Lips Carpenter offers skincare products that are personalised, natural and sustainable

Customers are encouraged to drop empty cases of lipstick to have it refilled.

Lips Carpenter offers a personalisation service, whereby one’s name engraved on the case (All photos: Lips Carpenter)

There are many who have reached a point in their lives when their regular nine-to-five job no longer fulfils them, and they often turn to hobbies to fill that void. Yifon Law, however, decided to make a bigger change. “I was an actuary for about six or seven years but I did not feel like I was making a positive impact on the people and community around me,” she says.

Determined to do something meaning­ful, Law enlisted the help of her sister to establish Lips Carpenter, which sells moisturising lip balms and lipsticks made from natural, skin-friendly ingredients.

From the beginning, she realised that there was a steep learning curve in starting a new business and that she needed to pick up a variety of skills. “I’m sure it’s the same for a lot of entrepreneurs. Basically, we have to be really resourceful and just get things done. If you’re in a specific profession, you only need the skills within that specific industry, but being an entrepreneur and running a business means that you have to be well-rounded and know a little bit of everything. You have to be creative,” she says.


Law is a former actuary

The idea to create lipsticks with natural ingredients came from a personal place. “We have always wanted to do something natural and clean. Our family has a really bad health history and about two years ago, my father was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, which was really tough. So, that’s when we became a lot more health-conscious — eating healthy and trying to balance work and life. We wanted to stay away from harmful chemicals, parabens and so on, and that’s something we’ve really focused on since the first day with our business,” says Law.

Six months into their venture, the sisters decided that sustainability should also be a key part of Lips Carpenter. “We were trying to be more eco-friendly at home and thought, why not incorporate that part of our life into the business? That was also when zero-waste stores approached us to do different things and we felt that we should start being advocates of these eco-friendly practices and to encourage more people to do the same,” Law explains.

This turned out to be an uphill challenge that took up a great deal of time and investment, but they were determined to succeed. To date, the sisters have not purchased any bubble wrap for their delivery orders and, instead, have reused the ones they received from customers, friends and neighbours. They even managed to get paper scraps from a local printer to use as cushion confetti in their boxes.


Lips Carpenter also offers other natural skincare solutions such as lip balms, face masks and face cleansers

Lips Carpenter’s sustainability mission does not end there. Customers can order customisable lipstick cases with many beautiful designs and shapes to choose from. Once customers use up their lipstick, they are encouraged to post or drop the empty case off at Lips Carpenter’s office to have it refilled with a lipstick of their desired colour.

The brand has started using eco-friendly packaging in its newer range of products as well. For example, its face mask and cleanser powder come in glass bottles, and customers can purchase refill packs — sold in brown paper bags — at a discount.

To date, the brand has released three colour collections for its lipsticks — Low Profile, Autumn and Look At Me — and each collection has 10 or more shades. Customers may also choose a scent for their lippy, from sweet orange and lavender to ginger and peppermint.

To differentiate itself from other providers of natural skincare products, Lips Carpenter offers a personalisation service, whereby one’s name engraved on the case, an idea that came from its customers. “We participated in a lot of bazaars and pop-ups in our first year to test the market, and that was when people approached us with their feedback and we used that to improve ourselves. And then, in the second year, we continued to sell our products at physical booths and also through some zero-waste stores,” says Law.



The Covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing movement restrictions saw Lips Carpenter’s revenue fall by 90%. The sisters had begun working on their website last December but it ended up being a huge undertaking that was incredibly time-consuming, as their level of customisation meant that there were many options that needed to be incorporated.

“Even in March, our website wasn’t ready. We had to stay at home, so we sold our products through messaging. We were replying to hundreds and thousands of messages and closing deals using just our phone almost every day. We really pushed ourselves to get our website up and running, and it was finally ready in July,” says Law. Their new website makes keeping track of sales and personalisation details much easier.

Lips Carpenter’s lipsticks make great gifts, especially because of the customisable elements. In future, Law says she and her sister hope to expand their offerings to include more skincare products and make-up.

“We want to be the kind of beauty brand that focuses on the use of natural ingredients and sustainability. So, those are the two main things that we were really focusing on, and then we added the personalisation twist to it … We plan to have other product lines to provide more options to people, especially our loyal customers, so that they can always come to us for different things,” she explains.


This article first appeared on Nov 23, 2020 in The Edge Malaysia.


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