus, a great number of companies have tried to achieve the best of both worlds: offering attractive products to consumers while also taking care of the environment for future generations.
One such company is Utama Spice, a local brand based in Ubud, Bali.
In an interview with Tribunnews, Utama Spice cofounder Ria Templer said that the brand started when the founder, Ria’s mother Melanie Templer, fell in love with Bali’s environment and went on to study Indonesian herbs and spices.
Along with her partner Dayu Suci, who is knowledgeable about traditional Balinese healing, Melanie started by experimenting and creating skincare products using natural ingredients in her kitchen.
“When my mother started Utama Spice, she set out not only to create a profitable company, but also one that possessed strong values so that it might have a positive impact on people. From there, my mother wanted to support Balinese women, so she opened up working opportunities for women in our village,” Ria explained.
And Melanie set out doing just that. Approximately 90 percent of Utama Spice employees are women, with most of them being their family’s breadwinner.
Alongside women’s empowerment, Utama Spice also emphasizes its commitment to using environmentally friendly ingredients as much as possible.
“So when we shop for ingredients, we always try to buy those that we can replant including coconut oil, where we invested in a company that produces its oils sustainably,” she said, adding that Utama Spice also worked with local farmers to plant ingredients for essential oils that make up much of the company’s products.
Yet the still ongoing pandemic has taken its toll on many companies, including Utama Spice. Sales of its skincare products have gone down by nearly 80 percent, as Bali’s spas have had to close. From the more than 100 spas and hotels it usually supplied, Utama Spice suddenly found itself supplying only 30.
Even so, Ria knew that the company must survive. She turned to social media and online marketplaces like Tokopedia, where sales have been thriving.
Through Tokopedia, Ria said that Utama Spice found its main market, to the point where more than half of the company’s Rp 50 million to 100 million monthly revenue comes from the platform.
Utama Spice official store. (./.)
“I see that Tokopedia is very much trusted, as our customers put their trust in us even more when we sell through Tokopedia. Not only that, the return on investment from TopAds is much higher than other marketplaces or on social media platforms,” she said.
Though Utama Spice also offers its products through social media, customers tend to make their purchases through Tokopedia as it offers an easier payment process. Features like free shipping and broadcast chat also make it more convenient for the company, as highlighted products can sell up to five times more than usual, continues Ria.
By focusing on online sales through Tokopedia, Utama Spice’s sales in 2021 have surpassed last year’s figure, even doubling over the period of public activity restrictions (PPKM). This showed that correctly reading trends and going digital is how businesses can survive and even thrive despite the pandemic.
However, one issue of selling skincare products online is that the buyer cannot try out the items, as textures and smells are incompatible with screens. To rectify this, Ria said that Utama Spice often sent out free samples to customers with their purchases, so as to provide a high level of customer satisfaction in their service even though the transactions are kept online.
“We try to provide customers with the best service possible, so we always need one person on hand to reply to customer inquiries while making sure orders are fulfilled correctly and sent out on time,” Ria noted.
“I’m also thankful for Tokopedia’s feature that allows customers to provide feedback to merchants for their service, so others can know our products better.”
While Utama Spice’s products have been delivered across the country including to Batam, Riau Islands, and Timika in Papua, Ria believes that the company’s ethos goes beyond profit making, holding on to her commitment to creating a better environment for the sake of future generations.
“I want to prove that we can be environmentally conscious while turning a profit – we don’t have to pillage the earth for ingredients, but we can help make it a better place.”