Nicolas Travis Of Allies Of Skin Speaks On Bringing His Singaporean Brand To India

Nicolas Travis Of Allies Of Skin Speaks On Bringing His Singaporean Brand To India

He also talks about how his brand is changing the way skincare routine is looked at

Sapna SarfareUpdated: Sunday, March 03, 2024, 11:17 AM IST
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Nicholas Travis |

The world of skincare is vastly expanding like never before in India. And newer brands are making waves with a fresher approach towards providing holistic skincare. The latest entrant is the Singapore-based brand Allies of Skin. Founded by Nicolas Travis in 2016, it has already made waves globally.

At the launch in Tira’s Jio World Drive outlet, the down-to-earth and chatty Nicolas spoke passionately about the brand, and coming to India.

Excerpts from the interview:

How did the name ‘Allies to Skin’ come about?

The name came when I was brushing my teeth. So I’ve always been very inspired by the word ‘Allies’ because I truly believe that you cannot go through life without having people, you know, to support you and have your back. And so I found the word very, very powerful.

I quickly realised because I had severe acne as a teenager, and there were just a lot of empty promises on the market. So, when it came time for me to start my brand, I truly wanted to create a brand that would hone in on just making people feel like it’s a safe space they could trust. And I think the word ‘allies’, I love so, so much. It’s allies to the skin, maybe it’s allies to hair; it could be a lot of things. So yes, that’s how it started.

What made you come to India?

So I’ve always wanted to be in India. I was talking to a bunch of other distributors, but it was never really sort of the right moment for us because India is very complicated in terms of registration. So, it was about finding the right partner who truly believed in us. I felt like Tira, they will incubate the brand, they will grow the brand. Because the thing is, it just takes time to get there. And it was the right energy and the right people.

And, I think I made the right decision. Because we had a lot of Indian customers who also when we first launched, were like, ‘Oh my god, can you come to India? It’s so hard to buy your products, all of that.’

And what can we expect from Allies from the Indian skin point of view?

So, you can expect things like treating pollution damage, excess pigmentation, adult acne, and firming. We do incredible things with peptides. So we have something for everybody.

How do you see the beauty market, especially from skincare products?

When I first started in 2013, I was one of the first to look into things like the microbiome of the skin, probiotics, encapsulators, retinol, dehyde, waterless, vitamin C, and peptides, because nobody was doing it then. And it was so difficult. I remember going to buyer meetings where I would pitch the brand. They were like, ‘Oh, you’re from Singapore. I didn’t know you had beauty brands. I only know of your airline and your chicken rice.’ And then they wouldn’t stock it.

It was so difficult to get a foot in the door. More importantly, as I would go into PR meetings looking for agencies, they would always say, ‘Oh my God, you’re too ahead of your time, like you're too ahead of your time.’ I started with just three products in 2016 and now have a whole range.

And I think the time is now, the time is right for clinical skincare brands because I think consumers are getting so savvy and so sophisticated. So they’re looking for products that deliver results.

From that point, we are talking about competing with other brands already there in India, especially the Korean brands, which are being majorly promoting in India.

I believe that there’s space for everybody to grow and thrive. And I’m not doing something to make a quick buck.

For example, when the vitamin C serum first came and it was time for me to look at it, I looked at social media. I went to see what people were complaining about vitamin C. And there were a few things that they were saying as it irritated their skin. It was breaking them out. And it was turning brown too quickly. And so I realised that water was the root of all that problem.

When it came time to formulate our vitamin Cs, we took water out of the equation. We created water-less vitamin C serums, which means our vitamin C serum has a three-year shelf life, which is unheard of. So, it doesn’t oxidise because it doesn’t have water. And more importantly, because it doesn’t have water, it doesn't have a pH. So it’s neutral. So it checks multiple boxes.

So it’s a way that we approach formulation, which I know is very unique for us. Because if you look at fashion, right? What makes one leather bag different from another? Everybody has access to the same leather. Like anyone can buy vitamin C. But what makes something special, right? It’s the base, texture, and how it delivers results.

Finally, how do you want your band to be seen in India?

I would like it to be perceived as sort of a safe space for your skincare mistakes. I want us to be known for providing solutions to all your skincare problems. More importantly, I want it to feel safe because I feel like when you’re going through acne, for example, and have real, visible pigmentation, you often feel like you’re alone. So I want people to feel like they’re not alone. That’s why it also comes back to the word Allies.

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